Rain Lu is the Founder of RAINRAIN Gallery, an art advisor, and a freelance writer based in New York City. She often travels to Asia as part of her work. In 2011, she set up her gallery in China, focusing on supporting emerging Chinese artists. For six years, the gallery introduced new artists to Asian audiences and collectors. After moving to NYC in 2017, the Gallery went through a rebranding under her leadership. This change underscored its commitment to emerging artists and diaspora communities. It transformed into an open, vibrant community that cherishes art and connects diverse cultural perspectives. Rain’s insights into the art ecosystem/market and interviews have appeared in respected publications like Artnet, Artnews China, Harper’s Bazaar Art China, and more. Her expertise enriches art discussions, enhancing the gallery’s role in fostering cross-cultural understanding and art appreciation.
ConsiderBeyond: Tell us about RAINRAIN, your new gallery in the heart of New York City, and your first successful exhibition.
Rain Lu: The Gallery was originally founded in China in 2011. In 2017, I relocated to New York City, so I had to close the gallery space. However, my passion for what I do never waned, and I was determined to continue working with artists. This led me to consider having a gallery space in New York City again. I began searching for a suitable space last summer. Even during the pandemic, I stayed connected with artists, visiting their studios. Last year, I relaunched my gallery, rebranding it as RAINRAIN, and started collaborating with artists on online projects.
This summer, I finally found a physical location for the gallery and signed the lease in July. Now, I can start inviting people to visit the space. Just last month, we had our very first exhibition featuring nine artists with distinct artistic styles and approaches. The show was a tremendous success, with a large turnout for the opening. I'm thrilled to have the space and things are finally in full swing.
ConsiderBeyond: What were the core values you thought about when creating the RAINRAIN gallery?
Rain Lu: I want to emphasize the value I find in working with artists. It's a passion of mine to offer them the opportunity to showcase their work and develop their artistic practice. Simultaneously, I take great pleasure in introducing various forms of art to art enthusiasts and collectors. Every time I introduce something new and different to my clients, I'm genuinely thrilled that I've expanded their horizons. I feel like I've opened up new possibilities for enriching their art collections. My mission has always been to find a place for the work of artists I believe in within exceptional art collections.
For me, artists and collectors are the heart and soul of my gallery's journey. We all collaborate to embark on a profound artistic journey and share a profound love for art.
ConsiderBeyond: How do you think you have developed your perspective and approach since your former gallery, known as L-Art Gallery?
Rain Lu: Having the gallery now located in New York has placed me in a completely different art ecosystem and market compared to Asia and, I believe, China. However, there are some shared approaches that still apply. Running a gallery is essentially a people-centered business, focusing on discovering exceptional artists and engaging with interesting collectors. Despite the change in location, the core elements have remained constant: my unwavering passion for art and my deep appreciation for artists.
This unchanging passion is what motivates me to navigate the challenges of running a gallery in New York. The city is incredibly diverse, which has led to a shift in how I approach developing my gallery program. I now work with artists from various cultural backgrounds, offering a platform for those with diverse artistic approaches. It's important to me to showcase artists who come from different backgrounds and bring unique perspectives to the art world
ConsiderBeyond: Tell us about your background and how that drew you to work with artists.
Rain Lu: I had an upbringing in a family deeply connected to the art world. My father, who has dedicated his entire life to the field, is a historian, writer, curator, and critic, primarily on the academic side of the art world. Growing up, I had the opportunity to witness how my dad collaborated with artists of his own generation and supported them throughout their careers. This experience had a profound influence on me.
I developed a strong desire to support and discover exceptional artists from my own generation. I firmly believe that each generation of artists tells a unique story about their era, reflecting the times we live in. My educational background is diverse; I studied in Australia, where I delved into art history, media communication, and international business. This blend of knowledge in art, business, and media marketing defines who I am today and aligns perfectly with what I genuinely enjoy doing.
ConsiderBeyond: What role does diversity play in your work and when working with artists?
Rain Lu: As I mentioned earlier, New York is a city brimming with diversity. My goal is to collaborate with artists from various backgrounds, and fortunately, New York is home to many such artists. It's an ongoing effort for me to discover these talented individuals and bring their remarkable works into the gallery space. This allows us to curate captivating exhibitions for an audience composed of people from all corners of the world.
I envision our gallery as a space where people from diverse backgrounds can gather, exchange ideas, appreciate differences, and draw inspiration from those distinctions. While doing so, they share a common love for art, a shared passion for exploration, and a mutual curiosity for new experiences.
ConsiderBeyond: Can you recommend some artists who bring food for thought on social or environmental issues today?
Rain Lu: I've come to recognize that more artists possess a deep sensitivity to issues related to climate change, environmental concerns, and ecological politics. These urgent and significant topics frequently serve as wellsprings of inspiration for artists, guiding their choice of materials and the themes they explore in their artistic endeavors.
For instance, in our inaugural exhibition, we showcased the work of New York-based Edd Ravn, an artist who was raised in a farm environment and possesses a profound understanding of biodiversity. His art is a reflection of his close connection to nature, as he cultivates bacteria, uses rainwater as paint, and records captivating soundscapes. His work is a continual exploration of the fluid boundaries between humanity, nature, and the environment.
Another artist, Emma cc Cook, has been closely observing the changes in agricultural farming and the environment in rural America, influenced by both natural factors and human interventions. In her paintings, she captures the Midwest American agricultural landscape in a more abstract manner, offering her unique perspective on these transformations, adding elements of black humour inspired by illustration and comic books.
ConsiderBeyond: As a woman working in art, what inspires you to keep walking despite challenges.
Rain Lu: I would like to mention that my father serves as a role model for me, not so much in the specific way he carries out his projects, but more in his unwavering belief in what artists can achieve. His persistence in supporting and advocating for art has been truly inspiring. Additionally, the city of New York has a spirit of self-reliance and determination that resonates with me. It's a place where people strive to make things work despite the numerous challenges they face. There's an entrepreneurial and resilient energy that drives many individuals here. People are constantly seeking opportunities and possibilities, and I firmly believe that possibilities are abundant if one keeps trying.
I embrace my passion for artists and art, my enthusiasm for collaborating with exceptional artists. Furthermore, I am equally eager to share the beauty of art with those around me, as I firmly believe in the power of art to enrich the lives of others.
ConsiderBeyond: How can we appreciate art and the artists behind it even more?
Rain Lu: I believe two things are incredibly important when it comes to engaging with art. Firstly, immerse yourself in as many shows as possible. Visit galleries, explore museums, attend art fairs, and experience both large and small exhibitions. The more you see, the better you become at understanding and appreciating art. Exposure to a variety of artworks provides you with valuable insights on how to interpret and appreciate art.
Secondly, it's crucial to ask questions when engaging with contemporary art. Avoid being a passive observer and instead, engage with full curiosity. If there's anything you don't understand or if something leaves you feeling perplexed, don't hesitate to ask questions. Asking just one question can provide you with a wealth of information about a particular artwork and offer insights into the artist's practice. Trust me, being inquisitive will greatly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of art.
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