After graduating from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology with a degree in industrial engineering and management, Adi Hod joined Boston’s dynamic tech scene with his thriving software company, Euclides Technologies. But there was another fast-growing Boston scene that drew Adi, who was also a longtime supporter of the arts and an avid collector – that of contemporary art. So he joined forces with a young Boston art dealer to found Matter & Light, the newest contemporary gallery in the dynamic SoWa neighborhood in the South End.
Matter & Light’s summer group show opens on Friday, June 3. The opening reception coincides with the monthly SoWa First Friday event and will be held 5 – 9 pm.
How do you define your venture?
We’re a contemporary art gallery specializing in artwork from around the world that is intense, smart and deeply human. We have no quarrel with other styles of art – I myself love and collect Pop Art, for instance – but for Matter & Light, we look for artists who are investigating fundamental aspects of the human condition, and doing so through work that makes you feel something visceral, whether it’s dread, joy, hope, awe, or something else entirely. A lot of our artists come from America, but we also have pieces from Poland, England and Iran. A number of them are working from a distinctly Jewish perspective, whether that means drawing on Jewish theology, or the perennial Jewish concern with social justice and human suffering.
What gave you the idea?
I’ve been an art lover and collector for years. My travels have allowed me to see and purchase art on multiple continents, and I’ve known for years that I eventually wanted to get into the business. I love building things from the ground up; I founded my own software firm, and ten years in we have five offices around the world. In the case of the art business, the trigger came when I met a partner I felt confident building with, a young art dealer and academic named Ian Corbin.
Who is your customer base or demographic?
There’s no real concentration in terms of age or national background. Our clients care a lot about art; they aren’t just looking for something that will fit over the couch and match the throw pillows. They’re looking for work that makes them feel something – a spiritual connection with the piece, or maybe the artist. They tend to be educated, and, let’s be honest, they have some disposable income.
How do you hope to fit into the market?
The art world, and therefore also the art market here in Boston, is particularly diverse at this moment in history – some would say fragmented. There are galleries in Boston with various specialties – minimalist, realist, decorative, conceptual, etc. There aren’t many right now that do the kind of raw, human stuff that we do. Since opening in April, we frequently encounter people who are surprised and delighted to find a Boston gallery that carries this particular kind of work. It’s been a really great pleasure to get to know Boston artists and collectors who really feel like we’re adding something unique and vital to the art scene here.
What do you most need to be a success?
We’ve got a roster of artists on board that I think is second to none in Boston. At this point, our task is to continue forging strong, lasting relationships with the artists, collectors and institutions that resonate with what we’re doing. For instance, this summer and fall we’re going to be hosting a series of performances by some young composers from the Boston Conservatory, who will be composing new music in response to particular works we have here in the gallery. Boston has incredible cultural and intellectual resources. We’d love to become a hub where Bostonian art and culture lovers can meet and experience these good things together.
This interview is part of Matt Robinson’s continuing set of Jewish and Israeli entrepreneur features. Please look for it on Sundays and suggest subjects. Todah!