An Artist’s Gallerist: Hudson of Feature Inc (1950-2014)
Several years ago I received an email from Feature advertising the fact that they were going to be at an art fair where you could buy work, live, virtually. I couldn’t resist emailing Hudson to ask if he was really just sitting about the gallery when it was closed and selling to collectors from an online booth. His sanguine reply was that he would be physically present for sales but carrying his virtual paddle… such he said, was “post modern life’s complexities”. The virtual paddle, he said, “is everywhere computers or confusers, as I heard a friend call them, be.” Like his eye for drawing, he had a fine line in email
I was introduced to Hudson several years ago by our mutual friend, Melissa Meyer, who thought that we might like to chat about Ireland, as he was putting together a show there of tantric art. I gave him a catalogue and an invitation to a group show in New York that included my work, and he said he’d see it. Much to my surprise he did. Several years later, Hudson invited me to participate in a group drawing show with those same tantric works. That’s the serendipity of life in the arts I guess, but also it is a commonly told story regarding Hudson. It surprised me how very committed he was to looking at art and following his own particular vision of it. And I was touched by the honesty of his opinion. I know he had long standing conversations with numerous artists, many of whom were not at exhibited Feature, with which he would offer his thoughts freely.
In the short time we communicated it became obvious to me – as someone based on the other side of the Atlantic – that Hudson’s vision was not determined by fashion or conducted for its youth, cool or even money. What defined Feature, Inc was a sensibility or approach to art making. Leaving aside the most notable alumnus (Tom Friedman) this often entailed abstract art of a certain visual intensity and a strong haptic sense, such as that of Mamie Holst. On the other hand there is also a noticeable strain in Hudson’s taste for skilfully witty assemblage as in Nancy Shaver or B. Wurtz. From Judy Linn’s quirky, painting-like photographs to the finely drawn erotic humor of Tom of Finland, Hudson’s eye was a keen one. Truly he was an artist’s gallerist, eccentric almost by definition. He sure will be missed.