Correction to This Article
The Galleries column about D.C. art dealer Leigh Conner said she owns the Northeast Washington building that houses her gallery, Conner Contemporary Art. The building is co-owned by Conner and her partner, Jamie Smith.
Page 3 of 3   <      

Leigh Conner, the driving force behind Conner Contemporary Art

"We are very fortunate in our relationships with collectors that we value very much," Conner says. "And also we realize that the afterlife of their collections is going to have a huge impact on our artists' legacy."

Conner's concern for her artists' afterlife has led her to protect them mightily in this one.

"She'll defend us. . . . She backs us up as much as she can. I don't envy you, honestly," Sandberg says, referring to this reporter.

Yes, I've caught heat from Conner. Back in 2003, I took issue with a gallery essay accompanying a show by two local artists. My article so angered Conner that she chewed me out on my next visit, demanding that I leave the gallery immediately and that I never return. She vowed to cut me off and cut me out.

(A few weeks later, after the shaking stopped, I invited Conner for a drink at Bistrot du Coin, where we crafted a detente that's been in effect ever since.)

"We can be like lionesses protecting our cubs," Smith says when I remind her of the incident.

"We chose not to have children," Conner explains. "This is our children. Not the individual artists but the entity itself."

"It's not something we can tune in and out of when we feel like it," Smith adds. "It's really the fabric of our life."

Dawson is a freelance writer.


<          3

© 2010 The Washington Post Company