ph. Max Tetard
Born in 1959 in Auckland, New Zealand, Jennifer Flay began her studies in Art History at the University of Auckland. At the same time she obtained a degree in French. Thanks to a scholarship from the French government, from 1980 she continued her studies in France with Michel Sanouillet, a world-renowned specialist in French Dadaism.
After working in art galleries from 1982 to 1987, collaborating with, among others, Jean-Michel Alberola, Carl André, Ben, Christo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Christian Boltanski, Robert Longo, Keith Haring, On Kawara, Richard Prince, Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner and Franz West; Jennifer Flay founded her own gallery in Paris in 1990, representing Claude Closky, John Currin, Willie Doherty, Michel François, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Karen Kilimnik, Sean Landers, Liz Larner, Zoe Leonard, Christian Marclay, Rei Naito, Anselm Reyle and Xavier Veilhan. Runned until 2003, her gallery established itself as one of the major galleries of her generation and acquired an international stature.
In 1992 Flay completed the catalogue raisonné of Christian Boltanski, Catalogue – Books, Printed Matter, Ephemera – 1966-1991, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne. Since its publication, the book has been considered a reference. At the same time, she co-edited Christian Boltanski, Livres with the AFAA – Association Française de l’Action Artistique, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne and Portikus Frankfurt am Main, in 1992. Within her gallery, Jennifer Flay continued her activity as a publisher of artists’ books, including several titles by Claude Closky.
In October 2003, Jennifer Flay was asked to take over the artistic direction of FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain), Parisian artfair, which was then in great difficulty. She initiated a complete overhaul, introducing in 2004 a sector dedicated to emerging galleries and, for the first time in the world within a contemporary art fair, a sector dedicated to modernist and contemporary design. The duo she formed with Martin Bethenod from 2004 to 2010 is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategy repositioning FIAC internationally as well as its redevelopment in the center of Paris in the prestigious sites of Grand Palais, Cour Carrée of the Louvre Museum and Jardin des Tuileries.
Respected for its high standards, its seriousness and the excellence of its cultural programs, FIAC was considered one of the most prestigious events in the world in its field. Her work has contributed to putting Paris back at the heart of the international scene, increasing its attractiveness and reinvigorating the art market in France.
Jennifer Flay has served on the boards of the Palais de Tokyo and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris. In 2011, she received the distinction of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2020 she was promoted to Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2014 she was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
In March 2022, Jennifer Flay will take up her position as President of the Advisory Board of Paris + by Art Basel.