The latest addition to the Chelsea gallery scene is the Asya Geisberg Gallery, and the artists who show there can rest assured that their gallerist has firsthand knowledge of the working artist’s experience. Alumnus Asya Geisberg (MFA 1999 Fine Arts) has spent more than a decade on both sides of the equation, and her new space at 537B West 23rd Street reflects the culmination of a long-held desire to open a gallery in the heart of the New York City art world.
As she was putting the finishing touches on the gallery’s debut exhibition—painter Angelina Gualdoni’s “Shadows Slipping,” on view September 23 – November 6; opening reception Thursday, September 23, 6 – 8pm—Geisberg spoke to the Briefs about what led up to starting her own gallery and why being a fine artist is an advantage for a gallerist.
Tell me about your new gallery.
It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time. When I first left SVA, I had a start-up version of it with some other SVA graduates; we held a show in my art studio. I thought I’d do that every once in awhile, but I focused energy on my art career and put my gallery idea on hold. Since then, I’ve been a curator in various capacities, I started an arts blog called Asya Says and have been writing for artbistro.com. I decided that I really wanted to do a gallery full-time, and that’s where I am now.
Is there an underlying idea for the gallery?
The most important thing I’m going to focus on is having an international caliber of artists. I spent a lot of time looking for artists in Israel, London and Berlin, as well as in New York. They’re all young but experienced artists, and they share an approach that incorporates a conceptual attitude toward visual pleasure and experimentation.
What are the advantages for a gallerist of having a background as a fine artist?
The best advantage I have is that I know what it’s like on the other side and can discern qualitatively what makes a work unique. I know the process behind it, and it helps me choose the artists. I can empathize with their position and interests. I’ve been there. I cover all sides of the field. As I’ve collected art, it’s influenced my eye as a collector, and that’s how I envision running the gallery.
Is there anything from your time at SVA that has impacted the process of opening a gallery?
The most important thing is that I chose SVA over other programs because I wanted to push myself and expose myself to new media and genres. The environment of those studios and being able to do whatever you wanted, to be able to experiment and have a conceptual outlet as opposed to honing just one medium—that attitude is what I’m embracing as a gallerist. I’m picking artists because of what they think and what they’re trying to get across.
Image: Asya Geisberg in front of her new Chelsea gallery space.