Nicole Russo is the owner and director of Chapter NY.
How did you become involved with contemporary art and open Chapter NY?
When I moved to New York City I worked a few odd jobs and then decided to see what the contemporary art world was like. I ended up interning for Jack Tilton, who then hired me. After working closely with the gallery’s artists on their exhibitions–both gallery and institutional–I realized how much I enjoy working with living artists because of the direct relationships that can be developed. If I’m doing my job right I’m helping artists make their art for the long run.
After working for several years with Tilton I moved on and became the Director of Leo Koenig, and then Mitchell-Innes & Nash. I learned from each gallery’s different approach and realized that I wanted to open my own. While I was at Mitchell-Innes & Nash the old Bureau space (now located on Norfolk St) was offered to me, so I opened Chapter as a weekend-only project. After balancing the responsibilities of both roles I decided to focus solely on Chapter NY in order develop the program. I’ve been open full-time since January and I’m carefully building my stable of artists.
How did you come to meet Patrick Berran or get to know his work?
Patrick and I have known each other for years—so long that I don’t even remember where we met! I’ve been lucky enough to have seen his progression as an artist over time. It was exciting when he began to use transfer and silk-screens within the paintings, as he’s able to capture his own energy through that process. When I opened Chapter it made total sense to start working together.
What is your takeaway from NADA New York last week? Patrick was mentioned in The New York Times review, right?
We did get a nice mention in Roberta Smith’s review, which obviously felt great! NADA was great exposure for the gallery and for Patrick. I met a lot of new people and saw those I’ve know for years and whom I’ve worked with in my prior positions. It gave me a chance to re-establish those relationships in this relatively new stage of my career.
Can you tell us about the Math Bass, Lauren Davis Fisher, & Gordon Hall show, With & Width, at Chapter NY earlier this year?
I first learned about Math’s work in 2010 when she was included in a Ridykeulous exhibition at Leo Koenig. I really started following her work after I saw the 2012 Made in LA exhibition at the Hammer. Math was one of the first artists I reached out to when I opened Chapter. Math wanted to do a three-person show with Gordon and Lauren, as they had all been talking and collaborating for years. I loved that show and how they each took advantage of Chapter’s small scale and architectural quirks. I really enjoyed getting to know Lauren and Gordon, who are both exciting artists in their own right.
What’s next at Chapter NY?
Next up is a solo show with Mira Dancy, opening May 28th. In the Fall we’ll have solo shows with Rob Halverson and Milano Chow, both of whom are LA artists. I’m thrilled to be presenting their first solo shows in New York!
Do you live with artwork? Any words of wisdom for a new collector?
I’m lucky to live with a lot of art, including works by Patrick Berran, Keltie Ferris, Sam Anderson, Andrea Merkx, Nicole Eisenman, William Pope. L, Julia Rommel… too many to list! It’s a cliché to say ‘Buy what you love’, but I really believe it. When you are a new collector you need to realize that you’re going to be living with the work. When you love it, it really does enhance your life.