Artist/curator Adarsha Benjamin and art advisor Eli Consilvio founded MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles in 2014.
Can you talk about the beginnings of MAMA Gallery? Since the opening in 2014, what has evolved?
We are still in the beginnings of MAMA. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride. We are learning how to enjoy it all. So much has evolved in such a short time and everything feels like it is coming together. From relationships to exhibitions, the pieces feel like they are falling into place a bit easier than they were early on.
I read that you considered opening an online gallery instead of a physical space. What did you like about that idea? Why did you decide against it?
MAMA was actually created from an idea of a single exhibition. We both had the initial desire to be as nomadic as possible. The idea was to create exhibitions that would travel the world. We liked the idea that we could be everywhere and not be strapped to a brick and mortar building. There was never the goal to solely be online and sell work, we are very physical people but some of us (Adarsha) are also very nomadic. We enjoy creating and expressing ideas and we enjoy doing that through exhibiting works by artists we love being around. There is no better thing to do. Having a brick and mortar building that we call MAMA is just the beginning. We still intend to travel exhibitions, both physically and virtually.
How did you meet Cole Sternberg? What sort of projects have you worked on together?
EC: I met Cole Sternberg seven years ago the day I moved into the National Biscuit Company building where he was living. Cole and I have been working on projects of some nature ever since we met, including a performance at a private residence during Miami Basel, a film in the Hamptons during a residency and his exhibition at Paris Photo.
Adarsha, can you tell us about your print publication, AUTRE? How has that developed over time?
About 7 years ago I started a publication with my friend Oliver Kupper, called Audio Video Disco and we only put out one issue. Oliver started Pas Un Autre (the online version) and from there we started putting out the print publication together. It’s really a labor of love, as both Oliver and I are analog purists who love film, records, typewriters, newspapers… And not in an ironic “we got them at Urban Outfitters” kind of way. We both were raised in the 90′s, the era before the Internet. I learned to take photos on film, I wrote all my first poems on typewriters, as did Oliver, and we loved magazines and New York Times on Sunday mornings. So, a print publication is something that speaks very close to our heart. I’ve shot all the covers and they have all been on film, and we will continue to put them out… as irregularly as we can.
Can you give us a sneak peak into something you’re both working on or planning at the moment?
We are currently working on a sound performance with Jonathan Bepler as well as a gallery expansion. We are also planning a very exciting fall show with Adam Tullie, Luckey Remington, Chris Vasell and Devendra Banhart.
Do you live with art? If so, by which artists?
EC: I live very much surrounded by art at all times. Hanging at home now is (of course) Cole Sternberg, Garry Winogrand who my father printed for, Henry Wessel Jr., Bert Rodriguez, Peter Beard, Phil Frost, Louis Faurer, James Georgopoulos, Melvin Sokolsky, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and my father Thomas Consilvio.
AB: Art is for sure everywhere. Some of favorite pieces in my house are by Lola Rose Thompson, Adam Tullie, Cole Sternberg, James Georgopoulos and Jena Malone. I also have a lot of amazing drawings by my 2 year old daughter, those are obviously the best.