This week, climate change has been the talk of the town, and rightfully so! If sailing the Atlantic Ocean on a 60-foot zero-emissions yacht isn’t your thing, then might we suggest checking out ManMade By Nature at UNIX Gallery in Chelsea. The show introduces eleven diverse artists who rethink the presentation of nature through the lens of technology by employing innovative materials and working with advanced processes. Conceived as a way to both highlight and reconcile a natural world confronted by dramatic ecological changes, each artist showcases work that activates the space with an artistic demonstration underpinned by environmental calls to action.
The show is curated by Natasha Schlesinger an award-winning art historian and art advisor who has worked in the art field for over 25 years. Before she founded her tech platform ArtMuse, Schlesinger was a specialist in European Furniture and Decorative arts at Christie’s auction house in New York.
We sat down with Natasha to get the scoop on ManMade By Nature and what she has up her sleeve.
AZ: Ideal dinner party guests?
NS: Those at the crossroads of art, film and technology well versed in culture and politics with a great sense of humor.
AZ: Background on your phone?
NS: Sandy beach
AZ: You don’t leave home without…
NS: my iPhone and glasses
AZ: What is your favorite art space or institution?
NS: The Met
AZ: You have a background in decorative arts and design. How has that influenced your curating?
NS: I understand objects, history and materiality and that augments my understanding and appreciation of contemporary art.
AZ: How would you define your practice?
NS: Creative, passionate and with purpose
AZ: What was your first job as a curator?
NS: While I worked for an old master paintings gallery, I curated a three-day show for an older contemporary artist on Bond street. I was 25 years old and I did it on the fly with my then-boyfriend and now husband. It was exhilarating and adventurous.
AZ: Talk to us about how you launched ArtMuse.
NS: I started everything when I had a four-year-old whom I wanted to take to museums, so I created my own program for kids at museums and galleries. It all expanded from there to guidance, curation, advisory and now technology platform for any and every age from art lovers to art collectors.
AZ: For your most recent show at UNIX gallery ManMade by Nature, how do you select the 11 artists?
NS: I knew that my them would focus on nature and technology and I knew that I wanted an approach that didn’t involve paintings. I wanted all the other mediums. I wanted artists who experimented and pushed the boundaries of art and their vision of the natural world through tech. So I picked artists I admired and artists I have also worked with before.
AZ: What do you hope visitors take away from ManMade by Nature?
NS: Hopefulness and an expanded vision of the beauty of the world we live in. Hopefully, they will come away wanting to see more art and more art by these artists. I hope they will get inspired and energized and maybe some of them will actually want to live with it.
AZ: Piece of advice for young people in the arts?
NS: If you are starting out in the arts, don’t limit yourself to the obvious and traditional. There are so many ways to be involved in the art world today that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Find what you are good at and apply it to what would be a good fit in the art world. The main thing is if course to be passionate about art.
ManMade By Nature, curated by Natasha Schlesinger at Unix Gallery (513 W26th Street) runs through October 26th, 2019.
images// courtesy of Unix Gallery, top image// Dustin O’Neal