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Alaina Simone

The ART GAL-lery

Culture

Alaina Simone lives outside the lines as a curator in New York City. As a child growing up in Flint, Michigan, she and her father bonded over art, and she carried on his creative legacy after her father passed away. After working in non-profit galleries in Detroit, Alaina eventually moved to NYC where she worked as a consultant for Damon Dash and rubbed elbows with Russell Simmons, a long time art supporter. She stresses that art is an investment, decorating her own walls with her favorite artists like Ben F. Jones and Brandon Cox. Up next, she’ll head to Verbier, Switzerland to team up on a sculpture park with the 3D Foundation.

What drew you to pursuing art as a career?

My father was a draftsman – I have early memories of sitting with him teaching me how to draw.  When he passed away – art was the way that I expressed myself.  I also noticed the social impact that art had on the community.  I’m from Flint Michigan – and art in Flint, Michigan provided a bright spot for the hard community/poverty issues faced by that area – with the fall of GM and the “American Dream”.  Art calms the mind and takes one out of their daily routine into a world of color and hope.

Name some artists you are inspired by?

Howardena Pindell, Frank Bowling, Ben F. Jones, Sanford Biggers, Sam Bassett, Shani Peters, Wengechi Mutu, Madeleine Paternot, and Musa Hixon.

How would you get someone started in to the art world?

I would point out some of the emerging artists like Brandon Cox – that I think have a long career in front of them.  Also, under-represented artists (still living) who appear in prominent private and public collections – although, they don’t have a developed base of collectors.  My goal is to get new collectors to look at art as an investment.

Give a brief description of what you do for readers who may not know?

It’s not as glamorous as it looks.  A lot of research and high levels of communication between institutions and artists.  It’s very similar to producing/managing – because you’re engaged at every administrative level.

How do you go about picking artists for exhibits? What’s your process?

It depends on the curatorial premise of the exhibition.  I like for the work to have meaning and to make an impact with the viewer.  I also like to work with artists who are easy to work with…not always the case…

What is your favorite exhibition you hosted/put together? Why?

That’s a hard question…my favorite was probably Howardena Pindell: In My Lifetime.  It was my first exhibition in New York.  It was a great introduction into the New York art world.  I enjoyed working as a consultant for Damon Dash and DD172 as well – it was nice to mix art, music, and video into the overall production of the exhibitions.

What’s next?

My next project is in Verbier, Switzerland.  This project is with the 3D Foundation.  It is a residency program and sculpture park  – this is the 1st year.  Paul Goodwin from Tate Britain and Shamim Momim of LAND are on the curatorial advisory board for this project.  DJ Spooky aka Paul Miller will also participate this year.  I’m looking forward to working with them and continuing the conversation for 2012.

Next: “OWNing It”: Christina Norman

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