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JoAnne Artman Gallery

Opening Hours
Today: Closed
Wed:
10am–6pm
Thurs:
Closed
Fri:
10am–6pm
Sat:
Closed
Sun:
Closed
Mon:
10am–6pm
Location
511 A West 22nd Street
JoAnne Artman Gallery 1 Art and Photography Galleries Art Gallery District Chelsea

I met JoAnne Artman shortly after she moved into her New York gallery. No stranger to the art world, JoAnne has been showing the work of culturally diverse, well-known artists in her Laguna Beach, California gallery since 2007. She claims that she has always been artsy – she loved painting in elementary school, drawing cartoon strips in middle school, and then eventually found photography, which she has been practicing for all of her adult life. Over the thirty years that she was living out west, she would often put on private art shows in her home. As she so eloquently says, “Art is an investment in your soul.”

After her California gallery had been open for a few years, JoAnne reached the point where she was looking for a second location. At first she searched in her own state, but when she could not find exactly what she was looking for, she thought, “Dream big – I’ve got to try!” She chose Chelsea, the world-renowned gallery district. A large number of her collectors were from New York and she had always been told that her gallery had a “New York collection,” so it seemed like a logical move. JoAnne thought she would never find anything in this neighborhood and that it was crazy to try, but happily she found her current space inside an 1893 manufacturing building. She had to fight for it in the cutthroat world of New York real estate, but was overjoyed when it ended up in her hands. “This is a jewel of a location,” she told me. “It even reminds me of my gallery in Laguna.” Even though the California gallery is three times the size, the two have a similar staircase and layout. “It feels like home – we’re so comfortable in this space.”

JoAnne decided to “start big” and open in 2015 with her most successful artist, the Columbian-American painter and sculptor America Martin. I learned that JoAnne represents seventeen to eighteen artists (“It would be overwhelming to have more!”) and that they are all ages and ethnicities. As an example, she listed Marjorie Strider, who had just passed away at the age of eighty-three. She was a female pop artist who had been a contemporary of Warhol, and JoAnne had shown a lot of her work in California. “I only show artists that I love, collect, and have a passion for,” She said, adding, “I love color.” Her fondness for bright hues can be seen all over the gallery, from the bright yellow water pipes running along the ceiling to the sunflower-colored back wall. “I wanted to bring California sunshine to New York,” JoAnne stated. She pointed out the graffiti on the air conditioning unit that she had asked one of the gallery installers to do after learning that he was a renegade graffiti artist. The bright, bubbly “J” was a surprise, situated so high up on the wall. “I like to do things that are unexpected,” JoAnne admitted.

I returned to the gallery with Tom, our photographer, when a show was opening by the artist Suzanne Heintz. The exhibit was the culmination of a fifteen year body of work in which Suzanne traveled the world with her “daughter” and “husband,” two mannequins. The “daughter” stood as part of the exhibit, staring out the window at passersby. I had the opportunity to speak to Suzanne, who was like a piece of art, herself, perfectly coifed and sporting a bright red dress. We spoke about how her project redefines the idea of identity and the strange looks she would get on the street, dragging around her well-dressed dolls. She told me about the consistent energy behind the project, saying “I was raised as an endurance runner. Now I’m an endurance artist.” We talked about how her photos and accompanying documentary included many forms of shorthand for how we define success and romance, but that “romance can occur in your life without a label.” I then asked her what she thought of the relationship she had formed with JoAnne, to which she replied, “It’s a perfect fit.” JoAnne and Suzanne then finished each other’s sentences, sharing how they knew they were meant to work together before they even met face to face. When JoAnne mentioned her bright yellow wall on the phone, Suzanne could not believe it. “I’m shooting sunflowers!” she said, referring to her photographs of her "family" frolicking through a field of flowers. Sure enough, the picture hung on the yellow wall above the yellow coach. “I also love that a woman is representing me,” Suzanne added. Seeing JoAnne smiling as Suzanne described her work, I was reminded of something she had said in our earlier interview: “As much as we love the artists’ work, we love them.”

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JoAnne Artman Gallery 1 Art and Photography Galleries Art Gallery District Chelsea
JoAnne Artman Gallery 2 Art and Photography Galleries Art Gallery District Chelsea
JoAnne Artman Gallery 3 Art and Photography Galleries Art Gallery District Chelsea
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JoAnne Artman Gallery 5 Art and Photography Galleries Art Gallery District Chelsea

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