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Polina Berlin

Polina Berlin’s New York Top 7: Eva Hesse, Frenchette, and More

Polina Berlin raised the curtain on a vivacious new location for her namesake gallery this year within New York City’s Flower District. Here, the visionary imparts to Whitewall the significance of sparking new dialogues with artists and audiences, and the best bars to have a great meal.

The forward-thinking Polina Berlin founded her namesake gallery in 2022 on New York’s Upper East Side, bringing a wealth of experience in leadership positions at esteemed art spaces such as Paula Cooper Gallery, Kasmin, and Ortuzar Projects. With an ardent dedication to supporting and nurturing the careers of burgeoning creatives, Berlin raised the curtain on a vivacious new location for Polina Berlin Gallery this year within the city’s Flower District. Here, Berlin imparts to Whitewall the importance of connecting with the global art landscape and her favorite place to enjoy a dreamlike nightcap with artists and friends. 

Portrait of Polina Berlin

Portrait of Polina Berlin; photo by Alex Moore, courtesy of Polina Berlin Gallery.

WHITEWALL: Within your role as a gallerist, what are you looking forward to in New York in May during the fairs?

POLINA BERLIN: There’s a palpable energy in May in New York. Many of the most exciting gallery exhibitions open to coincide with the fair and auction weeks and it’s a treat to reconnect with art world colleagues in town from around the world. 

It’s exciting to be introduced to new artists and hear about all the forthcoming projects they have cooking. I’m also thrilled to be presenting a show of new work by American artist Casey Bolding, opening May 7. His work’s emotional charge and its ontological exploration of time and decay captivated me when I first visited his studio—I can’t wait to start installing and to share it with a wider audience.

“There’s a palpable energy in May in New York,” — Polina Berlin 

WW: What do you have your eye on at the fairs?

PB: My favorite stands at Frieze were a co-presentation by London-based Emalin and Tbilisi-based LC Queisser galleries; who brought excellent examples by Stanislava Kovalcikova, Ser Serpas, and Alvaro Barrington. It’s so great when galleries from different parts of the world take fairs as an opportunity to collaborate and create a dialogue among artists. 

I also loved Liv Barrett of Château Shatto’s presentation, featuring an Emma McIntyre work made with oxidizing pigments. And I always look forward to making new discoveries at NADA and Independent—this year I’m looking forward to seeing Louis Shannon’s presentation of work by Jenny Jisun Kim and Z. Susskind at Entrance.

WW: What are the exhibitions on your must-see list?

PB: There are many! Rita Ackerman and Eva Hesse at Hauser & Wirth are both must-sees for me. Eva Hesse is probably one of my favorite artists. I’m looking forward to Mika Tajima at The Hill Art Foundation, one of my favorite private spaces in the city to experience art. I’m excited to see Elise Nguyen Quoc at the East Village gallery Gratin, which to me is one of the most exciting young galleries in New York today.

Revelatory Dinings Spots for Jubilant Moments with Artists and Friends 

WW: Where are you go-to places to grab a bite or drink after the fairs/opening?

PB: I’m a lifelong New Yorker and love a great bar where you can also have a meal—if it’s not Frenchette, Omen, Balthazar, or Odeon, I may not show up. I also enjoy a Fanelli’s hang with an endless rotation of artists and friends or a nightcap at Ella Funt.

Polina Berlin’s Must-Do List:

1. Embark on Global Creativity at Frieze New York

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Frieze New York 2023

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Frieze New York 2023; photo by Alex Staniloff, CKA, courtesy of Frieze.

Alongside major partner Deutsche Bank, and helmed for the third year in a row by Christine Messineo, Director of Americas, Frieze, this year’s iteration unveils a much-anticipated enterprise with Stone Island, invoking an expressive painting by Focus artist Hasani Sahlehe into the event staff’s spirited attire. The influential fair partners with principal organizations including High Line Art, Performance Space, Artists Space, Art Production Fund, and Rockefeller Center to rejoice in euphoric performance art, artist-led programming, and impressive activations for a cosmopolitan audience. 

2. Explore Eva Hesse at Hauser & Wirth

Eva Hesse,

Eva Hesse, “No title (Selfportrait),” 1960, Oil on canvas 45.7 x 40.6 cm / 18 x 16 in.; © The Estate of Eva Hesse, published by Hauser & Wirth.

Born in Hamburg Germany in 1936, Eva Hesse is one of the icons of American art of the 1960s, her work being a major influence on subsequent generations of artists. Comprehensive solo exhibitions in the past 50 years, as well as a retrospective that toured from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Museum Wiesbaden in Germany and finally to the Tate Modern in London, have highlighted the lasting interest that her oeuvre has generated. Hesse cultivated mistakes and surprises, precariousness and enigma, to make works that could transcend literal associations. The objects she produced, at times barely present yet powerfully charismatic, came to play a central role in the transformation of contemporary art practice. — Source

3. “Mika Tajima: Super Natural” on Display at Hill Art Foundation

Mika Tajima,

Mika Tajima, “Art d’Ameublement (Versant des Phylicas),” 2017, courtesy of the artist and Van Doren Waxter.

Through her work, Mika Tajima makes us aware of the invisible structures of communal existence through our ever-evolving relationship with technology and the built environment. The title of this exhibition, Super Natural, draws on the notion of an order of existence that exceeds the laws of nature and stretches beyond the observable universe. Inside the cultural economies of heightened technological efficiency and optimization, the boundaries between our authentic and digital identities have become blurred to the point of unrecognizability. Our individual and communal agencies, which so often are vulnerable and contingent, are subjects of deep inquiry as transitory agents at the threshold between familiarity and otherness.Source

4. Visit “Offering Body and Soul to A Radical Alterity,” by Elise Nguyen Quoc at Gratin

Installation view of Elise Nguyen Quoc's “Offering Body and Soul to A Radical Alterity

Installation view of Elise Nguyen Quoc’s “Offering Body and Soul to A Radical Alterity” at Gratin; published by Gratin.

Gratin is happy to present Offering Body and Soul to A Radical Alterity, Elise Nguyen Quoc’s first New York solo show showcasing her most recent body of work. Elise Nguyen Quoc’s works defy categorization as mere paintings or drawings. Her works are mainly made from her photos. She selects photos containing elusive remnants—unnamable, bodiless, objectless, devoid of any recognizable iconographic language. Her works are records of activities that range from her empty ballpoint pens to the bottom of a paint tray. — Source

5. Relax and Refresh at Frenchette

Frenchette New York

Published by Frenchette, New York.

Enjoy succulent oysters, duck frites, or the luminous pea leaf salad, along with a divine natural wine list, at the serene contemporary French bistro. 

6. Indulge in Heritage Ingredients at Omen Azen 

Omen Azen

Published by Omen Azen, New York.

Earth, Water, Fire.At Omen, we care about every element involved in the cultivation of our “heritage ingredients.” These ingredients express the souls and skills of our purveyors, instilling the wisdom of their predecessors who have passed down agricultural practices through the generations. Because of our dedication, Our products received a Slow Food Award in Italy, and have been receiving numerous awards in Japan. Our products contribute to the health of future generations across the globe. — Source

7. Stop in at Iconic Neo-Bistro Ella Funt for Fresh French Cuisine 

Ella Funt

Published by Ella Funt, New York.

Ella Funt is a Neo-Bistro serving a unique take on French cuisine in the heart of New York. The restaurant’s eclectic team combines their expertise for all to see on the plate. Chef Nick Koustefanou along with Sous Chef Zoumana Meite use French cuisine as a vehicle for the best in-seasonal ingredients and worldly flavors, serving food that is expertly crafted to be both complex yet welcoming. Named after the legendary Club 82 drag artist, Ella Funt offers Neoparisian fine dining in a signature bar space in which to look and be seen. — Source

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Minjung Kim

THE SPRING ARTIST ISSUE
2023

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Frieze New York descends upon The Shed, and throughout the vibrant city, with a robust presentation of solo exhibitions and curated booths.
Over the weekend, NADA returned to New York for its tenth edition with presentations from 92 up-and-coming galleries. We’ve compiled our seven favorite exhibitions from the fair.
Janis Cecil, Founder of New York’s revered JGC Fine Art, shares with Whitewall her excitement for discovering new creatives this month.

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