The brain-child of city creative Katya Leibholz, Heart for Art, proves that sometimes a gap year experiment can go completely right. The arts events company provides curious individuals and innovative companies with an opportunity to take advantage of the rich culture available in New York City.
Katya Leibholz at Art New York 2018
You probably recognize the brand for their art tours. The curated experiences lead intimate groups through New York’s streets, pointing out the city’s hidden street art gems and new exhibitionsTuesdays through Sunday’s.
I hung out with the young entrepreneur and had the pleasure of taking an art tour and discussing Heart for Art with the leading lady herself.
We began our Chelsea tour on a sunny Tuesday at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery to view Tomás Saraceno: Solar Rythm. Katya mentions Saraceno’s focus of alignment, his tendency to manipulate scale to denote the potential seen by the artist to express the simultaneous microscopic nature of the universe in passing while pointing out the beauty of the sculpture’s shadows on the wall.
Her ability to share traditional art knowledge informally seems to come natural, the love of art and passion for sharing knowledge is visibly evident, Heart for Art’s success easily made sense.
How did Heart for Art Tours get started? Why Heart for Art? Does Art have a special Heart Connection For you?
I grew up in New York City and would go to the MET when it was too rainy to be in a park, and would explore galleries with my friends after school - art, and especially the New York art-world has always been a part of my life. We are so lucky to live in a city where there is so much creativity that is open to the public!
This was my inspiration for Heart for Art. I wanted to share this with locals and tourists alike, while also highlighting the work of emerging artists from New York City.
How do you define Art?
That's so hard to answer in one sentence - I would say the creative expression of an individual's reality.
We stop by Unix Gallery to explore the immersive installation Eugenio Merino: Here Lies Andy Warhol. The citywide experience culminates at the gallery where a life-size hyperrealistic sculpture of Andy Warhol accompanied by a black granite gravestone sits behind a velvet rope and floor sticker reading “selfie.”
Katya discusses the role of the individual when viewing art and the impact technology has made in the viewing experience. Leaving me to question is a seemingly inappropriate selfie bad if you’re told to take it?
What do you look for when curating experiences?
We really want to strike a balance between showing clients the work of the most talked about artists and exposing them to the stellar work of some lesser-known artists. It’s critical that both of these groups are talked about as in combination they represent the current and future NYC art world.
What are your favorite public art pieces currently on exhibition?
There are so many great pieces on view to the public this spring and summer!
Right now, I think Yinka Shonibara MBE's Wind Sculpture (SG) I (at Doris C. Freedman Plaza) is beautiful! Midnight Moment (the world's largest digital art exhibition) - in Times Square is definitely one of my favorites.
I would also say Patricia Cazorla & Nancy Saleme's Once You Hear Me, You Won't Forget Me in Harlem is a must, and so is Dorothy Iannone's I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door mural off the Highline.
The city has done a great job of making the creative work of talented artists available throughout the boroughs.
Our third stop was Cheim & Read to view Ghada Amer. Katya spilled that the Egyptian artist was a current favorite of hers due to the juxtaposition of classical imagery and modern-day sexual empowerment. We talked about Amer’s new foray into ceramics and the parallels between the artist’s obscuration with colored slip and thread.
Many people may feel that art is a luxury not easily incorporated into everyday life. What do you suggest as an easy way for people to incorporate more art into their daily life?
Exploring and asking questions!
You don't know what you will come across, and it makes life more exciting. Exploring in New York is so easy to do. Take a different route to work or have no plans on a Saturday or Sunday and roam around a new neighborhood. You WILL stumble across something interesting that will resonate with you. As far as asking questions, some of the most insightful and interesting things I've learned about the New York art world were from people I randomly struck up conversations with at galleries.
There are so many curious and interesting people and things in this city.
Katya and I explored Chelsea for some time, popping into Leila Miller, 303 Gallery, and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, the tour embodied diversity in both medium and artist representation (from a post-technological dystopian video installation, to multi pieces on perspective British artist David Hockney.)
We ended the tour at James Cohan to explore Mernet Larsen: Situation Room. Mernet’s use of altered perspective in familiar table settings and manipulation of symmetrical hands were the main focus of conversation discussing the exhibition, but I was enthralled by Katya’s passion for creatives.
Her respect and desire to create space for creatives, not only as artists but as educators and social figures is consistent, even within the operations of Heart for Art, an impressive feat for such a young venture. The opinions of the instructors', often artists themselves come into play when the company organizes their events and tours.
When asked what was next for Heart for Art Katya played cool, an expansion of tours, more events, and the focus on a community that loves art.
To book an art experience of your own check Heart for Art’s Calendar here.