MARIA BRITO: WEARABLE ART
Maria Brito is an award-winning New York-based contemporary art advisor, author and curator. For SHOWFIELDS, Maria is showcasing wearable art collaborations with amazing contemporary artists who are legends in their own rights. Maria has collaborated with rockstars of the art world such as Kenny Scharf, Katherine Bernhardt, Natalie Frank, and AVAF. The common denominator is that all of these artists are super positive people who work with a palette of wonderfully saturated colors, and all of them are in some of the best art collections and museums in the world. These items are true pieces of art. The purpose of these collaborations is to bring a more affordable way for people to be able to own these artists’ works
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice:
I’m an art advisor, curator, and author, a cultural entrepreneur involved in many areas of the art world. I live in New York City with my husband and my two boys. For the past 12 years, I have dedicated myself to serving new and seasoned art collectors from all over the world, curating art exhibitions and demystifying the art world through the books and articles I write, the social media posts that I share, the TV show I wrote and hosted with PBS last year plus dozens of other videos that I have created, to give information and access about art and artists to a larger audience.
What are your parameters for artist selection?
I like artists who tackle socio-cultural issues of the moment with beauty, color, heart and smarts.
What kind of artwork is relevant to our generation and the times we are living?
The art that speaks with authenticity about each individual artist’s personal narrative but that connects with larger audiences at a deeper level, either because we feel identified with it or because we feel empathetic.
Tell us about this curation for SHOWFIELDS: conceptually, aesthetically, etc.?
These are collaborations I did with amazing contemporary artists in 2014, 2015 and 2016. I chose to work with artists who are legends in their own rights. Kenny Scharf is one of the great American artists who has created a unique and idiosyncratic style that started in the 70s and 80s and continues strong today. I was lucky to have him closely involved in the process and that he allowed me to use such a characteristic image of his work. Katherine Bernhardt is a younger artist who is a rock-star of the art world, and I invited her to collaborate with me at a time where she was exploring these still lifes that have made her worldwide famous. She had barely done any collaborations prior. Natalie Frank is a supremely talented artist whose imagination is wild and she loves to mix mythology, fantastical creatures, women, ideas of feminism in her work. And AVAF, or Assume Vivid Astro Focus is an incredible French-Brazilian duo that has created the most spectacular installations in museums around the world. They are also activists in the realms of equality, gay rights, trans, queer. In fact, the lips “CandyLip” necklace were inspired by paintings and drawings they did of trans women in Brazil.
The common denominator of all these artists is that they are super positive people who work with a palette of wonderful saturated colors, and all of them are in some of the best art collections and museums all over the world.
Also, I think it is important for people to know that these items are true pieces of art. The purpose of these collaborations when I partnered with these artists was to bring a more affordable way for people to be able to own their works. First, they are limited to 25 pieces each plus 3 artist’s proofs (or APs). Second, artists of these caliber never produce fashion items on their own, they always partner with a designer, a company or a brand. Picasso, Miro, Warhol Dali, for example, did fashion and jewelry collaborations when they were alive.
In this case, to further ensure that these items were true pieces of art, everything was manufactured in NYC. The acrylic company we used is the same company used by some of the blue-chip galleries in NYC. The printing company we used for the museum-quality prints on the clutches is the same company that MoMA uses in their photography and print department. The company that printed on the textiles also prints for many museums and high-profile artists here. There is a reason why, after all these years, everything looks intact. If there are some minimal marks on the back of the clutches, that’s due to handling because they were sent to photograph by W Magazine, Vogue China, Vogue Brazil, WSJ, InStyle and many, many other press outlets that were thrilled to feature these original and high-quality products.
What is your advice for art lovers and appreciators looking to start their own art collections?
That they form an education by understanding what’s available, the differences between one-of-a-kind, and editions, why paintings are generally more valuable than works on paper, why sculptures are generally made in editions, why some artists are so expensive and others aren’t…. the best thing they can do is to go to all the galleries and art fairs, or to work with an art advisor so that they don’t waste their money or make costly mistakes.