Taglialatella Galleries is dedicated to promoting the work of today’s hottest artists. Brian Swarts is the President and Director of Sales of Taglialatella Galleries, overseeing all gallery operations, including the coordination of inventory, sales, client relations, and collaborations with artists, other galleries, vendors and auction houses. He is also involved in planning and curating exhibitions and art fairs.
Brian has been working in galleries for ten years. He got his start at Pop International Galleries in SoHo in 2006 and moved to Taglialatella Galleries in Chelsea in 2011. He has a Bachelor of Arts from The College of Wooster in Ohio, majoring in English/Creative Writing and Studio Art as a minor. He also studied at Lorenzo de’ Medici – International Institute in Florence, Italy, focusing on art history and studio art. Brian is a committee member for “Paper, Rock, Scissors” benefiting the Alphabet City Arts Program at the Lower East Side Girl’s Club and a supporter of the Katherine M. Taglialatella Foundation, which provides need-based educational grants for inner-city children at the Mount. Carmel Holy Rosary School in East Harlem.
To date, Taglialatella Gallerieshave three locations including NY/Chelsea, Palm Beach in Florida and Paris, France. Recently, Brian spoke to the Examiner about the galleries:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How did you become interested in art?
Brian Swarts (B.S.): My parents are both artists and come from creative families, so growing up in that environment meant trips to museums and painting or drawing as a leisure activity, rather than video games or TV. Not that there was a choice! In college I studied fine art and art history as a passion, but didn’t realize that interest I had could pivot into a career until moving to New York City in 2006. At that time I was fortunate enough to meet Rick Rounick, the former owner and founder of Pop International Galleries and current owner of Soho Contemporary Art, who helped guide me into the ever-evolving art world and its vast amount of opportunities.
M.M.: How and when was Taglialatella Galleries started and why was that name chosen?
B.S.: Taglialatella Galleries is named after the founder, Dominic Taglialatella, who has been a force in in the New York and international art scene for more than 35 years. Mr. Taglialatella has done everything from publishing, to wholesale and auction businesses, to the current business model of our gallery with a focus retail art sales and exhibitions. We represent artists directly and also buy and sell on the secondary market.
M.M.: What styles of art does the Taglialatella Galleries favor?
B.S.: Taglialatella Galleries primary focus is Pop Art, with a heavy focus on names like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, while also dealing in contemporary Pop and Street artists such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Shepard Fairey and Russell Young, just to name a few. To list everyone our gallery favors might take up a full page.
M.M.: How does someone submit work to possibly be featured at the Galleries? Are there any fees involved?
B.S.: While we tend to focus primarily on the blue-chip or already-established artists who can be found not only in galleries but in major museums, auction houses and important corporate and private collections, we do review artist portfolios that are submitted online/mailed and make appointments with those artists who interest us. There are hundreds of talented artists seeking representation that would fit our gallery and surely be successful, but you can only feature so many artists and focus time and effort on so many works. That said, at least once or twice a year we meet someone who we agree to work with and is a success with our gallery. We are always looking for something special. For example: a few years ago we met Brazilian artist Rubem Robierb at an art fair in Miami during Art Basel week and fell in love with his work and him as a person. We decided to have a small introductory show a few months later and, after a successful opening, we decided as a team to represent Rubem’s artwork on a permanent basis. This May we are pleased to host our first one-man dedicated exhibition for Rubem’s work and we are extremely excited about his future. In a short period of time we have already seen major growth and interest in his market with collectors and museums.
M.M.: What kind of work/mediums do you hope to see more of in the future?
B.S.: I am always looking for new and interesting sculpture that blends well with the genre and look of our gallery: pop, colorful, fun, accessible, and so on. I am seeing more and more now, probably as young artists are influenced by greats like Jeff Koons, and hope to continue to watch that trend continue to expand.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving working with the Taglialatella Galleries?
B.S.: It has to be the people, first and foremost. Our team here is tremendous and that starts with Mr. Taglialatella and his ability to encourage hard work but keep a fun and energetic environment at each of our galleries. Any time we attend an art fair, host an exhibition or introduce a new artist, the passion for the art and the project from our team is infectious and carries over to our collectors and friends. The people you meet in this business are those who make it worthwhile; people involved in this business are smart and most could have been doctors or lawyers or bankers – many may have been already – but the art we love and the people we meet are the real payoff.
M.M.: Where do you hope the Galleries will be ten years from now?
B.S.: We are planning to announce a new location shortly and will hopefully explore some expansion opportunities in the near future. As Mr. Taglialatella would say, “the only two ways to grow are vertically or laterally”… whichever way is best in the current climate, it’s hard to say, but at least we know the goal is to grow.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an artist and/or striving to open a gallery?
B.S.: Immerse yourself entirely. You can have talent, passion, inspiration and means to succeed but without putting in the work, none of it works. Also, please be friendly. We need more of that in the art world.
M.M: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
B.S.: Rubem Robierb: New Works will open on May 19th here in our New York location at 231 10th Avenue in Chelsea. Stay tuned for more openings in the coming months!
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To learn more about Taglialatella Galleries visit the official website, Artsy and Artnet. They can also be followed on @taglialatellagalleries. To learn more about Girls Club see here and to learn more about the KMT Foundation, see here.