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Revista O Globo (English Translation), 03.14.2010
"Foreign pictures" by Marcella Sobral
Link to original article
New York City has just become more Brazilian, and Brazil, more cosmopolitan, with the opening of 1500 Gallery, the first art gallery in the United States dedicated exclusively to Brazilian photography. Hidden on the sixth floor of a building in the charming neighborhood of West Chelsea, the place is a current postcard of our country and proof that we are much more than samba, soccer and beer.
"We are giving a different focus to Brazilian photography, which is unique to the New York market," says one of the partners of the gallery, Alexander Bueno de Moraes, a native carioca who has lived most of his life abroad. "The collection of images we offer at the gallery presents a good image of Brazil".
Alex and his Canadian partner, Andrew S. Klug, did extensive research in assembling the 17 artists represented by the gallery. The collection includes works by renowned artists such as as Bina Fonyat, who died in 1985 and whose collection was acquired from the family, by contemporary artists such as Murillo Meirelles and Gustavo Pellizzon (a photographer at O Globo newspaper), as well as by new names that are beginning to draw attention such as the São Paulo-based collective Garapa.
Besides Brazilian photographers, Alex and Andrew have also included foreigners whose work relates to Brazil, such as Jens Stoltze (Danish), Marc van Lengen (American, resides in Rio de Janeiro) and Vincent Rosenblatt (French, resides in Rio de Janeiro, has documented baile funk parties in Rio).
The idea behind 1500 emerged four years ago, but things started to become more concrete towards the beginning of last year. Initially, the gallery was to be inaugurated in Rio, but then the financial crisis started to dissipate, the exchange rate was not helping very much, and Alex and Andrew changed their mind and decided to open first in New York instead. To make a difference out there, the two have established certain philosophies.
One of these concerns the size of editions. Many of the images on offer are in editions ranging from 25 to one hundred prints. The choice depends on the artist.
"We believe in higher edition sizes, which lowers the price and makes photography more accessible," says Alex. "But if the photographer has always worked with lower edition sizes, I will not try to change his mind. The artist has to be comfortable."
The choice has provided good results. Inaugurated on February 11 with an exhibition entitled "Brazilian" (comprised of the eight photographs illustrating this article), 1500 Gallery has sold over 14 photographs in just one month of operation, most of them by the carioca Bruno Cals, an established commercial and fashion photographer who has now made the debut of his personal artistic work with "Horizons", a series of buildings shot at unusual angles that will be the next exhibition at 1500 Gallery. The prices of the photos for sale vary between $500 and $9,000.
Another of 1500's philosophies concerns the quality of the product on offer. Having run a Rio-based photo production company and photographers' agency for the past six years, called 1500 Brasil, Alex is well acquainted with the demands of the foreign market.
"Our prints and framing are done at Laumont Photographics, the same laboratory used by MoMA and other top museums and galleries in New York," he says.
The boys are already making plans to take the gallery to other places, such as São Paulo, Miami and Paris. By the end of the year, they promise that 1500 will open here in Rio, probably in Ipanema or Leblon.
"We intend to keep the same format as the New York gallery, that is a little out-of-the-way, as opposed to being right at street level, so as to attract only serious collectors and offer them a comfortable and intimate environment" says Alex.