Gallerist Nicola Vassell considers the Caribbean context

This article by Cassie Packard (Financial Times) was published on November 25, 2022. Packard writes, “The first black woman to own a Chelsea gallery, she wants her artists to excavate and challenge reality.” The article underlines her work in featuring Caribbean artists. The most recent exhibition at Nicola Vassell’s eponymous gallery is Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace’s “Bathers” (on view until April 22, 2023). Nicholas Vassell is located at 138 Tenth Avenue, New York, New York. [See previous posts Che Lovelace’s Bathers and NYC Galleries.]

Here are just a few excerpts; please read the full article about Vassell’s attention to the Caribbean context at the Financial Times.
Nicola Vassell is a veteran of Art Basel Miami Beach. Shortly after the Swiss art fair launched its American edition in 2002, she made her inaugural pilgrimage as a junior member of the team at New York gallery Deitch Projects. She has attended the Florida fair yearly since — as she climbed the ranks at leading galleries, formed an art advisory and curatorial consultancy, and finally, last year, founded a gallery of her own in New York City’s Chelsea district. “It’s full circle: I cut my teeth on this experience and now with my team I’m back on my own terms, showing work that we think will resonate,” says Vassell. Her eponymous gallery on Tenth Avenue, the first gallery owned by a black woman to take root in Chelsea, opened its doors in May 2021. [. . .]

“The gallery programme is rooted in a sense of wonder, but primarily, we are offering discourse that reframes the thresholds of the history and future of art,” says Vassell. [. . .] This year’s display in the fair’s Nova sector, which is devoted to works created in the past three years, pairs work by Trinidadian painter Che Lovelace and Barbados-born, Scotland-based interdisciplinary artist Alberta Whittle. The booth is titled The Enigma of Arrival in reference to the 1987 novel by the late Trinidadian-born British Nobel laureate VS Naipaul, a canonical figure in postcolonial studies.

“As a woman from the West Indies, I find that whenever I visit Miami, I am pulled towards the Caribbean; I feel the magnetic force of the islands,” says Vassell. “Our programme travels down a path that considers the Caribbean context in all of its postcolonial, post-imperial sovereignty. I want to show work by artists who embody that spirit and reveal that certain notions of self and being, which an entire citizenry was taught to refute, are actually elemental and nourishing.” [. . .]

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[Photo (detail) above by Timothy O’Connell. Accessed via]

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