Andi Potamkin and Steven Kasher, photograph by Jake Chessum


Vee Speers, Isabelle, 2004, Fresson print, 17 x 14 in, Edition of 10
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin


Jessica Harrison, Martha, 2014 Found ceramic, epoxy resin, enamel paint, acrylic varnish,
8 11/24x 43 5/48x 5 1/10in, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin



Biata Roytburd, One, 2013 Porcelain, 3 5/10x 3 5/10x 9 5/10in, Unique
Biata Roytburd, Two, 2013, Porcelain, 4 x 3 x 7 in, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin



Olivia Locher, Broken Party, 2012, Pigment print, 22 x 22 in, Edition of 5
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin



John Breed, Kuro, 2014, Burnt plywood, 58 inch diameter, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin



Romantic. Seductive. Intimate. Kasher|Potamkin Gallery exquisitely embodies the spirit of our times with a profoundly personal approach to art. The gallery, which operates as a boutique with a cash-and-carry policy, has a flair that is rarely, if ever felt, in the traditional white box approach to exhibiting art. Like Alice stepping through the looking glass, we are transported into a wonderland of sensuous delights. The eye cast itself around the room while the fingers long to touch. “Curiouser and curiouser!” our inner Alice cries.

Two pieces by the Haas Brothers jump up off the floor, reminding me of nothing so much as four-legged versions of the trees from “The Lorax”. One black, one white, identified as the Grace Tall stool and the Dolph Tall stool from the Beast series; I long to stroke one of these darlings discreetly. But then my eye alights upon the Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman marble-looking chair titled “Louis XV goes to Sparta.” I surreptitiously approach it, trying not to stare. These pieces are very effective. I’m feeling coy, even flirty. But is it the art—or is it the gallery?

Located at 515 West 26 Street, NY, Kasher|Potamkin is adjacent to the newly relocated Steven Kasher Gallery, which specializes in fine art photography. The two galleries complement each other beautifully. Steven Kasher Gallery is beautifully austere, allowing the clean, flat open lines of the wide, open vistas to hold large-scale photography with a gentle ease. The simplicity of the space plays as the perfect backdrop to the quiet grandeur of the photographs sequenced along the wall. It is a tall drink of water, fresh and restorative, a way to be alone with the art. Whereas in Kasher|Potamkin, the art bustles brilliantly, a mélange of mercurial temperaments that make disengagement all but impossible.

Taken together, the galleries are in perfect harmony, a yin yang flow of energy that creates more than just balance. It creates conversation. For it is in the marriage of the two that a new space is born. A space of dialogue and discovery. A space of love manifest in art.

Kasher|Potamkin opened its doors in September 2014 to critical acclaim and commercial success with the two-art inaugural exhibition “Intangible Beauty.” Dedicated to the spirit of the divine feminine, the exhibition began with “Beautiful Women” and closes on November 1 with “The Endless Void.” The exhibition, which features a subtly-evolving installation of works of photography, sculpture, ceramics, furniture, jewelry, painting, and objects d’art, features work by over forty emerging, mid-career, and established artists, many of whom are female, including Marianna Rothen, Marie Hochhaus, Philip Treacy, Delphine Diallo, Lina Viktor, Daido Moriyama, and Beatrix Ost, among many more.

When one steps into Kasher|Potamkin, one feels a sense of style and beauty that compels one forth, a certain je ne sais quoi that makes the installation a work of art unto itself. There is a certain grace, a certain knowing. It is the eternal feminine that wafts through the air like eau du parfum. It is the essence that is revealed as Andi Potakmin rises from her custom-made desk and begins to speak.

Sprezzatura. That is chic to me,” Potamkin reveals. To wit, sprezzatura is an Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

Potamkin, who is nothing short of chic herself, with eyes like topaz that sparkle, wink, and giggle. She continues, “Chic is effortless glamour. There has to be some distance. There has to be some mystery. You can know someone really well, and know they’re really chic, but no one is chic 24 hours a day. Chic requires just the right amount of distance.”

A balancing act, it would seem. The ability to hold something close, yet keep it at bay. This is much how the gallery operates. It draws you in, pulls you back and forth, from one object to the next. The eye must travel, as Diana Vreeland said. For chic is not only in the eye of the beholder, but in the heart itself.

Steven Kasher observes, “You know I never really thought about it before but now I am. To me, chic is bringing some of the artistic process and the creative mind to self-presentation. An artist wants to bring out his or her most pressing beliefs and needs and ideas and expression, pressing out from the inside to communicate what is most meaningful to the artist. To be in the world, to act and dress like that, in a subtle, every-day-comfortable-in-the-world-kind-of-way—that to me is chic. I can look at a person and think, ‘He or she hasn’t copied everything from a magazine. There is definitely an expression in the way he or she dresses. To me, it will be chic if it is personal, original, and gives me some deeper insight into the person just the way an artwork will.”

Watching the interplay between Kasher and Potakmin, the free flow of ideas and exchange of perspectives, inspires and energizes one with renewed faith, for nothing is quite so enjoyable as a deep and abiding sense of belief. At Kasher|Potamkin that belief is in the vitality of art, of its ability to connect people through the object itself. It is in these objects that a deeper understanding dwells, an understanding of humanity that extends across time and space but comes to reside in the way in which the artwork can speak every language without ever saying a word.

And yet it is with words that we are charged to connect, to share our stories and understanding with one another. And so we begin at beginning of what is a wonderfully dynamic approach to gallery format.

Kasher and Potamkin first collaborated on an exhibition of the work of photographer Phyllis Galembo. Potamkin recalls, “We loved working together. We come from very different sides of the industry and we just enjoyed having a dialogue. We realized we wanted to work together and open a space. It changed over time. It’s a concept space. You have to play around with it and figure out what’s going to work, and what isn’t. We created this space. There’s nothing else like it.”

Kasher recalls, “I always wanted to do a store-gallery crossing over between different media. Andi and I originally discussed a fashion photography gallery concept, so we are on the wavelength of fashion and art. We were evolving the idea of what would be the expression of our partnership. We talked about what our goal was. We had an exercise where we wrote down our top five goals on our own and then sharing them with each other. The top one for both of us was, ‘To be happy.’”

Potamkin smiles and says, “Yes!” in agreement. She continues, “The idea for being a fashion photography gallery was a real seed for this because we became very interested in context and the frame you put something in. When you take something out of a magazine, blow it up, and put it on a wall, this happens.” Potamkin gracefully gestures to a large print by Miles Aldrich hanging on the wall behind her.

She continues, “This was originally in a magazine. These photographers have such an incredible vision and what they set up in amazing. The right ones can be art if you put them in the right frame. That started our conversation about context, which is what we are doing here.”

Kasher recalls, “I remember we had discussions about concept stores. We are trying to reach an audience that is excited, passionate, and loving fashion but is not comfortable in an art gallery. So we wanted to have some fashion that would lure them into the gallery, and there they’d see a mix of fashion and art. Their passion would then spill on to the art. That was our original idea, and in the end we changed course because we do not have a lot of fashion, meaning clothing. But that concept, we thought, what can we do to get people more comfortable with art? So we thought about design and furniture because they have those things in their homes.

“I think what is happening now couldn’t have happened a few years ago because the artists wouldn’t have accepted it. I think we’ve come to an understanding that fashion, furniture, and design can be very serious and conceptual in different ways. I think the Alexander McQueen show at the Met was really a watershed moment. That show blew people away. It certainly did for me. I never saw anything about fashion as moving emotionally, intellectually, and visually, as that show. It’s easier, after something like that, to take things as equals. It’s a new understanding of what design can be. It’s also the way we curated it and brought it all together.”

Potamkin observes, “The white box model serves its role really well. It gets you inside the artist’s mind and what they are trying to present in their series as a whole. But it’s difficult for some people to bridge that gap of how am I going to take one piece out and put it in my home. For example, Phyllis Galembo, I have a piece of hers in my home. The piece is very much African, very documentary, and very a study of a culture, but the piece I have of hers, in conversation with the other pieces I have in my home takes on my own energy. That’s something we wanted to do with the space, to show works that are a little more difficult. We like strange; we like quirky; we like conversation pieces. We wanted to play with how different works play together.”

Kasher notes, “The way I see it, it started with Andi and I wanting to partner and share our energies in a way that we had not clear expectation. As Andi was saying before, there are profound differences between us and we wanted to partake of those differences: age/youth, feminine/masculine, experience/naivette, fashion/art. We both felt we wanted to mesh those and share our very different points of view, so we set up a process. We would both come up with whatever ideas we thought might be interesting to us. We are constantly finding things and presenting them to each other. Half the time we don’t agree, and those are things we let go. But a lot of times we bring things we agree on, and we go forward with that.”

Potakmin recalls, ““With the first show, we had Fashion Week in mind. It’s my favorite holiday. In the beginning, the show was going to be more about Fashion Week than about the Divine Feminine, which is what we conceived during the process. We both love women, which is something we understand. The shows we put together are very much about ourselves in that way. There’s a lot of us in the shows.

“We go through a very detailed process in choosing pieces for the show. They need to meet multiple criteria conceptually and aesthetically. We need to believe in the artist and their future so there’s a lot of dialogue and it’s really nice to have someone who’s not just mirroring everything you say. There’s not much growth that way. We have a lot of growth in presenting ideas that add complexity to the shows that we mount. The current show is about darkness and solitude. One thing I love, if we were to talk about what is intriguing about solitude, we would have very different ideas of what that is. That is a really fun thing to get to work with. It keeps it fresh.

“The act of discovery is rewarding and a joy. It’s amazing. We get people here. They see something, connect with it, and say, ‘We have a connection, this piece of art and I. I want to bring it home with me. I want to live with it.’”

Kasher concurs “From the very beginning we wanted to have not only an eclectic mix and a store environment, but we also wanted to have the feeling of a home or different rooms in a home so that it makes the work more approachable. We display it as you might in a home and we think that’s an effective way of letting people connect to the work.”

Potakmin concludes, “The moment that an artwork goes into a collection, that’s the moment it takes on life and it breathes. In this space, sometimes an artist will come in and say, ‘Oh my gosh. That is so not how I saw my work—and I love it!’ They’re really happy with it because they get to see how their work would live in a home. It’s fun. It’s exciting. Yes, artists want their work in museums but they also want people to live with their work. They want their work to find homes and have people love it.”

Artwork courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin Gallery
Curated by Miss Rosen


Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman, Louis XV goes to Sparta, 2011, Wood, digitally printed fabric
35x 25 5/10x 27 5/10in
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin


Nancy Josephson, Deer Head Mirror, 2013, Mixed media including taxidermy form, glow in the dark resin coated insects,
rhinestone chain, vintage and contemporary glass beads, 45 x 33 x 12in, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin



Shae DeTar, Courage Rising, Painted photograph, 22 x 33 in, Edition of 7

Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin


Marianna Rothen, Untitled #2 (from the series Domesticated Woman), 2011
Pigment print on Fine Art Paper, 35 x 35 in, Edition of 5
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin


Atsushi Tawa, Sculpture for Lost Space or an Object, 2011, Mannequin, quartz, silicone, 29 5/10 x 16 x 10in, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin


The Haas Brothers, Dark Father Accretion Vase, 2014,
Hand-thrown vase with porcelain slip in Light Syzurp glaze, 13 5/10 x 5 5/10 x 7in, Unique
Courtesy of Kasher|Potamkin