APRIL 28, 2020






Last week, AS IF Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing contemporary artist Amy Sherald as part of t he second year of Lafayette 148’s #UnordinaryWomen campaign. Now, we have the privilege of art consultant and curator Maria Brito joining in on the fun with us. Brito is a highly influential figure in the art world and has worked with notable artistic talents including Kenny Scharf, Erik Parker, KAWS, and Nina Chanel.

This year, Brito became involved with #UnordinaryWomen thanks to Linda Gaunt Communication’s founder Linda Gaunt herself, who counts Lafayette 148 among her clients. Gaunt proposed Brito’s name to Lafayette 148, and Brito would later get the call that she was one of the nine unordinary women selected to be part of this year’s campaign. “This is the most unordinary year of my life, as it is for everybody” Brito said. “We started on a very positive note with this campaign, and now we’re living in a sci-fi movie.”

Despite the crazy times we are living in during the coronavirus pandemic, Brito says art still has a very important role to play in society. “This is a very important time for artists because they can create new possibilities,” Brito said. “Art is a window into a new world and new territories. Artists see realties that are going to happen. They have a very fine-tuned radar to see the future because they are so attentive and have such a high level of observation. When artists are creating and showing off what is possible, it gives us the rest of us hope and shows us what is possible. Coronavirus has really hit everything in every way from cultural actives, our health, the economy, and our freedom. Artists can dream about what is possible when this is over. For many years, the art world was on a merry go round that was spinning too fast. Artists were under pressure to create artwork around the world for art fairs and multiple collaborations. They had to serve a market. Now, the market has had to come to a semi-halt, so artists have time to create beautiful new propositions.”

Maria Brito

With most art galleries across the country and most of the world still closed, Brito has changed the way she works for right now. She’s been using Instagram live and social media to organize her creative ideas and present them to people in a digital format. Even though she can’t curate a physical show right now, she’s been using social media to showcase past projects and special exhibits she’s done with artists. While she’s acknowledging it’s not as easy as creating a narrative with an exhibit, it’s not impossible.

The pandemic has slowed down her search in working with artists, as she’s usually on the hunt for young artists and new talent, but now she’s been able to discover up-and-coming artists through Instagram. This week, Brito also worked with retail concept store Showfields to host a live sale on their website that was curated by Brito herself. The live sale featured all emerging artists with pieces priced under $500. 

In the wake of so many things going virtual, Brito says that she expects the definition of contemporary art to expand to include a lot more digital. “Art fairs will see a reduction in the number of attendees,” Brito said. “That will push art fairs and galleries to work more in a digital space. It democratizes the playing field of the art world. People will have a direct access to see how things are. Contemporary art will be expanded in the art market as we go more digital. The definition of contemporary art is always changing and fluid, because contemporary means as of now. The first shift is going to be online exhibitions, and then we are going to see technology that allows people to buy or rent artwork that are of augmented or virtual reality through apps. This isn’t something for old school collectors, but it will be very appealing to young audiences.”