a conversation with Cristina Grajales

"She does not believe in simply educating her clients about specific designers, but aims to enlighten them towards all disciplines related to furniture design." (here)

text spray painted upon the walls, for the latest show, "New York, New York"

ode (d) n. 1. A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure.

Last week while in New York, I had the pleasure of finally dropping by Cristina Grajales Gallery in Soho on Greene Street. After buzzing entry, I was escorted to the 4th floor via an old fashioned elevator, slowly ascending. Her latest show, "New York, New York," which is up until April 20th, is an ode to the New York design & art community. A celebration of works made by hand, that reflect the current design community. Works of ceramics, metal, and textiles line the floors and walls, spaced with breath and precision. A spray painted roster of artisan and designers centering the space on the wall. Grajales' gallery is filled with a floor to ceiling bookcase, which is overflowing with design catalogs, and books. It's the type of space I could spend a few hours, if only I had more time. New York is a dense space, buzzing and whispering, as represented by this collection. - David John

Your new show, New York, New York is inspired by the terrain of New York. Are these new artisans you are working with for this show?

Cristina: Some of the artists that are represented in New York, New York we recently starting representing like Mark Welsh, James Salaiz, and John-Paul Philippe. Precisely this is how we started thinking about New York, New York because we realized that right here in our town, we have an incredible group of talented people. Even though our collection is international, we felt it was necessary to support our local artists.

Do you find it strange that design and art is separated in the fairs?

A dealer here in L.A. told me that in Paris, stores use to show paintings, fine art, and furniture all together. There was no difference. I think about this all the time, the categorization.

Yes, I do find it strange that design and art is separated. I know that especially in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, galleries and collectors were more comfortable with all the fine arts being together. I think its getting better, but I also wonder about this division.

James Salaiz, his ceramics works (below) that are part of "New York, New York." Such a beautiful installation.

Yes, we started representing James Salaiz last November, as soon as I became acquainted with his work. I love his ceramic work, not just for how conceptual it is, but also his incredible craftsmanship. In the case of the bullets, which could also be huts, I like the fact that one can see weapons in a non-threatening way. I also love his other work based on Birds of Prey.

ceramic works by James Salaiz

How long has your gallery been in its current location?

Our gallery has been in the current location for 11 years.

As a researcher myself, any design catalogs or books you would recommend to look at?

I like to look at pre-Colombian books, and I try to be actualized as to what is going on in New York in the various galleries and museums.

How did you begin collecting, at what age, and where?

I grew up in a home where my mother is very artistic. She was always drawing, painting, and decorating. So, art has always been a part of my life. I started in my early 20's with Pre-Colombian jewelry. Since then, I have many other interests.

Can you tell me who made this work above?

This is a stool by New York based artist Stephen Burks in collaboration with Dedar fabrics. Its called Giallo from 2011.

Handcraft: Have you always been attracted to works that are made by hand?

Yes, for me, the hand element has always been important. I love textiles. I must say that it is one of my favorite mediums. Thats one of the reasons why we love so much the work of Hechizoo and Suzanne Tick.

light is by Paul Evans, 1972, single commission

Cristina Grajales Gallery
10 Greene Street, 4th Floor, New York T. 212 219 9941

"A renowned advisor and dealer, Cristina Grajales has been a leader and a trendsetter in the design market since the inception of her gallery in 2001. Cristina Grajales Gallery cultivates emerging contemporary designers working in a variety of mediums such as furniture, lighting, ceramics and textile design.

Cristina Grajales is also hailed as an expert in mid-century European and American design, and the gallery specializes in masterpieces of the twentieth-century including works by Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille, and Alexander Noll. Grajales has a breadth of expertise in acquisition, appraisal and education."

thank you Cristina Grajales.

all photographs taken by David John of YHBHS.
interview by David John