contemporary art curator from country of Georgia,
Nino Macharashvili is a fresh curator just moved to East Coast less than a year ago from the Georgia, a country that inter-sects the Europe and Asia. Recently, she successfully curated her first exhibition with Fort Lee Art Group (FLAG) and have introduced many Georgian and North America contemporary artists to local community. Through her 60+ exhibition expe-riences, her hope is to expand the contemporary art scene to local and help artists to thrive in the contemporary art scene.
Sena Huh Editor
Can you introduce yourself and your art group to us, and tell me little bit about your back-ground?
I am Nino Macharashvili, a curator and director of FLAG Art Group, an innovative organization for art and culture in the Metropolitan Area. FLAG is dedicated to supporting both emerging and established artists from the local cosmopolitan commu-nity through a variety of events and media such as live exhibitions, an on-line art gallery, interviews with artists, and printed catalogues.
I am also very pleased to work with the founder of FLAG, Suah Sylvia Kim, a great leader who is shaping the trajectory of the gallery; and FLAG’s creative director, Doug Rizio, who is leading the art group with a vision of the future and integrating new tech-nologies into our creative projects. Our mission is to promote artists through FLAG’s products and ser-vices, facilitate collaboration between different creative enterprises, bridge the gap between art and business, and share the stories of the local art world to a much wider audience. About myself, I received my Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Art History and Theory at Tbilisi State University and in 2012, I continued my studies as a PhD student. Additionally, I at-tended international workshops and training courses on curating contem-porary art and I started working at the contemporary art gallery ‘Project Art-Beat’. I gained invaluable experience in this gallery arranging exhibitions nationally and internationally. I’m proud that, in 2018-19, I was a cura-tor of the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts in Tbilisi, Georgia. As a curator, I’ve organized more than 60 solo and group exhibitions of contemporary artists at the galleries and museums of Europe, Asia and the US.
Was it always your dream to be-come curator? What attracted you the most to become a curator?
Yes, art has always been part of my life since my childhood. My grand-mother was a director of the Culture House in Georgia and she shared her love of art with me. We visited muse-ums and galleries together in Tbilisi. It was very difficult to make a living as an art professional in the country of Georgia and, I think, not only there, but in other places as well. However, because of my passion for the arts, I dedicated myself into it. The path was not easy, but I have always been happy doing what I love.
So tell me bit about what you have accomplished, or what you have done while you were in Georgia?
I was born in the great city of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The con-temporary art scene is very rich and interesting in this city. I’m a PhD candidate and invited lecturer at Tbilisi State University. The subject of my thesis explores the use of new media in contemporary art. As a member of the Culture and Creativity Leaders in Georgia, I’ve attended a multi-tude of trainings and workshops on art management and the art market, have participated in international confer-ences, and published papers in a variety of publications. I worked at the contemporary art gallery Project ArtBeat from 2015 to 2018, and organized solo and group shows in places like Project ArtBeat’s permanent exhibition space, the Moving Gallery, as well as in museums and international art fairs in different countries. Working on a global scale, I presented art fair booths, Contemporary Istanbul in Turkey, Art Dubai in the UAE, Kyiv Art Week in Ukraine, and Art Vilnius in Lithuania.
Together with Otto Kakhidze, I co-founded the artistic residency ARCHEID, an arts initiative supporting cultural sustainability through multicultural artistic collaboration. After the curation of ARCHED’s first site-specific exhibi-tion at the abandoned building of a former wine factory in Imereti Region, Georgia, the show won the prize for the most creative project nomination.
In 2018-2019, I was a curator of the Georgian Museum of fine arts, arranging solo and group exhibitions for con-temporary artists in the museum’s permanent exhibition space as well as organizing educational programs, special tours and a series of concerts for Music at the Museum.
What life event made you to move to the United States?
New York is the Mecca of Contemporary Art, the global capital of the art market. Whenever I came to the US to visit my brother, I always spent most of the time attend-ing exhibitions in galleries and museums. It helped me to develop my PhD thesis. My brother’s family is my big-gest supporter and I moved to Fort Lee in June 2019. My friend told me that one gallerist was looking for a curator. It was unbelievable, I met the amazing Sylvia Kim and our majestic journey of creating FLAG started.
Do you have any exhibition that you have curat-ed that was most memorable to you?
The most memorable exhibition to me is Shots Across the Plane, a video show which I curated together with Jeremy Gales in May, 2018. I met Jeremy at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair in 2016 and we planned this exhibition for 2 years. The event was organized by Project ArtBeat at the Museum of Modern Arts in Tbilisi, Georgia. I’m proud that the exposition showcased video art masterpieces by prominent contemporary artists: Janet Biggs, Tamar Cha-duneli, Tamara K.E., Pipilotti Rist, Dana Sederowsky and Hito Steyerl. Most of the artists and works were shown in Georgia for the first time.
Also, together with Project ArtBeat, I organized a very inter-esting site-specific exhibition at the Former Railway Station building in Tskaltubo, Georgia, September, 2018. The Book for the New Aristocracy presented a solo show of New York based Georgian artist Lado Pochkhua. Pochkhua’s works were part of FLAG’s premiere exhibition as well.
Now that you are finished with this exhibition, what is your next project?
I just finished curating FLAG’s premiere show, All Media, All Cultures – Beyond Cultural Identities, showcasing works by a variety of multicultural contemporary artists. So FLAG is planning to publish the next issue of our gallery cata-logue and in a process of organizing 2nd group exhibition in March, 2020. The place is TBA but stay tuned on our websites and social media pages for the updates.
Archeids First Exhibition, 2016
Exhibits from the Museums Repository, Georgian Museum of FIne Arts, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2018
Project ArtBeat booth at ArtInternational, Istanbul, Turkey, 2015
Nino Macharashvili is a curator and director of Fort Lee Art Group (FLAG). She has been curating over 60 exhibitions of solo and group shows throughout North America, Europe and Asia. She is a PhD candidate at the Tbilisi State University.