Bringing contemporary art, antique furniture and modern design under one roof, Alma, Art and Interiors, a collaboration between Kimberly Oliva of Oliva Gallery and Gosia Korsakowski of Architectural Anarchy, reimagines the gallery space to reflect the spirit of the home. Moving away from a traditional gallery setup, the exhibition features staged mixed media vignettes in an effort to “rescue the works from seeming isolated and spiritless,” as they put it. “An interior without art is like a place without a soul,” says Korsakowski, explaining: “We want to create the feeling of people who live there.” In conversation with Newcity, Oliva discusses the newly opened multidisciplinary exhibition that crosses media and time periods (antique furniture, vintage lighting, modern ceramics, contemporary painting, fiber artists, photography, sculpture, wood work, metal work, and more), and why visualizing the spirit of one’s home is of utmost importance—especially now.
Tell us about Alma, Art and Interiors and the story behind it.
Alma translates in Spanish as “spirit” or “soul.” We believe that art is the spirit of the home and set out to design a multicultural exhibition with a focus on art and design. Alma was created in September to highlight Chicago artists for a Chicago audience.
Can you talk about the advantages of bringing together contemporary art, antique furniture and modern design?
Oliva Gallery exhibited in SOFA—now Intersect Chicago—in 2019 and had a signed contract for 2020 right before COVID-19 cancelled all of the large-scale shows. The advantage of the exhibition is to foster the creative art scene with available inventory (contemporary art) with modern and antique furnishings that are readily available, vastly greater quality and construction and are already made. The ecological impact of buying antiques and vintage over new is important to note given the issues relating to fuel, transport, manpower and labor due to supply-chain issues.
What’s your greatest piece of advice when it comes to visualizing the spirit of one’s own home?
Start with the art. Find a piece that you love and build around it. With Zoom meetings and shelter-in-place mandates, clients needed to update the usability of the home. That meant being surrounded by beautiful objects that fostered happiness and function—for example, a Zoom art wall as background for client meetings or dual desks for partners that both worked at home that normally would each be in separate offices. The dynamic changed from just a dining table to a safety spot where families can gather and collectively process the trauma of the pandemic. Our exhibition takes that to the next level. You feel a sense of calm as you navigate the art at Alma.
What are you hoping the viewer will take away from this exhibition?
We hope they will begin to fuse contemporary art with modern and antique furniture to foster a relationship with living Chicago artists—not a mass-produced box store model. We want the artist and the client to revel in the connection—the connection that so many have craved in a time of isolation. We hope to share our connections and relationships with the Chicago artist community with everyone.
Alma, Art and Interiors, 3636 South Iron, Saturday, November 20, 11am-7pm, Sunday, November 21, 11am-5pm. Appointments are available.
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