Grace Roselli is a Brooklyn based artist. Roselli received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1982, was awarded the RISD scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, a residency with the Empire State Studio program in New York City and studied with Emilio Vedova at the Venice Academy in Italy. Since 1991 her work has been included in a variety of publications and exhibitions. Her artwork is in numerous private collections in the US and Europe.
What was the most important thing you learned at your first job in the Arts?
I interned at Mary Boone Gallery, NYC, in the early eighties and learned that I should probably learn to type, wear high heels, not to paint on my clothes and that I definitely did not want to be an art dealer.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there? How has your upbringing shaped what you do in the arts today?
I was born in the Italian section of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and raised in the New Jersey suburbs. There was no art community there that I was aware of. My dad grew up working at his dad’s gas station, put himself through law school and became an FBI agent. My mom had the heart and soul of an artist but did whatever good Italian girls did at the time. When I manifested the ability to draw quite young, she made sure I got any art lessons she could afford that were available where we lived.
My parents sent me to RISD, somehow thinking that I’d graduate with a fabulous job in an art office or something and get married, however, I took a painting class my second year in art school and that was it for any kind of settled life. My parents were brave, passionate, strong individuals, and my family is close. Having this background as an emotional base has enabled me to move sanely through the craziness of the art life I’ve chosen.
What is one thing you do every day that contributes to your career success?
I try not to think about career success, because the definition fluctuates frequently for me. My art-making process is my obsession-passion-drive and I do some form of something everyday.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Know the difference between art making and the business of art; pay kindness and generosity forward.
Tell us more about your artistic practice, including your series Pandora’s BoxX Project…
My art practice has been framed by my experiences as a woman, artist, mother and biker. Following a divorce, I was raising two young daughters while documenting the motorcycle community I was involved with. In late 2018 I began photographing artists to re-connect with the critical art conversations that I had become isolated from and realized that there was a crucial living history that needed to be acknowledged.
I created Pandora’s BoxX Project to be a photographic portrait archive addressing the changing face of women, trans, and non-binary individuals in art over the past six decades. The conversation and experience of art impacts us all. Within the story of art, womxn, until recently, have been invisible. The portraits of Pandora’s BoxX Project are visual documents representing womxn’s presence and impact throughout the arc of social and cultural change within the past six decades. They stand as witness to, and evidence for, a completely rewritten and reinterpreted art canon.
The project is ongoing. Upon completion, it will include 360 portrait photographs, interviews and oral accounts documenting six generations of womxn creators and visionaries. Pandora’s BoxX Project celebrates all womxn whose art, actions, struggle and perseverance have reset the status quo and transformed our experience of the world. The project to date can be viewed here: www.pandorasboxxproject.com
What are you most excited for this year at your company or in the art world as a whole?
It continues to be an exciting process and tremendous honor to connect with the courageous and creative womxn who are, and will be, participating in Pandora’s BoxX Project.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
Perhaps if we weren’t human?
What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
Two spectacular exhibitions side by side at the Hirshhorn this past fall: Laurie Anderson’s “The Weather” and Toyin Ojih Odutola’s “A Countervailing Theory”
If you could own work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
There are so many living artists whose work inspires me and I would love to live with so I’ll go with the past: Michelangelo, Susan Rothenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Roy DeCarava, whoever made the Venus of Willendorf