Nadia Tahoun is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Flower Shop Collective (FSC), an arts and fabrication studio that cultivates the ideas of emerging artists working towards more equitable futures. Her curatorial efforts have been mentioned in Forbes, Artnet, Art News, and Hyperallergic. She is also a freelance Film and Experiential Producer. Previous clients or places of employment have included Daniel Arsham Studio, Droga5, Def Jam, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, and most recently Justin Bieber. Nadia is a graduate of The New School and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
What was your first job in the Arts?
An intern turned Associate Producer for Daniel Arsham Studio.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I took a film class during my senior year of high school that I really liked and it made me rethink my entire college application process! I only applied to art schools after that!
What do you do now?
I am the Founder & Creative Director of Flower Shop Collective and I am a freelance film producer.
Where are you from?
What is the arts community like there?
I love the arts community in Miami because it is so tight knit. It is also a community that isn’t afraid to get weird; it is almost like there are no rules.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
Absolutely, I am very much still involved with creating in Miami and it is a place I find all my inspiration in. Those are my people.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
To practice solidarity with each other. It is a tough industry with a lot of injustices and problems regarding equity. I think it is important as art laborers and working-class creatives to lift each other up.
What is one of the greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Everything Flower Shop Collective has accomplished so far! I am also really proud to have curated a show at Spring/Break Art Fair in 2020.
What has been a challenge for you?
Running a small business that is centered in community during a global pandemic has been a challenge in all the ways you can think of.
What is something you do every day at the office (or your current home office)?
I make myself a huge cup of tea in the middle of the day. I like the ritual of it.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
I hope what makes a person hirable is how they can contribute to a safe work culture at the workplace.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace? Any good tips for a giving a great interview?
If you are applying for a position where you will be leading and managing people I think showcasing your ability to understand how important each team member is, for the overall success of the company, is crucial.
Is there any advice you would like to give people entering the art world?
Yes, to remember why you chose this industry over others. We are artists, creatives and workers who engage in cultural preservation and the beauty of creative expression. Stay focused.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Nadia Waheed’s “ I climb, I float, I backtrack” at the Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami. I love Nadia’s work so much and as a fellow Muslim woman also named Nadia it is so refreshing and powerful to witness her paintings in person. I think she brings up so many important themes and conversations in her work.
Have you seen any virtual exhibitions recently that you would like to comment on?
I have to admit I am very happy to be seeing exhibitions in person again. The virtual exhibitions in my opinion mostly blended together purely due to the overload of images I experience via screen daily. I love seeing work in their proper context! Even seeing images online of work in their proper context is more powerful to me than seeing painting after painting on a website. I experienced context collapse with a lot of the virtual exhibitions in the last year but I totally understand it needed to be done.
What artwork is in your home office?
Our home office has posters of films I’ve produced and art made by our friends and loved ones. We have a beautiful Emilie Gossiaux drawing that we cherish deeply.
How do you think art can play a fundamental role in the world’s recovery from Covid19?
This was a year filled with a lot of loss and collective grief. It was also a year that showcased how broken our systems are in this country. I hope art can provide some clarity, some healing and make people feel empowered.
How do you think art should be shared and/or experienced moving forward?
How has your current job adapted to the new virtual landscape? What do you think can be done better, if anything?
We, like everyone else, did a lot of content making to share virtually with our audiences. I think we as curators need to figure out how to escape context collapse with virtual shows. I think with virtual shows there is much more room for passive experiences. I am interested to see how we can push it further and really engage people. It is why I really liked some of the virtual shows that took place in virtual gallery renderings. Context is so important.
What is your go to snack these days? And your go to soundtrack?
Popcorn is my forever go to snack! My go to soundtrack lately has been anything by Bomba Estereo. I love listening to them in the summer.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Fahamu Pecou, Nadia Waheed, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira and Natalia Arbelaez.
Since we have been exploring more exhibitions, galleries and museums online, when you start making plans for your next trip – what will be your first art filled destination? Art destination bucket list?
The Brooklyn Museum has a really cool show up right now called The Slipstream: Reflection, Resilience and Resistance in the Art of Our Time. I also would love to check out Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s current show at the Piero Atchugarry gallery in Miami.
And finally, do you think the art world should be more transparent?
Of course, I think transparency is the only way forward and should be of utmost importance to every art worker. We can start by holding museums accountable for profiting off of and archiving on the behalf of colonialism and we need to abolish the unpaid internship as a whole. When the base salary of our industry starts at $0 it has a clear effect on the rest of the industry, lowering the wages and expectations of compensation as a whole.