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INTERVIEW

CRISTINA SALMASTRELLI

PULSE ART FAIR DIRECTOR

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You joined the company in 2011 and have been deeply involved in all things PULSE since. Tell us about your journey in the arts and how you came to work with the fair?

After completing my master’s degree at NYU, I began work in the art fair management field and have never thought about transitioning out of it since. The buzz of activity is still as attractive and enticing to me over a decade later and, shockingly, this feeling hasn’t waned. PULSE 2019 will be the 65th fair I have been involved with.

Looking back, I now credit PULSE with taking my career to an international level when I joined the team back in 2011, so my appreciation for this fair runs deep. I have worked on the PULSE brand for over half of its lifespan, which gives me a strong foundation for the direction I will take it on for the next 15. It is never just professional with me; this fair is interwoven into my personal life. I hope to honor it this year and honor all that create this magical entity.

Can you tell us a bit about the decision-making process involved in choosing the types of artists and galleries to exhibit and themes to explore at PULSE?

PULSE has always prided itself on presenting a rich variety of art being made currently. I am looking for galleries that will enhance the diversity of art for this very special 15th anniversary edition. From our exhibitor list, we pull out trends and commonalities that will then help form our on-site programming annually.

Our gallery selection is rigorous, to say the least. For those galleries who know me and have worked with me, they know how diligent I am about my fair’s curation. I want work that speaks to each individual while still remaining a strong survey of current trends in the art market and representative of contemporary art that could both stand the test of time in a museum collection or in a collector’s living room, but I have to see that in the artists they present to me.

PULSE is a boutique fair so we have to be smart about the artists we select and each booth has to somehow weave together to tell a story about our current industry in a setting that is so set apart from how you can explore art anywhere else in the world. You are on a beach. In a unique setting, the walls may not be white in this gallery, and so we take this into serious consideration so that the visitor does not have to take things so seriously, and can truly visualize this work in their collection.

This year, we are very excited to focus on the many different types of art that are being produced from the multitude of Latin American countries. We will explore the similarities and differences between them all during our dual language onsite programming. PULSE Perspectivos, will host daily conversations, with artists represented at our fair, discussing current topics surrounding this theme. Please join us Friday through Sunday. You can come to the conversation in Spanish or English or both!

 What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“They may not remember the words you say, but they will always remember how your words make them feel.”

Jana Romanova, ‘Waiting’, 2009-2015

Jana Romanova, ‘Waiting’, 2009-2015

Do you have a most exciting memory from the fair’s past?

This might be more sentimental, but it was certainly exciting when I purchased an artwork at PULSE called Waiting by Jana Romanova from the Meislin Projects (previously Andrea Meislin Gallery). It is photographs of couples during different weeks of pregnancy. Her work was so intimate and soft and full of joy, I just fell in love with it. Its still in my bedroom and loved looking at it when I was pregnant myself!

What’s your favorite part about working or attending art fairs?

The intersection of people, cultures, professions and ages. The art fair is a cross section of so many parties of our society. Its rich in knowledge, and that is even before you look at any of the art!

Who and/or what are you currently interested in, art-related or otherwise? 

I am interested in the stories that begin after someone buys an artwork. There is an entire storyline that I want to know more about. We don’t often get to hear the next chapters in the artwork’s life, so please, if you purchase an artwork at PULSE, share with me how it has inspired you since!

Where is your favorite place to relax and find peace of mind?

I need a body of water made by mother nature to find my peace of mind. The ocean and/or lakes have an energy to them that revitalizes me. I feel more content whenever I am looking at one or diving into another.


Don't miss out on your chance to apply to be a part of PULSE!

Exhibitors are eligible to participate in PULSE Prize, Projects and Play by applying either with a solo artist or a survey.

Deadline to apply: June 30th.