Women We Love:
Gisela Gueiros

Friends & Family

Mar 8th, 2018

Photography by Jessica Antola

In anticipation of the art opening at Bird Williamsburg, Bird Boss Jen Mankins sat down with the curator, Gisela Gueiros, to discuss São Paulo, holding exhibitions in her living room, and how Instagram has helped her open up opportunities. 

Bird Brooklyn: You have been living in NYC for a little over a decade. What brought you here and how do you find the energy of NYC life compared to your home of São Paulo? 
Gisela Gueiros: I came to do a masters degree in art history. I love both NY and São Paulo so much. They are both full of energy 24/7 with people who came from all over. The thing I love most about NY — and different from São Paulo — is that it is extremely walkable. And then there’s always an amazing new art show to see. Even if you go to a different show/gallery/museum every day you could never keep up with the city's agenda. 

BB: You earned a Masters degree from Sotheby's Institute of Art, what were the first steps in your career after that? Did you always know you wanted to work with art and artists?
GG: I graduated in October 2008, right when the recession hit. I managed to do some cool internships at David Zwirner and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection, but no one was hiring at that time. So that's when I started working independently — organizing and curating exhibitions, and offering guided art tours.

As much as I've always loved art, my career path was not very straight forward. I studied both Communications and Fine Arts in college, and also moved to Amsterdam for a while to study contemporary dance. Back in Brazil I worked in galleries and as a journalist. The nice thing about diverse experiences is that I feel like I use all that I've learned. Even as I am guiding tours I remember some lessons learned as a dancer.  

BB: I have still yet to go on one of your famous art tours, but how and when did they get started and how have they evolved over the years? And how can we sign up!?
GG: I started doing them as a treat to friends and family who visited from Brazil, until a dear friend of mine told me: this should be a business, please start charging! I've been doing them since 2010 — they are usually 2 hours long and we visit 6-7 exhibitions in Chelsea (I also do private tours to some museums, but they’re a little stricter about showing up with a big group!). I do a ton of research for each tour, and then take my iPad with me and share references and stories about every artist/show we see. I try to keep it both informative and fun, to make the art accessible, but also leave people with a sense of having really learned something. Art has meant so much to me, really I just hope to share my enthusiasm for all the incredible work out there!

You can definitely sign up! To book a tour, you can DM me on Instagram @giselagueiros or email me at giselagueiros@gmail.com.


BB: I love that you champion alternative spaces as a great way to present and view art. How did that get started? What have been some of your favorite spaces and exhibitions?
GG: I started doing it in my living room! An artist friend of mine (who I'd gone to art school with) was visiting NY in a residency. He had created tons of work and was about to go back to Brazil. So I decided to invite some friends over to see what he had made. I wrote a text about his work and we set the show in my dining room. 

Since then, I've done it in friends' homes, at the “innovation” office for a Brazilian cosmetics brand, a residency program, and also rented proper gallery space. Normally the shows are “pop-ups”, one night only. So this Bird show is a thrill—people can come back again and again! It’s hard to pick a favorite for me, but I love doing group shows because I get to juggle all the different personalities and artworks.

BB: How do you discover the emerging artists that you work with? 
GG: I am always alert! Artists will introduce me to other artists, the Brazilian consulate will let me know when artists arrive in town for residencies, and I've even met great artists through Instagram. Most of the artists I work with become good friends and we end up doing more than one show together. 

BB: You also are the NYC correspondent for GQ and Vogue Brazil. I think it's very cool that you work (and thrive!) at this intersection of independent art and fashion. How did that get started and what's your favorite thing to write about?
GG: Sometimes when people ask what I do (a typical New York question!), I think of responding that I'm a juggler! When I arrived in NYC I continued to work as a journalist and after 14 years working for a magazine that’s sort of the Vanity Fair equivalent in Brazil, I switched to GQ and Vogue a few years ago. Since moving to NYC, my “beat” has always been the culture scene here. There’s never a dull moment — and it is a pleasure to capture it. 

BB: Speaking of fashion, what are some of your favorite designers and brands and what draws you to them? 
GG: I am a sucker for all things Isabel Marant — her shapes are incredible, everything fits perfectly and she always seems to be creating exactly what I am hoping to wear! I still wear stuff I bought there years ago, and they still feel right. I like to imagine we’re like close friends by now!

I've been very impressed by Mara Hoffman too -– that colorful coat is a dream. I love Rachel Comey and have been wearing one of her jeans daily for a while now. I am obsessed with clothes and really value comfort. For shoes, I love Loeffler Randall. They are fun and elegant at the same time.

I try to always put on an outfit that will look great all day long — from dropping kids off in school to a party at night. I think these designers I love somehow hit that versatile sweet spot. 

BB: You live right around the corner from our Cobble Hill shop, how long have you lived in Brooklyn and what are some of your things about the neighborhood? 
GG: I've been in Brooklyn since 2008, but moved around different neighborhoods pretty often. From Greenpoint to Williamsburg to Crown Heights and now Carroll Gardens. So the list of favorite spots gets longer and longer! A few top favorites: Cobble Hill Park for a romantic walk; Books Are Magic for rainy days; French Louie for a dinner with friends; BAM for concerts; Nitehawk or Alamo for movies+dinner; Maglia Rosa or Smith Canteen for coffee; and last but not least, Prospect Park for tree watching! Coming from Brazil, I can’t get enough greenery. But the longer I live here, the more I love it!