Day in the Life: Follow Art Advisor Anwarii Musa on a Whirlwind New York Day at the ADAA Art Show

The ArtMatic founder brings us along for a day that starts with Zoom client meetings and ends at a mysterious Bushwick warehouse.

Anwarii Musa. Photography by Terrance Purdy Jr., courtesy of Anwarii Musa.
Anwarii Musa. Photography by Terrance Purdy Jr., courtesy of Anwarii Musa.

The New York fall art season is in full swing, ahead of a high-octane week of auctions, man-about-town Anwarii Musa, curator and founder of ArtMatic Advisory spent a very busy day in meetings, at museums, and taking in the best booths at the ADAA Art Show before the fair’s 35th anniversary gala. The show, featuring 78 exhibitors at the august Park Avenue Armory, is on view through Sunday, November 5. Read on for a glimpse at Musa’s daily diary in the city that never sleeps. 

 

7:30 a.m.

During an art fair opening day, I typically wake up early to prepare for client meetings ahead of time. One of the first things I do in preparation is go over my full day schedule with my assistant while enjoying my go-to breakfast, egg avocado toast with green juice and ginger tea with some jazz music playing in the background.

9:30 a.m. 

My first meeting of the day is on Zoom with Queens Museum director Sally Tallant and curator Lauren Haynes to discuss upcoming programs at the museum. Once I finished my meeting, I did a virtual presentation with clients where we went over all the previews ahead of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) Art Show opening.

Musa with Ed Ruscha''s <i>Securing the last letter (Boss)</i> at Sotheby's. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Musa with Ed Ruscha”s Securing the last letter (Boss) at Sotheby’s. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

12:00 p.m. 

After my Zoom calls and client viewing of the ADAA previews, My first stop is to the Met to meet with Hannah Howe, the deputy chief of individual giving, and go over upcoming programming.

After our meeting I was able to walk around and see some of the shows that were on view including Jacolby Satterwhite, who has created hugely ambitious videos that are projected all around on the walls and lunettes of the Great Hall. There is a soundtrack too. There is a whole new energy. It’s only the second commission in this space in The Met’s history. It’s phenomenal to see how the Museum is giving living artists the platform to go big and expand their thinking and practice.

Next I walked over to see Manet/Degas. The highlight of the exhibition was Manet’s Olympia which traveled to the United States for the first time ever for the show.

Installation view of Deborah Roberts's <i>Self-titled</i> at Stephen Friedman's gallery in Tribeca, Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Installation view of Deborah Roberts’s Self-titled at Stephen Friedman’s gallery in Tribeca, Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

3:00 p.m.

My next stop was to Stephen Friedman’s new gallery in Tribeca for a meeting with director Harry Laughland where he gave me a preview of Deborah Roberts‘s new show “What about Us”.

One of my favorite works of Deborah’s in the show is Self-titled, which features a young boy in a B-boy pose. A detail in the work that’s not obvious to see at first glance is in her signature collage, which incorporates a picture of a young Denzel Washington eyes, adding a deeper layer of storytelling to the work.

Anwarii Musa and Derek Parsons with Pablo Picasso's <i>Femme à la montre</i> at Sothbeys. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Anwarii Musa and Derek Parsons with Pablo Picasso’s Femme à la montre at Sotheby’s. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

5:00 p.m.

Afterwards, I was off to Sotheby’s to meet up with Christy Coombs, senior VP of museum and corporate advisory, and Derek Parsons, for a tour of the Emily Fisher Landau collection. One of the first pieces you see as you walk into the exhibition is her Picasso, Femme à la montre, which hasn’t been on the market since 1968. The blues in the painting really pop out when you see it in person.

A few other highlight pieces in the collection that I liked were Jasper Johns’s Flags, Glenn Ligon’s Untitled (I Lost My Voice I Found My Voice), Andy Warhol’s camouflage Self Portrait and Ed Ruscha’s Securing the last letter (Boss)—which was my favorite piece in the whole collection.

Installation view of Tavares Strachan, <i>The Universe with red, yellow and green</i> at ADAA Art Fair with Emily-Jane Kirwan. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Installation view of Tavares Strachan, The Universe with red, yellow and green at ADAA Art Fair with Emily-Jane Kirwan. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

6:30 p.m.

Then it was off to the main event that evening, The ADAA Art Show, to attend the Benefit Preview Gala, where I saw lots of familiar faces, including Alvin Hall, Dee Kerrison, Wendy Lindstorm, Clayton Calvert, Sally Hughes, and Nidaa Ombali… just to name a few of the great people that were in the room during the evening.

Once I walked inside the fair, one of the first booths I was greeted by was an amazing solo presentation by Marian Goodman artist Tavares Strachan. Senior director Emily-Jane Kirwan gave me tour of the booth where she explained Tavares’s new body of work.

Anwarii Musa and Bennett Roberts with Lenz geerk's work at the ADAA Art Fair with , Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Anwarii Musa and Bennett Roberts with Lenz Geerk’s work at the ADAA Art Fair with , Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Another great, knockout booth was by Düsseldorf-based artist Lenz Geerk over at Roberts Projects. Gallery founder Bennet Roberts has a respected eye, and his presentation of Lenz’s work is a testament to that, in my opinion. While I was at his booth he also mentioned up-and-coming abstract artist Reginald Sylvester, who he will be showing at his Los Angels gallery for the first time this month.

I then stumbled upon an eye-catching booth by Yossi Milo artist Natalie Mayart, who I first met during a recent visit to the Yale MFA thesis show this past summer. The works are heavily layered in black.

Anwarii Musa, Nidaa Ombali and Matthew Degan with artist Natalie Mayart's <i>Hope is a waking dream</i> and <i>Shikeith</i> at ADAA Art Fair. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

Anwarii Musa, Nidaa Ombali and Matthew Degan with artist Natalie Mayart’s Hope is a waking dream and Shikeith at ADAA Art Fair. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

8:30 p.m.

After an overload of champagne and hors d’oeuvres at the ADAA Gala, I was invited by Kevin McIntosh Jr. to the exclusive Habibi members dinner experience. The Habibi members club led me on a tour of everything that the mysterious Bushwick warehouse had to offer including spa amenities, a gym, restaurant, yoga room, and lounge that will open soon.

After catching up with Kevin and some friends, we were led into a dimly lit private dining room with tables decorated with fresh grapes and other decadent garnishes. The room was surrounded by palm trees in anticipation of an enjoyable Mediterranean dinner. After a few courses, I said my goodbyes in a room scented with Moroccan mint tea and a variety of plain and chocolate baklava.

The dinner table at Habibi. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

The dinner table at Habibi. Courtesy of Jayden Bempong.

11 p.m. 

My night ended with friends at one of my favorite spots in the city: The Nines’s. The lounge has an old school 1950’s feel. Great conversation, spicy margaritas, and live music was the perfect way to end a very busy day full of art.


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