Tchotchke Gallery Founders Danielle Dewar and Marlee Katz on Their Partnership With Artnet’s Inaugural Buy Now Exhibition

The digital natives launched an online gallery dedicated to connecting young artists and global collectors.

Elena Redmond, Never alone when I'm always talking to myself, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Tchotchke Gallery.

Like so many great ventures, Tchotchke Gallery began as a simple “what if.” When founders Danielle Dewar and Marlee Katz first met as coworkers at a secondary market-focused white cube gallery in Manhattan, they were yearning for something fresh. “We had joked about starting a gallery together, because we wanted to work with artists that were alive,” Katz explained. “We had a desire to work with people our age and show work that we like, and could maybe even afford ourselves. We never thought it could actually happen.” 

But when the pandemic sent the world inside—and the art world online—Dewar and Katz took the leap, founding Tchotchke, a playful and inviting virtual gallery that pushes against the art world’s often unapproachable aura. For one week only, Artnet is proud to partner with Tchotchke Gallery for our inaugural Buy Now exhibition, In Technicolor, featuring 13 vibrant works by seven up-and-coming artists.

Drew Englander, Goodbye Kiki , 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Tchotchke Gallery.

Artnet’s brand-new Buy Now initiative, headed by Emma Fastenberg, presents collectors with the opportunity to purchase works on demand, at the click of a button. Given Artnet’s long-standing history in the digital space, the decision to partner with Tchotchke, an online gallery with an ethos of inclusivity and accessibility, came naturally.

Tchotchke Gallery gets its name from a Yiddish word denoting a small, inexpensive, decorative trinket. As they were reimagining the gallery concept as a whole, Dewar and Katz wanted their name to reflect warmth and inclusivity: “In sharing similar intrinsic values with one another, we agreed that as representatives of the gallery, we want to be approachable to collectors, artists, everyone,” said Dewar. Katz also noted a desire to redefine the Yiddish word, framing a tchotchke as a collected item rife with value that extends beyond sentimentality.

Marlee Katz and Danielle Dewar. Courtesy of Tchotchke Gallery.

Even as galleries reopen their doors and in-person events abound, Dewar and Katz reflect fondly on the benefits of a virtual gallery, which include the opportunity to work with artists and collectors from around the world. In fact, their biggest collector lives outside of the U.S. “We are able to create relationships with collectors anywhere, and they don’t necessarily have to come into the gallery space,” said Katz. “There are no barriers to entry. You can know a lot about art, or not know a lot about art, but you can connect with us no matter who or where you are. Approachability and inclusivity are extremely important to us.”

The same is true of the artists that Tchotchke Gallery shows. In Technicolor presents works by seven artists from cities across the United States and Israel, including Charlotte, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Tel Aviv. In true millennial fashion, many of Tchotchke’s artists were discovered via Instagram. 

Josiah Ellner, Mr. Krabs and the Shiny Rocks (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Tchotchke Gallery.

Dewar and Katz also pride themselves on educating collectors and artists alike. The duo host Instagram Live conversations with artists, allowing collectors to get to know them on a personal level. Dewar also began sending artists a 35-millimeter disposable camera to document their studio and everyday life. The images are posted on the gallery’s blog, Ta’am (another ode to a Yiddish word, meaning “good taste”). Supporting artists is also a crucial part of Tchotchke’s mission—from those they represent (Josiah Ellner, Elena Redmond, and Rachael Tarravechia) to those they’ve worked with only briefly. Each month Dewar and Katz share a list of grant opportunities with their artists. They also offered them a course in financial literacy, covering topics like investing and paying off art-school loans. 

Rachael Tarravechia, Southern Kitchen (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Tchotchke Gallery.

Someday, the duo hopes to offer more frequent in-person opportunities for their artists, but right now, they are embracing the digital landscape and the ripe opportunity to champion the artists they love. “The art world is evolving, and younger artists are having a much-deserved moment right now,” Dewar said. “We just want to be here for it and help them in any way we can.”

Don’t miss the chance to bring home a tchotchke of your own. Exquisite works by Dustin Brown, Josiah Ellner, Drew Englander, Noa Ironic, Yoora Lee, Elena Redmond, and Rachael Tarravechia are available now at accessible price points—no bidding required.

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