Photos by Halina Weker
Larchmont resident and art consultant Brooke Molinaroli is curating fresh, new takes on how the public can enjoy art, and she’s staging it in her own backyard.
Brooke Molinaroli has spent years mingling with the art world. Now, the Larchmont resident is taking her passion for art to an even more personal level, using her own space as an exhibit venue. Molinaroli, who is the founder and principal of BAM Art, a contemporary-art advisory business, is holding seasonal exhibitions in the backyard of her home, just steps from Long Island Sound.
We caught up with Molinaroli recently to learn more about her and her outside-the-(white)-box thinking.
When did you know that you wanted to transform your passion for art into a career?
I’ve been sort of in and out of the art world for many years. After college, I started working in galleries and worked for design firms and photographers. But in the period after that, I worked in digital and brand marketing in the UK and New York. Around 2012 and 2013, I started working for the Dallas Museum of Art. When I moved to Larchmont, I thought to myself: What am I going to do now? I knew I had strong opinions about the good, and the bad, of the art world. Being in and around the industry for a while, I decided that I wanted to have my own business, but I wanted to have what they would call an advisory or consultancy, which is where I help people buy art for their homes or businesses.
Once I started working with clients, I realized that having art on hand and being able to show it on a wall, and thus in a home, sparked an idea I’d always had. I could have a pop-up space somewhere in Larchmont, or in Westchester, or even in New York. People found it less intimidating. Doing these pop-ups, where I would show not an exclusive list of artists I work with but rather some of the artists I might be able to offer to people, proved to be a good way to start conversations and show people what I could offer.
What moved you to start an exhibit in your backyard?
I became friendly with an architect named Stephen Moser, who lives here in Larchmont and has an architecture studio called Stephen Moser Architect. I would talk to him about the idea of showing art in different ways even before we were forced to do so because of the pandemic. Stephen’s genius really shone through in bringing my crazy ideas to life. I started the business officially in 2018, after testing it out around 2017, and it eventually became known as “Art in the Yard.” I tend to do the shows twice a year, one in the winter and one in the spring, and that became the cadence. As with every COVID wave, there was a new set of challenges: “Oh, wait, we can’t have an opening day; they have to wear masks; wait, oh, maybe we can have 10 people.”
I wanted to create a space that wasn’t just a white-box gallery — not that there’s anything wrong with that, because ultimately it’s about the art. But I thought: Wouldn’t it be great to present art in a home? COVID spurred the environment for this. Being outside became so critical during this period, and it was a way to get back to interacting face-to-face while allowing people to feel comfortable and safe. I wanted to find a way to relieve the feelings of being cooped up and celebrating together after our vaccinations, and standing in a yard together, with a drink in hand, appreciating art, seemed perfect to me.
What do you think about the recent movement toward digital art (NFTs)?
One of the artists in the show is named Zarebinski. He has many collections of NFTs, but he makes physical art, as well. I think there’s room for everyone, and I think it is a trend that will continue. Is it going to skyrocket up and then come down a bit? Probably, but that’s like a lot of new things. I like the idea of participating in and understanding it. It’s important to note that there is some art that lends itself more naturally to a digital environment, like art that moves versus static art. We’re going to put a scrim around the wraparound porch during our next show, to project several of his NFTs. It’s an interesting way to introduce people to new concepts.