AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA ARZA
PHOTOS BY BRETT KINCAID
Bryant Toth is an art collector and gallerist based in New York City. His gallery and pop-up art shows center on shedding a much-needed light onto Cuban contemporary art. Since his first trip to Havana back in 2008, he has become a leading figure in bringing Cuban artists into the international arena, motivated by his fascination with Cuban culture, the paradox of the nation’s isolation, and its artists’ reflections of its ever-evolving self-identity.
CHRISTINA ARZA Can you describe BT one of your first trips to Cuba?
BRYANT TOTH First and foremost, I am passionate about people and cultures. As an avid traveler, it has always been important for me to see the true colors and emotions for each destination. I was introduced to Havana back in 2008 by my hospitality mentor, Sam DuVall— restaurateur, art enthusiast and genuine connoisseur of the world. The first moment I disembarked on Cuban soil, I quickly identified a real, thriving and addictive creative culture. Everything was honest from the art, music, culture, and community - Bryant Toth Fine Art was created from an appreciation of Cuba, its culture and creative talents. It provides a platform to celebrate, promote, and exhibit the powerful story of Cuba’s artistic community.
CA You solely represent Cuban artists. Why?
BT While there are many famous Cuban and Cuban American artists, there are many remarkable artist’s unknown to the rest of the world. e drastic isolation of Cuba has fueled this intense creative self-identity and something truly Cuban. But, the past social unrest has limited their exposure to markets around the world. I took it upon myself to focus on these underrepresented artists, offering them an opportunity to promote and tell their own stories. Initially focusing solely on Cuban artists while also focusing on areas of growth, education and cultural exchange.
CA I admire your love for the culture, people and artists of Cuba. It takes patience & appreciation to represent artists. What has been most rewarding in this journey as of yet?
BT Thee most rewarding part of this journey has been closely working with these artists—both in terms of representation but also the powerful relationships, which have developed. rough, exchanging knowledge and guidance, this journey has been rewarding every step of the way. While exposing Hector Frank’s work to new markets is the goal, inviting him to celebrate his work in person has truly been powerful.
CA What has been an obstacle in your pursuit?
BT While there are many obstacles in any pursuit, the main obstacle with working with Cuba are basic logistics. e limitation of resources such as materials, internet, cell, and transportation have proved di cult but not one we haven’t been able to solve through countless trip of personal interaction and hand carrying materials, supplies and paintings to and from Cuba.
CA Talk about your pop-up events—versus a traditional gallery space.
BT As I have previously stated - I am not only committed to introducing under-represented Cuban artists to new markets, but also to challenge the gallery-based model that currently dominates the art world. rough experience focused exhibitions and collaborations, my goal is to create emotional connections through each of my shows—First and foremost around the art, but accompanied by music, design, aesthetic, and community.
Pop-up exhibitions allow me to create a unique experience each time as well as target a vast array of different markets. While New York is a primary focus, the concept allows us to exhibit work in many cities around the world— projective markets are: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Aspen, Mexico City, Berlin, and Shanghai.
CA Where do you see Bryant Toth Fine Art in 10 years?
BT I’d love to continue hosting exhibitions in sophisticated and diverse cities around the world, while always focusing on positive change in Cuba. e opportunity to have these artists present during each exhibition and collaborating with different markets and cultures is a main focus. Every year is dynamic and I truly look forward to the future.