Christine Messineo of Bortolami in Chelsea

At first, Christine Messineo seemed to be destined for other endeavors and not the art world. But when she got there, she blossomed. She is now the artist liaison and director at highly esteemed Bortolomi Gallery in Chelsea. During her youth, dancing was Messineo’s original passion. She said that she committed herself to ballet from 6 to 16. She also told us that the dance was about the body and that it needed her to be focused. She still loves to dance but her body gave out.

At present, Messineo is busy with an exhibition she organized as independent curator. The exhibition gives focus on the features of the body but in a whole new level. Recently, Haptic Translations showcases pieces focusing on the body using doubling, vision and reflection. It’s a group show presenting 11 international artists in a wide range different media at OH WOW located at Los Angeles.


A singer-turned artist named Michael Stipe created molds from negative spaces under some chairs found in his place to make pieces named Cast of the Space Under My Cheap Plastic Chair I and II. This is a pair of semi-abstract sculptures. Hugging into his chest to crumple a big sheet of blue crumpled paper was Belgian artist Michael François. He tried to metaphorically show the image of the sky with his body in Blur Ciel (Blue Sky). Their pieces are truly spectacular.

According to Messineo, the show is definitely centered on the materials. She added that it is about understanding how material shifts and how they are used. It’s not just about plain painting on canvass. It takes effort to create simple designs that become engaging and intriguing. She also added that she thinks there’s something vulnerable about some works of arts as well.


Another piece came from Marlie Mul. This Dutch artist caste puddles from the street in resin, flipping the end and finally giving a view of mysterious mounds. Letha Wilson, a photographer based in Brooklyn showcased C-prints embedded in concrete, making hybrid wall sculptures which look like mishaps found in construction sites. Another Brooklyn-based artist Van Hanos showed isolated moths, eyes and noses in his painting entitled Seeing all of you.

Messineo’s father was a cardiologist and her mother worked in PR. She was born in West Hertford, Connecticut and studied at Miss Porter’s School, a dorm and boarding school for girls in Farmington. It was in this place where she found interest in photography and the reason why she pursued the field as undergraduate at Syracuse University in New York.

After graduation, Messineo went to New York City and interned at Artists Space. While doing so, she also worked simultaneously with Donna Karan. She also assisted and helped curator Lauri Firstenberg at Artists Space. The latter went on to focus on the vital non-profit called LAXART. While working at Donna Karan, Messineo started as a sales assistant and involved herself in finding art dedicated for the home collection stores. Later on, she segued as a stylist and worked as freelancer for Levi’s, H&M, The New Times Magazines, Details, V and a number of other fashion publications.


Three years after working in the new gallery, Messineo realised there was more to explore and that she wanted to grow. When she heard news that Stefania Bortolomi was looking for an art director, Fritz introduced her. At present, she is still with Bortolomi’s stable and group of international artists. It is also home to Jonathan Meese-a provocative bad-boy artist, French conceptuialist Daniel Burren and Anna Ostoya-a famous Polish collage artist who will be presented this Fall in New Photography 2013 event at MoMA.


Since last year, Messineo has been very busy organizing independent exhibitions. She co-curated and held Merci Mercy with the help of private dealer Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, a group show focused on art and language. It mixed 36 emerging artists including Tom Sachs, Tracey Emin, Lucian Smith and Louise Bourgeois.

OHWOW – her debut exhibition – focuses on her interests exclusively. At the moment, this energetic curator is also working on committees at BAM and Whitney Museum. She’s also a contributor at Dossier Manual. Though it’s not her first passion, Messineo is truly following her creative dreams. Messino is on the rise and nothing can stop her.

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