|Name Frank Bernarducci|
|Books Gallery Girls: Gallery Girls New York, The New York Project: Cityscapes Artists|
Frank Bernarducci (born September 23, 1959) is a New York City art dealer and curator. He is currently the partner/director of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery located at 37 West 57 Street in New York, NY. Bernarducci began exhibiting Graffiti art in the 1980s in the East Village while director of Frank Bernarducci Gallery. Bernarducci continues to curate exhibitions featuring emerging and seasoned artists. His Gallery is well known for exhibiting realist and Photorealist art.
Education and early career
Bernarducci attended School of Visual Arts from 1979 to 1982 and received his bachelor's degree in the Media Arts, specifically graphic design and advertising; working as an advertising art director while still at school. While at SVA, Bernarducci minored in film. He was living in a loft on east 17th street off Union Square, a half block from Andy Warhol’s factory. In 1979 Mr. Bernarducci serendipitously met Mr. Warhol who agreed to a cameo appearance in his first student film. Needless to say, this caused a sensation when screened at the school’s amphitheater. While still in college in the early 80s, Mr. Bernarducci was a frequent denizen at art openings in the east village as well as at downtown nightclubs, most notably, Mudd Club, Pyramid, Kamikaze, Area and Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager’s, Palladium. He and good friend Mark Moskin curated painting exhibitions at some of these late night venues.
Bernarducci’s art career was largely influenced by his father, Frank, Sr. who was a painter and a student of the Hans Hofmann School of Art. Frank Sr. was also a founding member of the Phoenix Gallery, established in 1958 among the 10th street co-op scene at the height of the abstract expressionist movement known as The New York School.
In 1984 Bernarducci held the first art exhibition in his loft, curated by Steven Kaplan and featuring a dozen east village painters including David Wojnarowicz. Encouraged by the success of this exhibition, Bernarducci followed in his father's footsteps, opening the Frank Bernarducci Gallery. In subsequent exhibitions, other notable artists’ works that could be seen on view included Ronnie Cutrone, Keith Haring, Daze and Martin Wong.
Frank Bernarducci Gallery went on to hold regular hours and monthly exhibitions including “Urban Abstraction” the first gallery exhibition exclusively dedicated to the abstract work-on-canvas of pre-eminent graffiti artists. The artists AJ, Bama, Bando, Cas, Duster, Ero, John 156, Rick Prol, Rammellzee, Koor, Prins, Spank, Seen, Stan, TB, Toxic and Vulcan – were all masters of the aerosol paint can. They abstractly employed the visual themes of their graffiti art to explore new ground. At the opening, graffiti artists from across New York mixed with East Village artists and other guests. Frank recalled his studio visit to Rammellzee’s big, empty TriBeCa loft where the artist had laid his paintings flat on the floor all the way around the room. The only other things in the loft were a low wooden table with three chairs, and a bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting on the table. Throughout the visit Ram sipped deliberately from the bottle of Tabasco. The ‘afterparty’ was a free-for-all at the nightclub, Inferno. 1n 1986, Frank curated an exhibition entitled, Photo-synthesis which featured painters whose work incorporated photography in some way. The highlight of the show were four, 2-foot dollar sign paintings by Andy Warhol. The first weekend after the opening, a call came from Leo Castelli Gallery. Andy Warhol was dead. Unless already sold, they asked that the paintings be returned immediately after the show’s closing. Retail price of these works at that time - $6,500.
With the success of Gallery artist Stephen Hannock and others, Bernarducci was able to move the Gallery to the trendy 560 Broadway building in Soho. The inaugural exhibition featured the hand-painted photographs of photographer Ariadne Getty, the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty. Many of her celebrity friends attended the opening including Bianca Jagger, Michael J. Fox and Brooke Shields. Fox’s agent refused to allow his picture to be taken next to Shields because she stood over a foot taller so he hung out in the back room opening beer bottles for everyone on the edge of the file cabinet.
Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
As of September 2000, Frank Bernarducci partnered with Louis K. Meisel and opened Bernarducci Meisel Gallery on the sixth floor of 37 West 57 Street in New York. The Gallery's mission is to exhibit the foremost contemporary Realist artists. Bernarducci has curated many notable exhibitions at the Gallery including 2008's Painted Faces: Post Modern Portraits that included many fine realist artists such as Paul Caranicas, Hubert de Lartigue, Mel Ramos, Bernardo Torrens, Chuck Close, Antonio Lopez, Alberto Vargas, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman, and many more. The New York Project (2011) included paintings by artists such as Richard Estes, Ron Kleemann, and Raphaella Spence. In addition, Bernarducci has curated an exhibition of artists belonging to the Sicilian group, Il Gruppo di Scicli in 2012. This was the first time the group has exhibited in the United States.
Under Bernarducci's guidance, in 2010, the Gallery moved to the third floor of the same building, expanding to twice its size. Upon its relocation, the Gallery became the first LEED Certified Art Gallery in New York City. The Gallery continues to exhibit Realist artists and recently initiated a BMG First Look program that showcases artists new to New York City, working in all media and styles. As Director, Frank Bernarducci is always looking for the next new artist, attending art fairs regularly.
Film and TV
In 1987, Steven Spielberg and director Matthew Robbins selected the Frank Bernarducci Gallery artist Joe Davis for their film, Batteries Not Included. Spielberg chose Joe Davis's paintings to represent the East Village art scene of which Bernarducci was a well-known figure. The story line paralleled the real-life story of the artist who was being evicted from his studio to make way for development.
In 2012, Bernarducci appeared as himself in two episodes of Bravo TV's reality series entitled Gallery Girls, a show about seven young women starting out in the New York art world. Both episodes were filmed on location at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in Manhattan.
Bernarducci has an extensive art collection that includes all of his Gallery artists including Roberto Bernardi, Raphaella Spence, Jock Sturges, Bernardo Torrens, and many other well known realist painters such as Richard Estes. His collection also includes works by Franz Kline, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.