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New York, the city that never sleeps, is one of the most exciting and vibrant places in the world. The Statue of Liberty, 5th Avenue, Broadway, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Greenwich Village, the legendary Barneys and Macy’s department stores… it’s a never-ending list of things to see and do.
Coming from Australia, we’ve grown up with it all. Whether we’ve seen movies, TV shows (especially Seinfeld or Sex and the City), or read about it, it all pales into insignificance once you’re there in real life.
Restaurants and bars are everywhere here, but the delis are synonymous with New York and there’s none more famous than Katz’s Delicatessen in East Village. This is where the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed and it’s here that we piled on the kilos recently by devouring a pastrami sandwich so massive it could have fed a family of four and their dog for a week.
We managed to shake some of this enormous sandwich off as we walked the city and visited legendary museums, such as the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern History, and prominent art galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of art and the Museum of Modern Art, where endless masterpieces take your breath away.
But to discover the most hip art district in New York, art aficionados have to visit the Lower East Side, where private art galleries are flourishing. It’s such a competitive market; if you can successfully make it in Manhattan as a local New Yorker gallery proprietor, then you’re a legend.
To make it in New York as an Aussie, you’d have to be a veritable freak of nature, but that’s exactly what Australians Tim Olsen and Emerald Gruin have achieved as the savvy and dynamic proprietors of their newly opened Manhattan art gallery, Olsen Gruin Gallery.
Tim Olsen is the son of one of Australia’s most famous artists, John Olsen, who is an Australian icon and one of the most adored, unique, loved and talented artists living today. John turned 90 on January 21, 2018, and with his beret and cravat permanently attached, combined with his infectious personality and boundless energy, he has most definitely tapped into the fountain of youth.
Having grown up with the scent of oils, watercolours and pastels wafting into Tim’s DNA, art was always going to play a massive role in his life. He showed great potential as an artist in his formative years, but he also possessed an astonishing ability to assess and appraise exceptional artwork from an absurdly young age. From this diminutive stage of his life, he had already developed the passion to be an art dealer.
Emerald Gruin’s path was somewhat different, leaving Australia to pursue a modeling career in Hong Kong, London and Paris, before settling in New York.
Emerald ended up working for five years as a gallery director and independent art curator in New York, before opening her first gallery in the Lower East Side with her husband, Adrian Gruin, who is also the business director of the Olsen Gruin Gallery.
Tim is a renowned and successful gallery owner, art dealer, entrepreneur and philanthropist in Sydney, but was always ambitiously looking to launch a gallery in New York and needed a partner with prior experience in Manhattan. That person was the extremely talented, stylish art curator, Emerald Gruin.
The first Olsen-Gruin alliance in the Big Apple launched in March 2017 in Elizabeth Street, Lower East Side, and was a resounding success. The following few exhibitions were also highly successful and they soon realised that they needed more space, so a much larger gallery was sought and found in one of the most burgeoning art enclaves in New York at 30 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan.
The new Olsen Gruin Gallery opened in June 2017 with an exhibition of abstract paintings by Aboriginal artists, highlighted by a five-metre Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri masterpiece.
The official opening of the Olsen Gruin Gallery took place on October 13, 2017, and the artist who had the honour of representing the gallery for the opening was legendary Aussie photographer and environmentalist Leila Jefferys.
Hip young Instagram followers, together with A-list celebrities such as Brooke Shields, Deborra-lee Furness and renowned music promoter Paul Dainty, along with New York Consul-General Alastair Walton, all enjoyed an impressive opening night.
The Olsen Gruin Gallery has already been incredibly successful and the future looks dazzling, with exciting influential artists from around the world lining up to exhibit.
Tim now represents over 40 prominent artists throughout Australia and the world, and the gallery was listed as one of the top 10 art galleries recently opened in New York City – an extraordinary achievement.
If you’re planning a trip to Manhattan any time soon, it’s definitely worth adding the Olsen Gruin Gallery to your list of sights and experiences that this pulsating, exciting and thriving city has to offer.