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Gentile takes art under her Contemporary Wing

October 27, 2011

It wasn’t until 2009 when she brought Manifest Hope to Georgetown that I saw Lauren Gentile in action for the first time.  Shepard Fairey with his iconic ‘HOPE’ poster, the exhibition of 250 artists inspired by the Obama Inauguration, and a sold out show at 3333 M Street. Classic Gentile.

“Outside of Washington we’re known for galleries and museums. No one has ever taken advantage of the synergy between the two.” Over lunch at Puro Café, Gentile talks about her latest project. ”I want to make D.C. the go-to place for contemporary art nationally and internationally.”

On temporary loan to the American Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Jiha Moon, Red Thornbird, 2007, Ink & acrylic on hanji paper, 10 x 10 in. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) On temporary loan to the American Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Jiha Moon, Red Thornbird, 2007, Ink & acrylic on hanji paper, 10 x 10 in.

After considering a move to New York, Gentile decided to stay here and start her own gallery.

Founded to advance the work of emerging artists who will be defining American art in the next decade, Contemporary Wing opens November 3, 2011 with a soft launch of commissioned work in the space formerly occupied by Irvine Contemporary, which closed in August.

Why now? “A lot has changed in the art world since 2008, with the collapse of the financial markets. There’s a big fusion … of dealers, artists, educators, artsy events, and government, all these different platforms intersecting.”

Wherever business and art converge, Gentile is there. For six years as director of Irvine Contemporary under Martin Irvine, she placed exhibition art into private and corporate collections, curated major exhibitions, and, as a certified appraiser of fine and decorative arts and expert in the economics of the international art market, advised clients on their investments.

Lauren Gentile at Manifest Hope exhibition during Inauguration in Georgetown, Jan, 2009. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) Lauren Gentile at Manifest Hope exhibition during Inauguration in Georgetown, Jan, 2009.

She started collecting early. “I had a stamp collection as a kid.” Laughing, Gentile  also recalled unionizing her babysitter club. An Ohio native, at eight Gentile started her own newspaper called 'Brighton Road Press', sending her dad to Kinko’s, and charging customers a nickel a copy.

But it was Chicago dealer Floyd Bucheit, who opened art doors for the 21 year-old Gentile, introducing her to classical music and sushi, while she catalogued his world-class collection of Biedermeier furniture.

She studied art history, Italian, and German at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the University of Florence and the Goethe Institute. With an M.A. in art business from Sotheby’s Institute in London and B.A. degrees in art history and international studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Gentile was on to the private sector working with art hedge funds, auction houses and galleries.

“I’m the kind of dealer who knows how to get a great piece of work, one that fits perfectly with my client’s collection. I just put them in front of it.”

As her client base expands globally, Gentile's vision is simple. “I want to monetize creativity.”  Me too.

Barnaby Whitfield, The Prestige, 2007. Pastel on paper. 28.5 x 36 in. (Photo by: Courtesy of Lauren Gentile, Washington, D.C.) Barnaby Whitfield, The Prestige, 2007. Pastel on paper. 28.5 x 36 in.

Contemporary Wing’s first major exhibition, NEXT GENERATION, is planned for February 2012. Timed to complement the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s exhibition of the Rubell Family Collection, Contemporary Wing invited each artist represented in 30 Americans (31 contemporary African American artists of the last three decades) to identify one or two American artists working today who are "up and comers" of the next generation. 

Contemporary Wing is located at 1412 14th Street NW. Tel: 202.730.5037


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A jazzy Sunday afternoon at the Bravermans

October 25, 2011

Cole Porter beckons. It’s noted Washington pianist Sheila Davis playing classic jazz melodies on that stunning ivory piano in the Braverman living room. As the 40 guests stream in, passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from 42 Degrees Catering create the perfect recipe for an autumn afternoon.

Bonni, Tom Murphy, Chichie, Sheila Davis, Mercedes Menocal Gregoire, Jon and Donna Gerstenfeld (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bonni, Tom Murphy, Chichie, Sheila Davis, Mercedes Menocal Gregoire, Jon and Donna Gerstenfeld

Manhattan decorator turned Georgetowner, Bonni Braverman has brought her classic contemporary design firm to the East Village. The flat she shares with husband Leonard and toy poodle Milli, is in an historic 1920’s restored car garage. Flooded with sunlight and 12 foot ceilings, the space offers expansive views of Rose Park.  With Bonni’s signature touches of modern sculpture and bold paintings set against a neutral palette, she has created a vibrant and cozy setting, perfect for an afternoon of jazz and conversation.

Chichie, Bonni and Eleta (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Chichie, Bonni and Eleta

A chance to catch up with old friends and check out Bonni’s latest D.C. projects, friends have flown in from New York to celebrate. Manhattan broker, Mercedes Menocal Gregoire hadn’t seen the Nigel Conway, Bonni’s latest acquisition from this Santa Fe artist.  

Leonard Braverman, Elena and James Hill and Bonni (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Leonard Braverman, Elena and James Hill and Bonni

Elena and James Hill mingle with old friends and Georgetown neighbors, including Perry Bird and Richard Martin, Christine and Colin Linsley.

Richard Martin, Christine and Colin Linsley (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Richard Martin, Christine and Colin Linsley

Perry Bird, Bonni and Leonard, Mercedes Menocal Gregoire and Richard Martin (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Perry Bird, Bonni and Leonard, Mercedes Menocal Gregoire and Richard Martin

Jeff White and Leonard Braverman (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jeff White and Leonard Braverman

Allan Fox samples appetizers with Leonard of 42 Degrees (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Allan Fox samples appetizers with Leonard of 42 Degrees

Groomer extraordinaire Chichie and her daughter Aleta, share family tales, canine included, with Braverman cousins Harriette and Allan Fox.

Allan and Harriette Fox with Treena and Jeff White (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Allan and Harriette Fox with Treena and Jeff White

Spotted at the party were Washington Fine Properties’ Terrell McDermid and husband John, The Georgetown Dish publisher, Beth Solomon, along with writer Kate Blackwell and Felix Jakob.

Kate Blackwell and Felix Jakob (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Kate Blackwell and Felix Jakob

Stephanie and Robert Abraham with the hosts (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Stephanie and Robert Abraham with the hosts

Bonni and Milli after the party (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bonni and Milli after the party

About Bonni Braverman Interiors:

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

After training with Josef Pricci, the iconic Manhatten decorator who began his career as a jewelry designer to Cartier and Van Cleef, was best known for his classic rooms filled with  English antiques, blue-and-white-porcelain and overstuffed needlepoint pillows.

Striking out on her own in 1998, Braverman, with a keen eye for curated accessories, her access to fabulous fabrics and the finest furnishings, was a favorite choice for chic Manhattenites looking to renovate a brownstone or update a pied-à-terre.

Now with offices in Washington, D.C. as well as New York, Bonni is uniquely poised to tackle a downtown loft or a Georgian townhouse renovation.


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Designing Washington: Georgetown reception to celebrate National Building Museum exhibition

October 23, 2011

What better place to preview an exhibit of unbuilt design projects for the nation’s capital than at the exquisitely built Georgetown residence of Dr. Tina Alster and The Honorable Paul Frazer. Originally owned by American author, Herman Wouk, the home has been completely redone by Jacobsen Architecture.

Dr. Tina Alster and The Honorable Paul Frazer (Simon Jacobsen at left) (Photo by: Stacy Adamson) Dr. Tina Alster and The Honorable Paul Frazer (Simon Jacobsen at left)

Dr. Alster and Paul Frazer welcomed architects, designers and friends October 19 for an evening of cocktails in support of Unbuilt Washington, the National Building Museum’s new exhibition of remarkable architectural and urban design projects for Washington, D.C. that were proposed, but for a variety of reasons, never built.

Tommy Wells and Jeff Potter (Photo by: Stacy Adamson) Tommy Wells and Jeff Potter

Cherished architectural landmarks, indelibly etched in our brains now. Imagine if this were the U.S. Capitol?

1792 plans for the U.S. Capitol (Photo by: Maryland Historical Society) 1792 plans for the U.S. Capitol

Unbuilt Washington at the National Building Museum opens November 19, 2011 and runs through May 28, 2012.


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