Gallerist Anat Ebgi Is Taking On Tribeca

Ebgi is making bold moves in a curious time for the art market.

On January 19, Los Angeles dealer Anat Ebgi will open her third space—her first outside her own city, right here in New York. Like most new galleries in the city, she’ll be opening in Tribeca, introducing Gotham to her roster via a group show featuring all the gallery’s artists, from Jordan Nassar to Faith Wilding.

A woman in a blue shirt and black pants stands with crossed arms in front of a painting
Anat Ebgi. Matthew Kroening

Ebgi is making bold moves in a curious time for the market, and her 5,000 square feet on Broadway is actually bigger than any of her California locations. We caught up with her to hear about her new space and her strategy.

These days it’s more typical for New York galleries to open Los Angeles outposts. What made you want to reverse the order?

I don’t think on those terms. I’ve been on a path from the beginning with my artists, always keeping in mind how I can offer them new and interesting opportunities for visibility. I feel the New York gallery is part of making that possible.

You chose Tribeca as the location for your gallery. Why that neighborhood over any of the others where one finds galleries in New York?

It’s amazing how quickly Tribeca is becoming another hub for the New York art scene. The search was really focused on thinking about what kind of space would be good for our artists. Being a gallery out of L.A., I wanted to make sure we are where the action is

What are the main differences you’ve noticed about the New York and Los Angeles art scenes?

The obvious difference is that in Los Angeles you arrive on wheels, in New York on foot. The people you meet in New York are always coming and going from other places in the world—you’ll cross paths with someone in town from London or Stockholm or wherever. In Los Angeles, the scene can be a little more intimate and insular.

A woman in a blue shirt and black pants stands with crossed arms in front of a painting
Anat Ebgi. Matthew Kroening

Last year you wrote that Los Angeles’s tight-knit art community “creates an environment where people are willing to be more provocative.” Do you think Los Angeles artists are more provocative in general?

What artists in L.A. benefit from is something concrete: larger spaces (with windows!) that are, on the whole, more affordable than those in New York. For painters in particular, this is important—a reliable kind of light that shapes how and what they paint and see. Folks from outside L.A. tend to think everything here is brand new and that the city has no art history, but that’s not the case. Like New York, the West Coast has had a profound impact on contemporary art; the relationship is mutually influential. Does that make L.A. artists more provocative? I can say there’s a freedom artists feel here to be experimental—to forge individual paths.

Your first show is a survey of your gallery’s artists. What do you look for in an artist you’re thinking of representing?

It’s all about mutual trust. We have to be fearless together so it’s important to have a shared openness and curiosity. Beyond powerful artwork, I’m looking for artists whose connection is emotional, intellectual and spiritual. And the confidence to know I can sell it.

This year marked your first foray into the main gallery sector of Art Basel Miami Beach. How was your Miami?

Our very first year at the fair we had an installation of videos and lightboxes by Jibade-Khalil Huffman in Positions. The following year a selection of historic work by Faith Wilding in Survey. In the years following we brought Jordan Nassar and Cosmo Whyte to the Nova sector and restaged a massive historic performance by Tina Girouard to Meridians. We were excited to finally bring it all together this year in the main Galleries sector. It felt really good to have another successful presentation and this time to show the depth of our program artists.

Gallerist Anat Ebgi Is Taking On Tribeca