Gallery Interview
A conversation with David Totah
Gallery Interview
A conversation with David Totah
TOTAH is a relative newcomer to the Lower East Side gallery scene, bringing with it a fresh approach to curating exhibitions. Offering a collaborative space between artist and dealer, its founder David Totah describes the gallery as a “cultural hub harboring a variety of projects which transcend the typical definition of a gallery.”
Alex Sewell, Temples, 2019, oil on canvas, 63 x 52 inches (160 x 132 cm)
“Rehanging is a cathartic process — it takes about a day, and happens every six months or so. Living with new works allows me to tap into a new energy.”
Installation view, Suzanne Treister, Edward Totah Gallery, London, March 1992
“[Melissa McGill] shines a light on things that need to be discussed, which I think is one of the key things that artists do for us as a society.”
Installation view, Melissa McGill: RED REGATTA, riflessi, TOTAH, New York, January 16–March 1, 2020
Aleksandar Duravcevic, YOUTH, 2019, chemically treated stainless steel, 27 ½ x 19 ½ inches (70 x 50 cm)
“The gallery is a nexus for kindred spirits; the audience, artists, writers, and others that feel drawn to each other and the program.”
Mara De Luca, BEAUMONT, 2017, mixed media on cut canvas with copper plated elements, 66 x 96 inches (167.6 x 243.8 cm)
David Totah
Born in Milan, Italy
Opened his gallery in 2016
Lower East Side
What is your greatest extravagance?
Space. Whenever I get the chance, I leave the city for the Catskills. I walk for hours on end without seeing a single human. It makes me feel safe. I have an obsession with experiencing nature in solitude.
On what occasion do you lie?
I don’t think I lie in general. It sits with me. My dad told me I had all the defects but I didn’t lie. So whenever I did something I would come back the next day and tell my dad. Once when I was 11 years old, I stole the car, drove around all night with a friend, and then went home to tell my dad. I unload things for my own good. If I don’t tell things I get a sore throat.
What is your favorite journey?
Discovering new paths in the woods that I go to. And uncertainty. I decided to leave my prior career through a solitary path of self-reflection. It was a very intense time and I was lucky because I was very supported.
For what fault do you have the most toleration?
I forgive people that lose their temper. It’s a misstep, but it’s a sincere act.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I was born on the same day as Macchiavelli, not that I identify with him, but I think it’s funny that we’re born on the same day. I guess sometimes I can be like a tyrant –– it really depends on the day. Every day I feel like I’m a different person. I’m never the same.
David Totah
Born in Milan, Italy
Opened his gallery in 2016
Lower East Side
TOTAH is a relative newcomer to the Lower East Side gallery scene, bringing with it a fresh approach to curating exhibitions. Offering a collaborative space between artist and dealer, its founder David Totah describes the gallery as a “cultural hub harboring a variety of projects which transcend the typical definition of a gallery.”
Alex Sewell, Temples, 2019, oil on canvas, 63 x 52 inches (160 x 132 cm)
“Rehanging is a cathartic process — it takes about a day, and happens every six months or so. Living with new works allows me to tap into a new energy.”
Installation view, Suzanne Treister, Edward Totah Gallery, London, March 1992
“[Melissa McGill] shines a light on things that need to be discussed, which I think is one of the key things that artists do for us as a society.”
Installation view, Melissa McGill: RED REGATTA, riflessi, TOTAH, New York, January 16–March 1, 2020
Aleksandar Duravcevic, YOUTH, 2019, chemically treated stainless steel, 27 ½ x 19 ½ inches (70 x 50 cm)
“The gallery is a nexus for kindred spirits; the audience, artists, writers, and others that feel drawn to each other and the program.”
Mara De Luca, BEAUMONT, 2017, mixed media on cut canvas with copper plated elements, 66 x 96 inches (167.6 x 243.8 cm)
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