If New York City-based curator, collector, and advisor Nazy Nazhand had to sum up her multihyphenate art world role in one sentence, she’d say she’s an advocate for artists.
Born in Tehran and raised in Athens, Nazhand is the globally minded founder of Nazhand Art & Culture, an advisory with a track record of placing the work of emerging artists in prominent institutional collections. Nazhand brings to the role her acute market savvy and covetable finger-to-the-pulse relationships with rising artists—she is the type to know an artist well before their first gallery show.
Recently, she coordinated the exhibition of artist Carl Craig’s installation Party/After-Party at Dia Beacon as well as its current installation at MOCA Geffen in Los Angeles. Now, she is moving forward on two still-under-wraps projects—a New York museum exhibition and a site-specific installation abroad—both of which will be announced later this year. In her own collection and curation, meanwhile, Nazhand keeps the accomplishments of Middle Eastern women artists at the fore, saying she identifies, “as an activist on behalf of the women in Iran.”
When the workday wraps, however, the ever-stylish Nazhand is also a sought-after figure on the social circuit. After hours, she can be found exploring her Alphabet City neighborhood, seeking out music—house, techno, and jazz are her favorites—and winding down on the beaches of Ibiza.
Recently, we caught up with Nazhand who told us what she values in art and life—and why.
What is the last thing that you splurged on?
Art. Of course. But to be clear, I consider collecting art a worthwhile and rewarding investment and not a splurge at all.
What is something that you’re saving up for?
More art. Of course. I’m proud that the works in my collection are by artists that I have had the pleasure of working with or know personally. Each artwork represents an important moment in time.
What would you buy if you found $100?
I would tip generously. I believe in paying forward such lucky finds.
What makes you feel like a million bucks?
My Khaite wardrobe and my collection of heirloom and contemporary jewelry. My jewelry is my armor.
What do you think is your greatest asset?
My determination and adaptability have allowed me to live life on my own terms, despite every obstacle that has been put in my way.
What do you most value in a work of art?
Precise and poetic execution of materials and ideas.
Who is an emerging artist worthy of everyone’s attention?
Abigail Reyes (El Salvador, 1984) is a quiet force whose subtle text-based installations, embroideries, and videos expose and reclaim machismo language that has been systematically used to subvert and control women in Latin American society.
Who is an overlooked artist who hasn’t yet gotten their due?
Two artists that come to mind are Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1922–2019) and Turi Simeti (Italy, 1929–2021), who should have had grander careers and recognition, both institutionally and in the market, in their lifetime. Art history needs to be revisited and expanded beyond the narrow scope of Western art canon, but that is a topic for a different interview.
What is your most treasured possession?
What’s been your best investment?
Living in New York City.
What is something small that means the world to you?
My small nephew and tiny niece.
What’s not worth the hype?
NFT art. Then again, I simply don’t get it and this answer might age poorly by 2033!
What do you believe is a worthy cause?
Supporting arts and culture, and marginalized creative voices, knowing there are places in the world that persecute artists and thinkers.
What do you aspire to?
Living a creative and purposeful life.