Posted on December 11 2013
Hello Arty Birds,
It’s been a while since I’ve been here, and I figured since the site has its new fabulous look and we’re close to holiday season you needed something arty (of course), fun, beautiful and which would also be a great gift for one of your girlfriends.
And then Rita de Alencar Pinto came to my mind! I met her a few months ago in New York after having done some research over a nail pop-up store I saw at MoMA PS1.
Rita is an incredible lady, and she’s opened what I have no fear of calling the coolest nail salon in the city, Vanity Projects.
Don’t think for a minute this is your usual nail spot in New York. First of all, Rita is a ‘girl of the art world’. Born in San Francisco, half Brazilian, childhood spent in London, Rita is a modern globetrotter who first worked for Christie’s and then started a career as an independent art curator and collector. She didn’t want to open another art gallery though and was sure of two things, she wanted to have her own space and it had to be in the Lower East Side in New York.
So one day, an idea struck her. She was thinking how hard it is to watch Video Art in museums, fairs, or galleries. One either has to stand there for ages, or the room is too busy, or there’s so much more to see that there’s no time to go through the whole thing. A long time fan of good nail art, it hit her: “I realized that it takes an hour and a half minimum to get your nails done. And while you’re sitting there, beyond the initial conversation I thought ‘what could you do?’ You’re a captive audience and I love video – I feel it’s a medium not enough appreciated and it’s very difficult to watch, you’re never in the mood. At the museum you just kinda look in, you get tired, and even at a gallery or an art fair it’s never a good time”.
She put together her knowledge from art and her passion for nails and Vanity Projects was born. After some pop-up tests at MoMA PS1 and Nada Art Fair, the opportunity to open a space presented itself.
Vanity Projects is an elegant nail salon that speaks of Rita in every corner: warm, witty, and tasteful. It brings together the best nail artists from all over the world (Britney Tokyo, Natalie Minerva, Naomi Yasuda, Fleury Rose to name a few)
which Rita hosts for temporary residencies exactly like visual artists.
While you get your arty nails done – you can pick any image or artist or mood, these ladies will deliver – you can watch beautiful video art by the most exciting up and coming artists picked and curated by Rita maybe just before going to a gallery opening just round the corner.
When I got there, I couldn’t decide: Kusama, Basquiat, Picasso, Magritte… In the end I let Britney Tokyo decide for me and I got out with a crazy gel manicure I never wanted to take off my nails! Did I mention they use the best products on the market and that this might be the perfect gift for you BFF?
Have I sold it to you already? So don’t tell me art world people don’t care about the aesthetics!
By Sara Schifano
99 Chrystie Street, 2F
New York, NY