“An intimate evening of great art paired with magnificent food.” – What could be better?

Imagine a gallery opening where people mill about making comments about the artwork while sipping wine. Now take that opening, transfer it to a private room in a downtown restaurant, add a four course dinner and a convivial atmosphere where you’re able to actually get to know the artist. What you get is the new “Artist Dinner” series hosted by Baang + Burne Contemporary.

Inspired by the idea of an intimate dinner party where guests can relax and linger on their conversations, Charlie Grosso, director of Baang + Burne, is putting this idea to the test. (In the past, she actually hosted dinner parties in her Washington Heights apartment, but seating was limited and the location was difficult for guests to reach.) Now with a simple RSVP, the dinners are open to anyone who wants to spend an evening enjoying excellent food prepared by Executive Chef Patricia Clark in the company of the up-and-coming artists the gallery represents in a convenient location in the East Village. The goal of the dinners is to foster conversation between artists and art-lovers by breaking down the barriers that often stifle the art world today.

Untapped got a special invite to the first dinner of the series featuring photography by Kris Graves. As Untapped Cities’ arts editor, I had the chance to meet Kris and see his work firsthand. His photos evoke a stillness that is almost haunting, as if the landscapes are suspended in time. Kris told me the story of how he and some friends drove all around Iceland on the ring road, stopping to photograph the places that seemed to speak to them about the human traces on the landscape. Along the way they collected ghost stories from the people they met and learned about Icelandic spirituality and folklore. Kris’ photos served as the inspiration for Patricia, who crafted the menu especially for the event using only Icelandic ingredients.

Portraying the human dimension in art, as Kris strives to do, is an important part of the gallery’s mission. Baang + Burne is not just about selling a product. Charlie believes that art should be an agent for change, and the work featured by the gallery proves that. The artists represented by Baang + Burne are constantly striving to raise awareness and improve the world. Charlie is currently working on a fundraising goal for the Mongol Rally to support the Lotus Children’s Center in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. In July, she’ll be participating in a 10,000 mile rally from the UK to Mongolia, documenting the experience and involving other artists along the way. Read more on her Spy Travelogue.

The next “Artist Dinner” will be on April 17 at Nomad (78 2nd Avenue) with a mystery artist and menu. For more information check the events page and subscribe to Baang + Burne’s mailing list. We’ll be there of course, so stay tuned.

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