Besharat Gallery Manifesto

We, at Besharat Gallery, are first and foremost lovers of art.

We do not ask ourselves whether we are viewing a particular painting or sculpture or installation as a formalist, mechanist, modernist, postmodernist, or any other kind of “ist.” We respond as individuals, as feeling, thinking people. We do not attempt to force our aesthetic experiences into historic, academic pigeonholes, but rather to approach each with the maximum receptivity, emotional integrity, and intellectual conviction of which we are at that moment capable. Knowing full well that our criteria are imperfect, since they are always relative to the current state of our knowledge, we nonetheless feel no hesitation in applying them with the fullest rigor.

We believe that at the base of all aesthetic judgment is the persistent, creative, rather primitive act of choice, which is the result of a personally and culturally developed taste. And we believe, as Oscar Wilde asserted, that choosing “consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

As a result, our collection is eclectic in the original sense of the word, which comes from the Greek “ἐκλεκτικός” (eklektikos), literally “choosing the best” and that from “ἐκλεκτός” (eklektos), “picked out, select.” It is a notion born of the Eclectics of ancient Greece and Rome, philosophers who, instead of attaching themselves to a given system of understanding, chose from existing philosophical beliefs those doctrines that they judged best. We believe that this judgment is an act of taste rather than of critical argument. As Hannah Arendt writes, “Even if all criticism of Plato is right, Plato may still be better company than his critics.”

We believe that galleries should be lively places, full of energy and new experiences and two-way conversations between artists and viewers. We do not believe in art as commodity only. Rather, we believe art should enlighten, challenge and console the senses.

And so the aesthetic experience you can expect at Besharat Gallery may seem at first and superficially to be highly unpredictable, but there are certain qualities you can always expect of us—and of our collection and collaborations.

  • We love and show art that reconstructs rather than merely deconstructs what it means to be human.
  • We love and show art whose primary aim is its own perfection, and artists whose primary desire is to contemplate and to create rather than perform or agitate for an obvious partisan purpose or personal notoriety.
  • We love and show art of many different styles, genres, and theoretical approaches in which we find beauty, wisdom, and insight.
  • We love and show art that we believe to be of genuine value.

Our aesthetic judgments, thus conceived, may not be “pure” things but they will be our own. Ultimately, we disclose who we are through our tastes and judgments, revealing private idiosyncracies informed by broad and open-minded experience. We invite our friends and collectors to do the same.