AS OF MAY 29, 2024, ALL SALES FINAL SITEWIDE

FREE STANDARD SHIPPING ON ORDERS OF $500 OR MORE

ALL GIFT CARDS AND LUMINARY POINTS MUST BE USED BY JUNE 30.

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE

Interview with Isolde Brielmaier

& Hannah Traore

 

 

I’ve been so eager to sit with these two incredibly inspirational women that I am fortunate enough to call my friends. They are living embodiments of their vision, their creativity, their clarity, and their grace. If you don’t already know who they are, please meet Isolde Brielmaier and Hannah Traore as we discuss art, mentorship, and the power of joy.



MH: Tell me what you both currently do in your work lives.


Isolde Brielmaier: I'm the deputy director at the New Museum in New York City as well as guest curator at the International Center of Photography, also known as ICP.

Hannah Traore: I am the founder and director of Hannah Traore Gallery which is a boutique gallery on the Lower East Side.

MH: How did you meet and can you describe your relationship?


IB: We met when I was a curator-at-large at the Tang Teaching Museum, which is on the campus of Skidmore College, and Hannah was a student.

HT: I was a student in my senior year and I wanted to curate a show for my senior thesis instead of writing a paper. So, I curated a show at the Tang Museum.

IB: Which was a big installation featuring the work of a Moroccan London artist Hassan Hajjaj.

HT: Yeah, it was about Malick Sidibé and a bunch of different African and Black photographers who I felt conceptually or aesthetically looked back to him. Hassan came and I interviewed him, Isolde interviewed him, and that's how we met. That's how we fell in love.

IB: We've been connected ever since.

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE

Interview with
Isolde Brielmaier &
Hannah Traore

 

I’ve been so eager to sit with these two incredibly inspirational women that I am fortunate enough to call my friends. They are living embodiments of their vision, their creativity, their clarity, and their grace. If you don’t already know who they are, please meet Isolde Brielmaier and Hannah Traore as we discuss art, mentorship, and the power of joy.

 

 

MH: Tell me what you both currently do in your work lives.


Isolde Brielmaier: I'm the deputy director at the New Museum in New York City as well as guest curator at the International Center of Photography, also known as ICP.

Hannah Traore: I am the founder and director of Hannah Traore Gallery which is a boutique gallery on the Lower East Side.

MH: How did you meet and can you describe your relationship?


IB: We met when I was a curator-at-large at the Tang Teaching Museum, which is on the campus of Skidmore College, and Hannah was a student.

HT: I was a student in my senior year and I wanted to curate a show for my senior thesis instead of writing a paper. So, I curated a show at the Tang Museum.

IB: Which was a big installation featuring the work of a Moroccan London artist Hassan Hajjaj.

HT: Yeah, it was about Malick Sidibé and a bunch of different African and Black photographers who I felt conceptually or aesthetically looked back to him. Hassan came and I interviewed him, Isolde interviewed him, and that's how we met. That's how we fell in love.

IB: We've been connected ever since.

 

MH: Would you describe your relationship as mentor-mentee dynamic—would you put those words to this?


IB: Well, Hannah does…

HT: I do.

IB: I was looking for a project manager and I reached out to Hannah.

HT: I already felt like Isolde was a mentor because when I needed advice about things I would always call Isolde and she would give really genuine and supportive advice. I'm Canadian so when she needed a project manager, I was like, “How am I going to make this work?” I called my lawyer and made it work.

IB: Hannah worked with me probably for about a year and a half on a couple of pretty big projects that we saw from start to finish: exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, and a big project at the Smithsonian with the artist Suchi Reddy. Then also on the side was developing this idea for a gallery. She and I would carve out separate time to talk about that and brainstorm.

HT: And that's something that I really love and appreciate about Isolde, even though I was working for her, she would always say, “Put an hour on my calendar so we can talk about the gallery.” Isolde’s a busy woman and so that meant the world to me. The advice and conversations that we had during those times—I wouldn't have been able to open the gallery without that.

MH: Would you describe your relationship as mentor-mentee dynamic—would you put those words to this?


IB: Well, Hannah does…

HT: I do.

IB: I was looking for a project manager and I reached out to Hannah.

HT: I already felt like Isolde was a mentor because when I needed advice about things I would always call Isolde and she would give really genuine and supportive advice. I'm Canadian so when she needed a project manager, I was like, “How am I going to make this work?” I called my lawyer and made it work.

IB: Hannah worked with me probably for about a year and a half on a couple of pretty big projects that we saw from start to finish: exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, and a big project at the Smithsonian with the artist Suchi Reddy. Then also on the side was developing this idea for a gallery. She and I would carve out separate time to talk about that and brainstorm.

HT: And that's something that I really love and appreciate about Isolde, even though I was working for her, she would always say, “Put an hour on my calendar so we can talk about the gallery.” Isolde’s a busy woman and so that meant the world to me. The advice and conversations that we had during those times—I wouldn't have been able to open the gallery without that.

 

MH: What do you both love the most about the work that you do?


IB: For me, as Hannah knows, joy is everything and joy is tied to my sense of freedom. I love working with artists and creative minds, creative thinkers, and creative doers. I find it incredibly inspirational. I really believe that artists—creative people—live in the world a bit differently. They move through the world differently. They have a very different lens on things, so I'm constantly being surprised and inspired, sometimes shocked. But it just feels really good to constantly be in motion and evolving. It's really great to also collaborate with people and make things happen, make visions happen.

HT: I knew Isolde was going to say that and it's the same answer for me because I get joy from people generally. In my job, the people that I've been able to meet through the arts, but then specifically through opening the gallery, have meant so much to me. I feel like the artists that I work with, the other curators that I've met because of it, and people like Isolde, have become family and that's important to me. So, I would say in my job, the people that I've been able to meet have really brought me the most joy.

MH: What do you both love the most about the work that you do?


IB: For me, as Hannah knows, joy is everything and joy is tied to my sense of freedom. I love working with artists and creative minds, creative thinkers, and creative doers. I find it incredibly inspirational. I really believe that artists—creative people—live in the world a bit differently. They move through the world differently. They have a very different lens on things, so I'm constantly being surprised and inspired, sometimes shocked. But it just feels really good to constantly be in motion and evolving. It's really great to also collaborate with people and make things happen, make visions happen.

HT: I knew Isolde was going to say that and it's the same answer for me because I get joy from people generally. In my job, the people that I've been able to meet through the arts, but then specifically through opening the gallery, have meant so much to me. I feel like the artists that I work with, the other curators that I've met because of it, and people like Isolde, have become family and that's important to me. So, I would say in my job, the people that I've been able to meet have really brought me the most joy.

“At the stage that I'm at in my life, I always want to meet people, do things, experience things, be in places that make my life bigger. I want to have a big life.”

- Isolde Brielmaier

MH: What's that gem of advice someone gave you at some point, at any time on your path, that you come back to?


HT: An artist named Camila Falquez, who's showing in my gallery right now, always talks about keeping it moving. If something happens that you're not excited about, or that seems like a mistake, or seems like things are going wrong, just keep it moving. I'm very much a person who thinks everything happens for a reason, and when it’s put that way, it feels so possible to implement. I think that's present in my life right now, especially with owning a business. There are always things going wrong and it helps to remember to just keep it moving. Don't get stuck.

IB: One of the things that my mother always told me was, “Always do you, but do you differently.” I think it's really important as we go on in life to not think of ourselves as just being one way. I think it’s really important to constantly keep stretching. That's part of getting out of your comfort zone and growing and evolving. But it doesn't mean that it's not you. You know your core values. You stick to them, but always try to stretch a little. At the stage that I'm at in my life, I always want to meet people, do things, experience things and be in places that make my life bigger. I want to have a big life.

“At the stage that I'm at
in my life, I always want
to meet people, do things, experience things, be in
places that make my life bigger. I want to have a big life.” - Isolde Brielmaier

MH: What's that gem of advice someone gave you at some point, at any time on your path, that you come back to?


HT: An artist named Camila Falquez, who's showing in my gallery right now, always talks about keeping it moving. If something happens that you're not excited about, or that seems like a mistake, or seems like things are going wrong, just keep it moving. I'm very much a person who thinks everything happens for a reason, and when it’s put that way, it feels so possible to implement. I think that's present in my life right now, especially with owning a business. There are always things going wrong and it helps to remember to just keep it moving. Don't get stuck.

IB: One of the things that my mother always told me was, “Always do you, but do you differently.” I think it's really important as we go on in life to not think of ourselves as just being one way. I think it’s really important to constantly keep stretching. That's part of getting out of your comfort zone and growing and evolving. But it doesn't mean that it's not you. You know your core values. You stick to them, but always try to stretch a little. At the stage that I'm at in my life, I always want to meet people, do things, experience things and be in places that make my life bigger. I want to have a big life.

 

MH: Let's talk about fashion a little bit. First off, can fashion be art? And where do you hold these two expressions and do they connect for you?


HT: I think fashion can absolutely be art. To be honest, someone like you, Mara, I feel like I'm wearing sculpture when I'm wearing your work. Not to mention the way that you photograph everything—that is art! Another designer that I feel that way about is Issey Miyake. And so, I definitely think that they are always in conversation for me. I only realized this over the past year, but day to day, fashion is my largest expression of my creativity, even though I work every day in a gallery.

In the same way that I can stand in front of a piece of art and just be completely in awe and feel so inspired, if I see an outfit that I've never seen before, the way that someone puts something together, the way that it hangs on the person, the colors, I get that same feeling.

IB: I agree. Fashion is created by creative people and I think that art, however we want to define it: it could be literature, it could be a film, it can be painting, or photography, but it also takes the form of textile. It takes the form of creating clothes that come out of a vision; it comes out of a creative place of passion. So, yes, I think it can be art.

I agree with Hannah, it's tied to one's identity and how one wants to express oneself. It expresses how you're feeling, and how you think of yourself. It can be aspirational. At the end of the day, it's connected to how we see ourselves and wish to be seen and what we choose to present to the world which in so many ways can be an art form. It's never fixed. And if we're humble enough, we allow others to also have that freedom. So, I think it's very much a kind of form of art and creative expression.

MH: Let's talk about fashion a little bit. First off, can fashion be art? And where do you hold these two expressions and do they connect for you?


HT: I think fashion can absolutely be art. To be honest, someone like you, Mara, I feel like I'm wearing sculpture when I'm wearing your work. Not to mention the way that you photograph everything—that is art! Another designer that I feel that way about is Issey Miyake. And so, I definitely think that they are always in conversation for me. I only realized this over the past year, but day to day, fashion is my largest expression of my creativity, even though I work every day in a gallery.

In the same way that I can stand in front of a piece of art and just be completely in awe and feel so inspired, if I see an outfit that I've never seen before, the way that someone puts something together, the way that it hangs on the person, the colors, I get that same feeling.

IB: I agree. Fashion is created by creative people and I think that art, however we want to define it: it could be literature, it could be a film, it can be painting, or photography, but it also takes the form of textile. It takes the form of creating clothes that come out of a vision; it comes out of a creative place of passion. So, yes, I think it can be art.

I agree with Hannah, it's tied to one's identity and how one wants to express oneself. It expresses how you're feeling, and how you think of yourself. It can be aspirational. At the end of the day, it's connected to how we see ourselves and wish to be seen and what we choose to present to the world which in so many ways can be an art form. It's never fixed. And if we're humble enough, we allow others to also have that freedom. So, I think it's very much a kind of form of art and creative expression.

“Joy is everything and joy is tied to my sense of freedom”- Isolde Brielmaier

MH: When it comes to creative nourishment, how do you refill your well?


IB: There are a couple of things. Absolutely 100% nature. I spend as much time in nature as possible, preferably in the water. I'm most at home in the ocean. And then also with friends and family, generally around a table with food and wine on it. I am really replenished, nourished, supported, and encouraged by other humans. Hannah and I have those moments where we'll work really hard, either together or now in our respective spaces, but we just need to sit down at dinner and shoot the breeze. There's no expectation, there's nothing that's imposed, no judgement, it's just easy. I walk away feeling rejuvenated, full both in my tummy and my spirit.

“Joy is everything and joy is tied to my sense of freedom”
- Isolde Brielmaier

MH: When it comes to creative nourishment, how do you refill your well?


IB: There are a couple of things. Absolutely 100% nature. I spend as much time in nature as possible, preferably in the water. I'm most at home in the ocean. And then also with friends and family, generally around a table with food and wine on it. I am really replenished, nourished, supported, and encouraged by other humans. Hannah and I have those moments where we'll work really hard, either together or now in our respective spaces, but we just need to sit down at dinner and shoot the breeze. There's no expectation, there's nothing that's imposed, no judgement, it's just easy. I walk away feeling rejuvenated, full both in my tummy and my spirit.

 

HT: I have pretty similar answers. First and foremost with my family. I have a huge family. Three siblings who are my best friends. Parents who I adore. Cousins who I couldn’t live without… especially the babies. I adore children. Being around children rejuvenates me. It's hard being in New York sometimes because I'm the only one here out of my entire family. Because of that, I am lucky to be able to turn to my chosen family which are my friends and people like Isolde who love, support, and truly know me. The second would be making art. I love bookbinding. When I am in the zone of art making, honestly, it feels like I've had a spa day. I don't do it as much as I should, but when I do, it just changes everything. Really clears my mind.

MH: All right, last question. What are you looking forward to right now?


IB: Summer and sunshine, the water, and the ocean. The sense of freedom and ease, and hot, sticky, sweaty summer days and warm nights.

HT: It sounds so cheesy, but I'm just excited for life right now.

HT: I have pretty similar answers. First and foremost with my family. I have a huge family. Three siblings who are my best friends. Parents who I adore. Cousins who I couldn’t live without… especially the babies. I adore children. Being around children rejuvenates me. It's hard being in New York sometimes because I'm the only one here out of my entire family. Because of that, I am lucky to be able to turn to my chosen family which are my friends and people like Isolde who love, support, and truly know me. The second would be making art. I love bookbinding. When I am in the zone of art making, honestly, it feels like I've had a spa day. I don't do it as much as I should, but when I do, it just changes everything. Really clears my mind.

MH: All right, last question. What are you looking forward to right now?


IB: Summer and sunshine, the water, and the ocean. The sense of freedom and ease, and hot, sticky, sweaty summer days and warm nights.

HT: It sounds so cheesy, but I'm just excited for life right now.

This conversation has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity

Creative Direction and Photography: Mara Hoffman

Art Direction and Styling: Rachael Wang

Hair and Makeup: Maria Ortega

Photographed at Candy Studio

Photographer Assistant: Melissa Berrios

Earrings: Lizzie Fortunato

Necklaces: Laura Lombardi

Shoes: Vintage and Hannah’s personal

This conversation has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity

Creative Direction and Photography: Mara Hoffman

Art Direction and Styling: Rachael Wang

Hair and Makeup: Maria Ortega

Photographed at Candy Studio

Photographer Assistant: Melissa Berrios

Earrings: Lizzie Fortunato

Necklaces: Laura Lombardi

Shoes: Vintage and Hannah’s personal

Shop Hannah & Isolde's Looks

Sold out
Sold out
Sold out
Sold out
Sold out
Sold out
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.