guest curator

Yulia Topchiy

Yulia Topchiy is born in Russia and now lives in NYC with her son. She is an independent curator and founder of CoWorker Projects (CWP) and co-founder of ASSEMBLY ROOM, a new curatorial platform to celebrate and empower independent women curators.

ASSEMBLY ROOM invites female curators to collaborate, come together, break the rules, defy the status quo, as well as create compelling art, exhibitions, and experiences. We are building a strong community of women to deepen the understanding of women’s work and offer support for female curators to achieve groundbreaking and inspiring results.

Yulia works with an extensive network of emerging and established artists and collaborates with galleries, non-profits, and independent curators on special projects and exhibitions.

She also works for the Gallery Relations Team at Artsy.

Yulia, as an art professional, curator and specialist in the global contemporary art market working in New York City, what drew you specifically to this career?

I have always been interested in creativity and self expression. I love how artists see the world and how they communicate through their art. Artists reflect the diversity of the public and inspire greater understanding of the world through their work.

I wanted to have a career where I feel inspired by art every day, and where I can contribute my time, knowledge and energy to supporting artists in their practice and galleries in connecting them with collectors all over the globe.

You are currently working as “Gallery Relations” at Artsy, an online ressource for art collecting. Could you explain the mission of Artsy? What makes this online platform so different?

Artsy’s mission is to expand the art market to support more artists and art in the world. Artsy makes it simple to discover and buy art from leading galleries and auctions around the world and it is the largest global marketplace for art. Artsy also serves educational purpose through Editorial and Institutional Content for the art lovers and beginner collectors. Artsy ranks highest in SEO for discovering Artists and Galleries and offers various recommendations and reminders on the artists you may like. Artsy’s approach is proven to be the most powerful way to fill the world with more artists and art.

How did you acquire expertise in the online art field and what would you say is your main focus art wise?

We have a great team of people at Artsy who are equally interested in art and technology. We gather feedback from our galleries and develop strategies according to their needs. Our main focus is to increase visibility for our partners and help them connect with global audience. My measure of success is how I can help galleries with contemporary emerging program increase their artists following, expand their global audience, connect them with collectors around the word, thus ultimately making more people aware of their programming and their artists.

What do you think of the way photography is being viewed and offered through the web and the online platforms now a days?

I think that the accessibility of photography online is a fantastic advancement in communicating the message across. Especially with the introduction of social media platforms, we have witnessed the rapid transformation of cell phone photography over the last several years. Everyone is capable of recording and transmitting every moment in their lives, making the cell phone photography a pervasive role in communicating. I think it’s great to have an abundance in discovering photography online and developing your taste through browsing, learning, and choosing. As long as you continue visiting galleries and seeing prints in person and understand the context of photography in curatorial context and asking questions in person, all this online exposure is totally fine.

How does Artsy influence the world of art collecting ?

Artsy is focused on building a marketplace that makes it easy to discover and buy art from around the world, with the aim of expanding the art market. Artsy’s core strategy for expanding the art market is a partnership model: working with industry partners to help them grow their businesses online. We fundamentally believe that galleries are essential for supporting artists and nurturing their careers. Artsy helps galleries succeed within an international, globalized, digitized art world. The success of galleries is key to the success of artists—and we partner to introduce new collectors, broker sales, and bring increased exposure to galleries worldwide, in turn benefiting the artists that they represent.

Artsy also collaborates on special projects with artists and editorial initiatives to further educate our audience on contemporary art and collecting.

East West 006, MARTINA+REEM, available at

According to you, what’s trending these days in art photography?

I think the photography that penetrates the politics of social justice, cultural identity, race, and human rights is especially important at this time. A work that often raises questions and responses within the cultural history and history of photography is very relevant even today.

As a curator and an Artsy specialist, do you make it a priority to keep an eye on the emerging scene ? What movement or which artists are particularly interesting right now from your point of view?

Yes, absolutely. Seeing as much as possible and interacting with artists in their studios is very important to me. I am not sure about trends as I tend to develop my own eye through years of learning, discovering, and putting exhibitions together. I love artists who take pictures of people and places transforming external landscapes into interior states. I also love photography that reveals its relevance to larger social and political conditions prevalent today.

Is there something (exhibition, fair, trend, artist) that are you especially excited about coming this year on the photography scene?

I often see exhibitions at Carriage trade, Bodega, David Krut, and Rubber Factory in New York City. The current MoMA exhibition on new photography introduced me to the works by Em Rooney, Andrzej Steinbach, and Joanna Piotrowska. I am interested to see new work by Patrice Helmar and Irina Rozovksy.

Do you collect? If so what does your collection consist of? Is there one single photograph you wish you’d owned?

Yes, I do acquire the works of art either by artists I work with or have collaborated in the past. I used to work for a gallery, Goff+Rosenthal, and was privileged to work alongside many wonderful artists whose work I bought back then. Most of my collection consists of prints and editions but I also have some paintings and sculptures. My recent acquisition consists of a small sculpture by Genesis Belanger from Mrs. gallery and Ivy Haldeman’s painting from Downs & Ross. I have relationship with both galleries and I love supporting their artists in any way I can.
There are so many photographs which I would love to own. Perhaps any work by Francesca Woodman or Barbara Kasten.

We are very happy to have you as a guest curator at TPA! 
That’s why we have to ask : what elements will you look for when reviewing your artwork selection from The Print Atelier’s artists to create your curated selection ?

I look for images which are appealling to me aesthetically and also challenging me. I am interested in technique, overall composition, and photography which addresses environmental and social themes. I also love seeing something mundane or something unnoticed in a photograph. I love the mystery and the element of surprise too.

From your point of view, what makes The Print Atelier different and interesting for photography collectors?

I love the variety of prints, diversity of photographers, and great selection in categories and themes. The website is simple and easy to use and makes the discoverability really interesting.