HER DIFFERENT STORY
Her Different Story – The Artistic Empowerment with Teresa Bravo
Believing in the empowering nature of arts, Teresa Bravo, Director of Retail Partnerships at MoMA, guides us through her journey in arts and business.
1. How did you started getting into the art/business industry, and now one of the most prominent art museums in the world?
After more than 15 years working for other people, I decided to start my own business Bravo Group: Consultancy and Management back in 2012.
The work was grueling and I decided to join three museums to start on my personal enrichment, I also started taking Spanish lessons. One of those museums was MoMA! The experience at MoMA was always FULL! I could enjoy The Museum and all it had to offer, but I could also enjoy moments of reflection in the garden and a great glass of wine at The Modern.
As luck would have it, I was contacted by a colleague about an Associate Director role in Retail @ MoMA. I was hesitant to go back to work for someone else, but after meeting the management team I was sold and never looked back, that was 8 years ago!
2. Having a degree in Arts, what prompted you to pursue a career in business and retail?
I have always had a business sense and always enjoyed fashion and shopping of course. I remember one evening sitting with one of my best friends from college on spring break and her father asked me “What do you want to do when you graduate? “I said own a business! And that was coming from a French major… It was in my blood!
3. Why is MoMA so different from other art museums?
I would have to say MoMA is different in so many ways. First and foremost, I do believe the history of how MoMA began and that it was truly realized by women – Abby Rockefeller, Lillie Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. MoMA was always ahead of its time. MoMA celebrates creativity and truly Modern Art. As a consumer, the Design component of the Museum lends itself to an amazing and unique shopping experience and as I mentioned earlier, the idea that you can truly spend the day at MoMA without feeling overwhelmed is truly a gift.
"It was in my blood!"
"Art is for me a vehicle for self-expression and having the talent and opportunity to do that is in itself true empowerment for any sex."
4. How does art inform your perception on women empowerment?
Art is for me a vehicle for self-expression and having the talent and opportunity to do that is in itself true empowerment for any sex. The fact that we have some many strong female artists is in and of itself the proof. We have been lucky to have living artists participate in MoMA…
Marina Abramovich was at our MoMA Design Store for a meet and greet and met our public and signed autographs, she was so real, honest and generous with her time, it was inspiring.
The Gorilla Girls came to our Museum Store and had an “event” in full gear “expressing” themselves and their ideas – it was thought provoking to say the least.
5. In what ways do you think MoMA contributes to the advocacy of women’s empowerment?
I do feel that while art has been a male dominated field, MoMA makes great efforts to recognize women in the art field, we in retail also take this very seriously and you can see by our commitment to artists and collaborations with Faith Ringgold, Marina Abramovic & Yayoi Kusama to name a few. In addition, the curators have always been supportive of retail initiatives, including one that was quite controversial DIFW (Design Innovations for Women). This collaboration truly embraced women, their bodies and their intricacies. It was daring and I was proud to be part of an organization that would “take a chance”
6. How do you think MoMA will lead us to in the future? Will there be more projects centering around feminism/ women empowerment?
I always remember a comment from one of our marketing executives when we were in the process of the last remodel of MoMA. She said as The Museum of Modern Art it is vital that we remain MODERN! For me that means we must keep up with the times, be thought provoking and push the boundaries. With all that has happened in the last few years, MoMA has truly done that. Whether it is about DEAI (diversity, equality, accessibility, inclusion), BLM (Black Lives Matter) or Women’s Rights, MoMA has always been the Museum of Modern Times, not just Art. MoMA will always be MODERN!