Secret friend crushes be damned. We’re putting it all out there. When we think someone is the coolest, we don’t shut up about it. Ergo, the office hasn’t been a quiet place to work since Nora Gomez-Strauss signed up to be part of our 5+5 series. Gomez-Strauss is one of our OG art collectors (spy her many 20x200 editions in this amazing Design*Sponge tour), and has made her own significant splash in the art world as the Public Art Fund’s Director of Digital Strategies. Before that, she slayed the scene as the Queens Museum’s social media maven. Someone who spreads the word about Art for Everyone? Our hearts are aflutter. Beyond those obvious overtures to our affection, Gomez-Strauss is also an amazing Twitter and Insta follow for her thoughtful art takes, her sharp political observations, and her own striking images. (Of course, the cute pics of her painfully *adorable* child don’t hurt. Hi Santi!!) Below, peep Gomez-Strauss’s five art picks + five Q+As. Who knows? Maybe you’ll form your own friend crush. – Team 20x200
5 Perfect Picks1) American Mobile Home by Jens Ochlich
As a composition, I love everything about it; it’s 21st century Americana. Below the surface, I wonder who its inhabitants are, what brought them here, where they would like to go, what our interaction would be like if our paths ever crossed.
2) 40th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, from Salmon Tower 11 West 42nd Street, Manhattan. by Berenice Abbott
Berenice Abbott captures New York like nobody else. It feels more like a portrait than a cityscape.
3) Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History by Jason Polan
With a three year old at home, we are VERY into dinosaurs right now – this is right up our alley. The Museum of Natural History is so iconic, such a perfect embodiment of the traditional power of museums, and one of my son’s favorite places.
4) Waiting by Ian Baguskas
We spend a lot of time at the beach and my husband is often in the water for extended periods of time spent in this exact scenario – in anticipation of the next set of waves. This reminds me of his aquatic escape sessions.
5) I Am an American, Oakland, CA, March 1942 by Dorothea Lange
I look at this image on a daily basis. In addition to being a beautiful, powerful photograph, it serves as a reminder that we should learn from our past. The undercurrent of xenophobia captured in this photo from the 1940s is unfortunately still timely decades later.
5 Q's + 5 A's1) What's your favorite museum?
This is such a tough question! I’m going to cheat slightly and say the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center out in Long Island. We’ve been there so many times, but discover something new with every visit: a record or book on a shelf, a dress hanging in the bedroom. The preserved studio is such a special place. Lee worked there for the rest of her life after Jackson’s death.
2) What's your most coveted coffee table book?
Coffee table books are a big weakness in our home, but currently sitting on our coffee table are Grace Bonney's In the Company of Women and Joni Sternbach's Surf Site Tin Type.
3) You've got $5m to spend on one piece of art. What would it be?
A Maya Lin commission for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, so the borough of Queens could enjoy her genius. I adore her Wave Field at Storm King.
4) If you could be reincarnated as an artist, who would you want to be?
A female Donald Judd.
5) You've helped develop the digital spaces for both the Queens Museum and the Public Art Fund. What role do you feel social media plays in getting people to interact with art? And while we're on the subject...who are your art world social media must-follows?
Social media is a great democratizer of the art experience. Not everyone may feel comfortable walking into a gallery or a museum; this makes it more accessible. Nothing can replace the impact of physically experiencing a work of art, but social media provides a gateway to that experience. And from the perspective of people like me behind the screen, it feels so special to both share our work and get to peer into people’s digital scrapbooks of their interactions with Public Art Fund’s exhibitions. It’s a wonderful two-way street.
It seems @rcembalest sees EVERY exhibition in NYC, I don’t know how she does it! I also love seeing the world through the eyes of artist and educator @pjpolicarpio. One of my favorite feeds is @rockthatmuseumkid, it’s so fun, cute and never fails to put a smile on my face.
And of course, everyone should follow @PublicArtFund!
The 411 on Nora Gomez-Strauss
Born and raised in Queens, NY, Nora spent her undergrad years at SUNY New Paltz pursuing Art Education & Photography, and her grad student life at Pratt Institute studying Arts & Cultural Management. For the past six years, she has been the Public Art Fund’s Director of Digital Strategies, overseeing all digital components of the organization, including its website, archives and social media platforms. Previously, she was at the Queens Museum where she spearheaded the creation of their social media campaign. In her rare spare time she attempts to keep up with one of her first loves, photography, although she admits recently it seems to be more through her iPhone than her Nikon. She currently lives in her native borough with her husband and little boy where they can be found going for long walks, looking at art, listening to records, and escaping to the beach.