Founded in 2008, the Charest-Weinberg Gallery, located in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood district, has already joined an elite core of Miami art venues, both private and institutional. Eric Charest-Weinberg, at 25, a young dealer by any standard, quickly noted the obvious benefits of the influx of international galleries participating in the vast network of fairs during the month of December. With his eyes set on Miami from the beginning of his career, Eric first apprenticed under Brian Brisson, a respected long-time dealer in Montreal’s Old Port District, where Charest-Weinberg was raised, and later as sole proprietor of his own successful gallery/experimental laboratory in Key West.
Eager to step up his level of programming, fully internationalize his roster, and interface with a much more sophisticated and receptive peer group of collectors, critics, and curators, Eric inaugurated his architect-designed space in Wynwood with more than enough requisite business savvy, but -- more importantly -- with an exceedingly proactive creative philosophy. To wit: a flexible, fluid, highly mobile philosophy completely divergent from the surrounding galleries who -- though often blessed with a decade or more of experience – seemed resigned to the fact that Miami is, and will always remain, a seasonal phenomenon. In short, contrary to many young gallerists with similar entrepreneurial ambitions, he had done five years of on-site research specifically devoted to ascertaining the core elements needed to elevate Miami beyond its growing reputation as a commercial juggernaut in the winter months, and one in which the entirety of the Miami culture-industry competes year-round with more established art centers like New York, London, and Berlin.
Eric Charest-Weinberg then, immediately intuited that his priorities would always be two-fold: first, as a dogged promoter, sounding-board, and friendly confidante to his small stable of artists; and second – but of equal importance – as a relentless proselytizer for Miami’s untapped potential even without a major graduate Fine Arts program; its raggamuffin but determined underground art scene; and its need to provide opportunities both locally and abroad for its homegrown talent, habitually lost at the moment of impending success to scouts and power-brokers from Los Angeles and New York. Further, and with an insane amount of energy and dedication, Charest-Weinberg realized he would always be simultaneously juggling these two complementary priorities as both were inextricably dependent on each other for both the success of his gallery, his artists, and Miami as a whole.
And while in recent years it has become an endless refrain among art-pundits to note the nomadic existence of the contemporary artist – jetting from Biennials in Turkey to fairs in Mexico City, to private commissions in an Italian villa – Charest-Weinberg is from a new generation of dealers equally ready to embrace this role himself as nimble, globe-trotting purveyor of avante-garde ideas (and their creators) as a first principle. Cultural ambassador, civic booster, committed promoter of a necessarily small coterie of artists as equally ready and willing as Eric is to – as the saying goes – take the show on the road, the core values of the gallery have always been, and will continue to remain: mobility, mobility, mobility.
This core philosophy is most evident in Charest-Weinberg’s steadfast commitment to mount exclusively solo presentations of his artists wherever he travels or the opportunity arises. In this sense, he demonstrates a rare patience, in that he is not concerned with presenting a total glimpse of his entire program, but realizes that with time on his side and through the dedication and concentration on a single artist’s needs, the public will come to better know, understand, and appreciate all of his artists simply through the extremely hands-on, one-on-one dialog, and ultimately the personal meeting of the minds between each and every one of his artists.
To that end, exhibitions at Charest-Weinberg are and will continue to be in excess of two months. Eric believes that with the massive proliferation of galleries and the increasing demands of a fully global art calendar, longer exhibitions are the key to providing him with the requisite time to introduce his stable outside of Miami, but also to meet with each and every person in South Florida, from the amateur enthusiast to the hard-core cadre of super-collectors whose long-term financial and personal commitments to local Miami art originally made the scene a force to be reckoned with. Further consolidating this mindset, Charest-Weinberg, a subtle contrarian averse to trends by nature and disposition, is not interested in becoming a clearing house for all schools of art, either formal or by choice of media. The developing profile of his gallery will rely on his personal gut, instict, a breadth of travel, but without the “strategic” attempt to be all things to all people. As previously mentioned, the roster will remain small, equally energetic, familial -- and above all -- in constant contact with each other. And like most families, each will demonstrate his own unique sensibility, mark out a particular historical territory, and any overlap in aesthetic concerns will be kept to a minimum.