Mariane Ibrahim & Marieluise Hessel
Find Your Tribe

Noor Brara, artnet news, October 29, 2019

“From One Woman to Another,” a five-part series co-produced by artnet News and Mark Cross, features intimate, candid conversations between eminent women at the pinnacle of the art industry and a mentor or protégé of their choosing, paired with original photography by David Lipman.


In the third installment of the series, artnet News’s Noor Brara interviewed gallerist Mariane Ibrahim and her mentor, Marieluise Hessel, a collector, scholar, and co-founder of Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies.


Chicago-based gallerist Mariane Ibrahim is easily one of the most-watched rising stars of her generation.


The French-Somali dealer has garnered attention for making a concerted effort to represent a roster of emerging artists—primarily those from Africa and the African diaspora—who work in particularly nuanced, sophisticated ways. With an eye to building an energetic community of like-minded artists, collectors, and dealers, Ibrahim is not shy about her ambition to be an agent for change—not only in the art world, but also in the city and country in which she resides. 


In many ways, Marieluise Hessel, the German-born collector, shares the same ethos. Her collection, housed in the Hessel Museum at Bard College’s elite Center for Curatorial Studies, which she co-founded in 1992, consists of more than 2,000 artworks by international artists. Her passion for learning about these artists has bonded her to Ibrahim, beginning a relationship that they now describe as familial.


We spoke to Ibrahim and Hessel about how they connected; how they talk about representation, race, and politics in the art world; and what advice they have for young women in the art industry today.