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HB381 in Cultured Magazine

When it comes to collectible Nordic art and design, you would be hard-pressed to find two American dealers better versed than Kim Hostler and Juliet Burrows, life partners who founded their eponymous Manhattan gallery 25 years ago, before Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl were household names. Today, Hostler Burrows has a second location on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, as well as an art gallery, HB381, in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, which specializes in contemporary sculpture and ceramics—an offshoot of their passion for Nordic sensibilities and a curatorial outlet for Burrows, who has organized 10 shows, with six accompanying artist catalogs thus far.

“We obsess over everything,” says Hostler of the pair’s success and longevity in a Google-dominated world where vintage Arne Jacobsen is a fairly easy find. “[Our offering is] super edited. We're invested in how everything is supposed to look, how it will feel, the whole experience with each piece.” Put simply, she adds, “It’s about our taste."

While their 10th Street New York flagship proved a timeless design locus, the couple came to realize that an art hub it was not. “We did several exhibitions in that space, and we didn’t get the traffic," recalls Burrows of the decision to debut HB381 south of Canal St. last year. "And we wanted more art world eyes on the work. Building on the response at fairs like Design Miami and Fog, we wanted to offer greater exposure for the artists.”

Since then, they’ve mounted exhibits in their new space from the likes of Danish glass artist Bjørn Friborg—his first solo presentation in the U.S.—and Helsinki-based Jasmin Anoschkin, whose “Supercharged Lollipop Valley” conjured a folk-meets-Pop art fantasy that stopped plenty of downtown foot traffic.

On view this winter: Steen Ipsen’s glossy ceramic sculptures, which showcase organic abstraction at its finest. “It’s wonderful that craft has been embraced by the art world,” says Burrows, who was originally a dancer. “There's something about a sculpture that’s alive. It's like movement. It’s like dance.” 

Reflecting on a journey that includes 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008, Hostler admits, “At the beginning it was about personal freedom, being able to pay the bills, and being able to work around beautiful things.” As Hostler Burrows rounds 25 years, what have its founders learned about themselves and the art world's volatility?

“If you can find something beautiful and somebody else wants to have it in their home, that’s a good feeling,” muses Hostler. “Working in beauty feels like such a privilege and a luxury itself. You open a door and you try something. If it doesn’t work, you close the door and try something else. We’re free."

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