AN ARTFUL LUNCH WITH BERNICE STEINBAUM / by Eric Monteiro

 Bernice Steinbaum

Bernice Steinbaum

We’ve always been inspired by the work of renowned gallerist, Bernice Steinbaum, and the artists she represents, so we designed a beautiful luncheon to celebrate Bernice and to highlight how food and art correlate.

Bernice gathered some of her friends at her private home and gallery on Tigertail Avenue, what ensued was a celebration of fine art, culinary art and friendship, with a little champagne!

The inspiration for the menu was Bernice’s dining room where most of the art on display is the work of Chinese American contemporary artist, Hung Liu, previously represented by Bernice for over 30 years. Bernice graciously gave us a tour of her home and private collection, and spoke to us about her art, her artists and what motivates her.

 Alina Isambert & Bernice Steinbaum

Alina Isambert & Bernice Steinbaum

When Alina suggested a luncheon at my house because she loved the art, I was challenged, I wanted to make an art table for her because the food she has served for me, and for many events, has been extraordinarily artful. So the table today was set with my best china, I think that the last time I used it was two years ago, the silver was polished, and the Champagne is good. I thought that I had to reach her standards in terms of the food we were going to have.
— Bernice Steinbaum
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As they arrived, guests were offered champagne in crystal glasses and a selection of Thierry Isambert’s signature hors d’oeuvres: Veal Saltimbocca (Parmigiano Polenta, Sage Sauce, Prosciutto Crisp;) Caramelized Peking Duck (Tapioca Chips, Asian Guacamole;) Fresh Cobia (Compressed Green Apple, Spicy Pear Puree & Yuzu Caviar) and Vertical Foie Gras (Mirin Reduction.)

Appetizers

 WHIMSICAL SALAD: Heirloom Carrot, Lettuce Crown, Matcha Sponge, Olive Crumb, Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

WHIMSICAL SALAD: Heirloom Carrot, Lettuce Crown, Matcha Sponge, Olive Crumb, Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

 Pho: Vietnamese Bone Broth is infused with spices , cilantro, mint and Thai basil. Thinly shaved raw beef instantly cooks as the hot broth is poured over it. A light, aromatic soup sets the tone for an Asian-inspired menu.

Pho: Vietnamese Bone Broth is infused with spices , cilantro, mint and Thai basil. Thinly shaved raw beef instantly cooks as the hot broth is poured over it. A light, aromatic soup sets the tone for an Asian-inspired menu.

Entrées

 Sambuca Salmon, with Brava Purée, Green Romanesco & Honey Wheat Toast

Sambuca Salmon, with Brava Purée, Green Romanesco & Honey Wheat Toast

 Aka Ushi Local Wagyu Beef with Truffle Wafu, Japanese Mushroom Risotto & Maitake Mushrooms

Aka Ushi Local Wagyu Beef with Truffle Wafu, Japanese Mushroom Risotto & Maitake Mushrooms

 Organic Poularde, Sliced truffles, Wild Rice Pilaf & Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.

Organic Poularde, Sliced truffles, Wild Rice Pilaf & Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.

Desserts

The luncheon closed on a high note with an array of three desserts: Peche Velour (Peach Confit, Almond Cremeux, Caramel Peach & Orange Sorbet,) Fraise Demi Dome (Cheesecake, Strawberry Sorbet, Fresh Strawberry & Gold Leaf,) and a Charlotte’s Reveal (Lady Fingers, Chocolate Mousse Indulgence & Dulce de Leche, revealed with a warm Creme Anglaise.)

 Charlotte’s Reveal

Charlotte’s Reveal

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Bernice Steinbaum is both a pioneer in the art world and a pioneer in women’s activism, but as she puts it: “What’s curious about all of that, about being a pioneer, is that I don’t want to be a pioneer because usually pioneers have a vision and I didn’t have a vision, I just did the right thing. It’s so simple, and I don’t know that I should be credited and given gold stars and these lovely lunches.”

   Great American Romance of Production:   Six painted and embroidered canvasses, graphite on wall, wall embroidery by artist,  Carrie Sieh

Great American Romance of Production: Six painted and embroidered canvasses, graphite on wall, wall embroidery by artist, Carrie Sieh

Before opening her first gallery in New York, in the 1970s, Bernice was teaching at a university where most of her students were getting their MFA. When they went around the galleries in New York, there were almost no women represented. Determined to show women artists, she went on to open her own gallery on 72nd and Madison. She didn’t represent women exclusively, but at least 50% were women, and they were Asian, Latin, Native American, and African American.

“The work was good! If I did not tell you who the artists were, you would say “This is good work!” I would like to come to a point where I don’t have to tell you what the nationality or ethnicity of a person is. Good art is good art, but at the time, I was a pioneer, I was the only dealer in NY that chose to represent women and artists from diverse backgrounds, and 50% women was unheard of, even today, most people would have a hard time mentioning 10 women artists that are household names.”

Bernice represented artists in New York for 23 years before moving to Miami where she opened a gallery and was the first commercial art dealer in Wynwood, making her a leader in the city’s burgeoning local art scene in the early 2000s. After 15 years in Wynwood, Bernice closed the doors to her gallery and moved her private collection to her beautiful home on Tigertail Avenue in Coconut Grove.

Closing her Wynwood Gallery was supposed to mean retirement for Bernice but she continues to represent artists and curate shows, and the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in her Coconut Grove residence is open by appointment.

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Bernice discusses the work of Cuban artist, Aurora Molina. Satirical political scenes made with embroidery.

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Artist: Deborah Simon

ursus maritimus (side view), 2012
polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam
22”h x 25”d x 19”w

Photography: Olga Miljko