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Movers & Shakers

We See You: Isolde Brielmaier

Isolde you so: The Deputy Director of the New Museum is herself a classic.

DP’s series of the people—young, old, and everyone in between—who most intrigue us.

Why we’re watching her:
Brielmaier is at the beating heart of New York’s art scene, serving as Deputy Director of the New Museum as well as Guest Curator at the International Center for Photography.

Where to catch her in the wild:
Good luck with that. Brielmaier is one of the brainiest, busiest women in town. Along with her day job, she is Professor of Critical Studies at NYU’s Tisch Department of Photography, Imaging and Emerging Media. And somehow she still manages to show up at every important opening.

Style to spare:
While she’s not afraid of a sharp suit, Brielmaier truly shines in her favored bold midi dresses. She has brought her curatorial touch to brands from Gucci and Versace to the Peninsula Hotels Group and Moët Hennessy.

Brielmaier grew up in Seattle, where she started performing as a ballerina at age seven. She kept dancing through her twenties in New York, getting a PhD from Columbia University.  

Aha moment:
Brielmaier told Buzzfeed that a photograph of her (very dashing) grandparents had a huge impact. “This portrait of my paternal grandparents’ wedding day is everything to me—the beauty, dignity, grace, and quiet elegance. At a time when all we saw were colonial representations of Africa and Africans, this image counters it all.”

Commitment issues:
Devoted to fostering greater representation inside and outside the art world, Brielmaier serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association as well as an advisor to Malaika, an all-girls school in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Party spirit animal:
The eagle, adept at spotting talent from far afield and powerful enough to make others see what she sees.

Where we see her in five years:
Is there a major museum that wouldn’t want her? We think not.

Hero image: Brielmaier wearing Gucci at Art Production Fund’s 2023 Gala. Photo by Joe Schildhorn & Darian DiCianno/

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