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In Profile


by Sarah Schmerler

Andra Russek doesn’t remember the exact details of the opening day of Scheinbaum & Russek Gallery in Santa Fe in October 1980, but she does remember that it was sunny out, and that lots of people were on the front porch. Not bad, considering she was four years old. While she played outdoors (the gallery’s adobe-style dwelling was also her home), such luminaries as Paul Caponigro, Judy Dater, Willard Van Dyke, and Beaumont Newhall were in attendance. Today, Andra holds a degree in photo history from Bard, has done tours of duty with Sotheby’s and Swann Galleries, and is a certified appraiser – not to mention that she co-runs the gallery with its founders, her mother Janet Russek and step-father David Scheinbaum. After the gallery’s current exhibition (a retrospective of Sebastião Salgado) comes down on August 29, the family will hang a show honoring their 35th-anniversary, opening September 12, and many of those same people will be represented with work on the walls. “I am always told that I have the coolest parents in the world,” says Andra, “and though I know I can never be as cool as they are, I feel very, very fortunate.”

David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek both hail from Brooklyn, where they met in the late 1970s. Scheinbaum, a photographer since his youth, had a successful teaching career in New York, yet he couldn’t shake the conviction that the only way to grow his artistic vision would be to move to Santa Fe and seek out his idol Beaumont Newhall. Russek, who had recently separated from her first husband and was raising two small children (Jon and Andra) while pursuing her own career as a photographer and printmaker, was willing to let theirs become a long-distance relationship if it meant David following that dream. Newhall welcomed Scheinbaum, who went on to become his assistant for many years; and in the summer of 1980 Russek, her two children, and Scheinbaum moved into the adobe house in Santa Fe. (They married in 1982, and had a third child, Zac, in 1987).

 “For us the gallery was very much an outgrowth of our photography and our mentors,” says Scheinbaum. “We always tried to balance our work and our family and give each other space.” Russek became Eliot Porter’s assistant; when she needed to go to his studio, she would bring along a crib. When Scheinbaum was teaching at the College of Santa Fe, or serving on the board of the Santa Fe Center for Photography, the crib would come into the gallery. By the mid 1980s, business was booming, and the gallery scaled up to a more commercial space in the Guadalupe neighborhood. Then, seven years later, something felt wrong. One busy weekend, Russek was making a list of tasks on a legal pad. “The list went on for three pages,” she recalls. “I said to David: Maybe we should stop being a public gallery. We’ll never get through this list and still be happy.” They scaled back from ten shows a year to four or five, and business became more internet- and client-based. And now, of course, they have Andra, who happens to be a whiz at collections management. “I’m the woman behind the curtain,” she says. “I got great experience in New York City, but I still wanted to come back home and have this be the first gallery where I worked. It’s definitely not a stuffy place.”

archives

2015

July - August 2015
Scheinbaum & Russek Gallery

May - June 2015
Crista Dix

March - April 2015
Esa Epstein

January - February 2015
Joseph Bellows

2014

November - December 2014
Miyako Yoshinaga

September - October 2014
Terry Etherton

July - August 2014
Corinne Tapia

May - June 2014
Laurence Miller

March - April 2014
Rachel Smith

January - February 2014
Peter Fetterman

2013

November - December 2013
Margy Dudley

September - October 2013
Howard Greenberg

July - August 2013
Keith de Lellis

May - June 2013
Paul Kopeikin

March - April 2013
L. Parker Stephenson

January - February 2013
Scott Nichols

2012

November - December 2012
Martin Weinstein

September - October 2012
Steven Kasher

July - August 2012
Joseph Carroll

May - June 2012
Robert Anderson

March - April 2012
Andrea Meislin

January - February 2012
Etheleen Staley and Takouhy (“Taki”) Wise

2011

November - December 2011
Bryce Wolkowitz

September - October 2011
Julie Saul

July - August 2011
Mary Virginia Swanson

May - June 2011
Gus Kayafas

March - April 2011
Peter MacGill

January - February 2011
David Moore

2010

November - December 2010
Bonni Benrubi

September - October 2010
Rick Wester

July - August 2010
Jay and Rose Deutsch

May - June 2010
Robert Mann

March - April 2010
Catherine Edelman

January - February 2010
Pamela Schoenberg

2009

January - February 2009
Karen Jenkins-Johnson

March - April 2009
Deborah Bell

May - June 2009
Jeffrey Fraenkel

July - August 2009
Mark Pinsukanjana, Bryan Yedinak

September - October 2009
Yancey Richardson

November - December 2009
Hans P. Kraus, Jr.

2008

March - April 2008
Nailya Alexander

May - June 2008
Stephen Bulger

July - August 2008
Sidney Monroe

September - October 2008
Amy Miller

November - December 2008
Sasha Wolf

2007

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Bruce Silverstein

September - October 2007
Candace Dwan

July - August 2007
Ariel Shanberg

March - April 2007
Ellen Harris

January - February 2007
Paul Amador

2006

January - February 2006
Martin McNamara

March - April 2006
Michael Foley

May - June 2006
Dan Cooney

July - August 2006
Wilson Scanlan

September - October 2006
Daniel Power

November - December 2006
Sharon Tanenbaum

2005

January - February 2005
Tom Gitterman

March - April 2005
Yossi Milo

May - June 2005
Arlette Kayafas

September - October 2005
Brian Clamp

November - December 2005
Sarah Hasted

2004

September - October 2004
Ariel Meyerowitz

November - December 2004
Anna Walker Skillman