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Team Gallery is the brainchild of Jose Freire, a native of New York since the eighties. His vision resulted in the founding of a gallery that put the focus squarely on the artists’s needs. No project seems to be too ambitious for Freire, and his refusal to compromise has struck a chord with both local artistic community as well as artists abroad with well-known names like Ryan McGinley and Corey Arcangel embracing the space. Jose took some time out from his role as gallery founder/director/reptile handler to answer a few questions for us.

How did you find your way into New York’s art world?

My first job was at Phyllis Kind in Soho. Not long after that, I opened my first gallery in Soho in the eighties called Fiction Non-Fiction. I started Team Gallery in 1996 in Chelsea. At the time, we were one of the first dozen galleries to open in that neighbourhood. Ten years later, the gallery moved to Soho, which I thought was a more dynamic place to move into the future.

How would you describe your ethos?

Team is an art gallery that is interested in the larger sphere of contemporary culture, which includes film, music, fashion, and politics. I’ve always insisted on having an international program. I represent artists from Japan, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Austria, Israel, Spain and England, though it is the local New York artists that are most identified with my program. Artists like Cory Arcangel and Ryan McGinley, through their work, are bringing new energy to the art world, and therefore they show the way forward.

New York has always been the premiere destination for art and culture, how do you stand out in a city full of galleries?

Team has an idiosyncratic program open to unconventional exhibition presentations. At the moment, the gallery is home to two live snakes, which are part of an installation by the young Italian artist Massimo Grimaldi. Our artists tend to appeal to younger audiences, and I always strive to keep an eye on what is new and exciting.

Do you think New York City has a distinct artistic identity?

Yes. New York is a great art centre. I am, quite simply, madly in love with New York. Always have been. I never get tired of it. That’s because of the energy of the city, it’s dynamic and diverse and always on the edge of culture. There are so many artists here, young and old, all contributing to a dialogue that is arguably at the centre of the art world.

How do you guys try and deviate from the traditional gallery model?

I think what sets us apart is our program, and the kinds of exhibitions we install. What the artist wants is paramount, and I always try to accommodate their needs first. One thing that may be considered unusual is that all of Team’s employees are closely involved with our artists. In a lot of well-established galleries this is simply not the case. While things are going well for Team, and our artists, you could say that in a lot of ways we are still a mom and pop operation.

How has the internet changed the way you do business?

The internet has changed things a great deal. For one thing, it’s changed the way people look at art. The way art is bought and sold has changed as well, for the better. A gallery’s presence on the web can have a major effect on how the rest of the world interprets its program.

How has the city changed in the past decade?

Things are constantly changing. Lets just say that now there is more of everything that there was before: More galleries, more artists, and more collectors.

For more details on the artists and works exhibited at Team Gallery, hit up their website.

Image of José Freire from Sugarhigh.