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Meet Julian Bermudez of Bermudez Projects in Downtown LA and Northeast LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julian Bermudez.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I wanted to be a fashion editor for Vogue Magazine. However, life and circumstances didn’t allow that opportunity to happen (at the time); and I knew I wanted to work in a creative industry. Since I couldn’t just pack up and move to New York, I stayed in Los Angeles to study journalism and fine art, hoping there would be a way to fuse the two areas of interest. It wasn’t too long before I realized I was not a good artist and, instead found my way into art history, which felt more in line with my interests and personality.

While at UCLA, I was an intern at LACMA, which led me to the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, which led me to my first full-time museum job at Pacific Asia Museum. I learned a lot from working in a number of departments within the museum system: education, collections management, development, and…curatorial.

Being a curator, it seemed to me, was akin to being a fashion editor and/or the editor of a magazine.

So, curatorial is where I decided to hone my skills.

It wasn’t easy at first (actually, to this day, there are new challenges that come up). Working within the museum environment, I became keenly aware of the bureaucracy and hierarchy that pervades many cultural institutions.

Thankfully, I had an amazing manager (at Pacific Asia Museum) who believed in me. She encouraged me (and the museum) to foster my creativity. She championed my desire to expand my knowledge of museums, which took me to becoming a founding member of the Getty’s Leadership Institute’s NextGen Program.

After curating a few exhibitions for Pacific Asia Museum (and at the Cartoon Art Museum as a guest curator), I began curating pop-up exhibitions for contemporary artists here in Los Angeles, having the good fortune of finding partners to host these events.

However, there was one particular artist for whom I could not find an appropriate venue. And, I knew I needed to secure a space in order to keep the momentum of these exhibitions going.

So, as the saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention.

Enter: Bermudez Projects.

I started with a small space in DTLA (which is still in operation), exhibiting emerging artists and having a series of sold-out shows. Five years later, I opened a second space in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Cypress Park, exhibiting mid-career artists and hosting museum-caliber exhibitions.

The gallery has participated in two of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time Participating Gallery programs; we have launched a highly-anticipated biennial called SPACELAND; we have expanded our partnerships to include corporations in both the public and private sectors; and we continue to present over 20 exhibitions a year, which are hosted either at our DTLA or NELA space, or at one of our corporate partners’ locations.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Institutional bureaucracy and traditional ideologies can oftentimes pose challenges, especially when you represent the counter to what is commonplace. Learning how to reach across the aisle and find common ground, while not losing sight of yourself or your vision, is an opportunity that can born from adversity.

Please tell us about Bermudez Projects.
Bermudez Projects’ mission is to present dynamic works by the next generation of contemporary American artists.

Our multi-platform arts program is dedicated to increasing public access to the visual arts through exhibits, publications, events, video and sound, and social media.

Our strength is in our passion for the art and artists; in our commitment to fostering creativity; and in encouraging audiences from all over the world to experience art.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The continued support and belief from artists, collectors, museums, visitors, clients, partners, family, and friends is one of the true ways of gauging if I am in alignment.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Josh Patterson, Larry Underhill, Julian Bermudez

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