Ana Maria Celis

Ana Maria Celis lives and breathes art and all things beautiful. "I'm lucky to work in an industry where everyone, from the collectors to the dealers and the advisors, are crazy about art, and New York is one of the most exciting places to live and work in the art world." She spends her days working with art, and her weekends are spent at museum shows and the galleries in Chelsea and the Lower East Side. She moved from Venezuela to New York at fifteen, and can't imagine her life anywhere else. "It's a little rough around the edges at times, but on sunny days with clear skies it looks to me like the most beautiful place in the world!"

What can’t you travel without?
My old but trusted camel color Shahtoosh (on “extended loan” from my grandmother’s closet) – it’s light and the best layering piece. Chloe nude color ballerina flats, which go with everything. I am a beauty product junkie, but I travel light with only the essentials. A good face moisturizer is a must, and I substitute perfume for dry body oil to stay moisturized.

What’s your favorite travel destination?
Mexico – breathtaking beaches, and endless options. In a day in Mexico City, you can visit Aztec and Mayan treasures at the Museo Antropológico, see awe-inspiring murals in the city center from Mexican modern masters Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, and visit incredible contemporary art galleries.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in NYC?
I love the pier in Tribeca, and bike by the river or lounge near the water. Sundays always end with a class at the Bari Studio in Tribeca. To complete the perfect Sunday, I’ll book a spot at Aire Ancient Baths for the ultimate unwinding experience. After that, I’m ready to tackle the week ahead.

If you could choose one person to show you “their New York City,” who would it be?
I would love to meet Stanley Bard, the former manager of the Hotel Chelsea. I would love to go back in time and be a wallflower in that lobby in the 60s and 70s.

What are your favorite NYC restaurants?
I’m a diehard sushi fan – ever since Sushi of Gari opened three blocks away from me, I’ve become a regular. For a more traditional Japanese experience, another favorite is Sushi Azabu, and my newest obsession is Sushi Nakazawa.

What’s your go-to spot in NYC for drinks?
I love Smith and Mills.

What are some of your favorite NYC brunch spots?
One of my favorite brunch places is Prune in the East Village. They have the best bloody mary, and I die for their egg “en cocotte.”

Where do you get your art fix in NYC?
I get it at work! The influx of artwork at an auction house is very exciting. On any given day, I’ll look at new pieces as they come in, visit a collector’s home for an appraisal, and end my day in Chelsea to check out some openings.

What are some of your favorite late-night hangouts in NYC?
I love the feel of Paul’s Baby Grand – the tropical wallpaper and Josh Smith’s bright colored paintings transport me to another time, and the drinks are amazing. 

What are some of your favorite NYC stores?
De Vera and Ted Muehling are some of my favorite stores for beautiful little treasures. I love American Two Shot and Creatures of Comfort for a great mix of cool, casual wear.

What music are you listening to these days, and who are some of your favorite musicians?
Since Lou Reed’s death last year I have been listening to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground almost every day. It also seems to be an especially appropriate soundtrack around the auction season when I’m surrounded by art from the 60s and 70s.

What album or song would you consider your personal soundtrack to NYC?
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones.

When you think of NYC, are there any particular emotions or memories that immediately come to mind?
After living in Venezuela, the feeling of freedom and security that I felt when I moved to New York is something that I will never forget and continue to cherish. I relish the weekends where I just stroll aimlessly through the city streets.