ArtMuse tours are organized by Natasha Schlesinger, an award-winning art historian and art consultant who has been working in the art field for the past 20 years, specializing in the history of fine and decorative arts. Natasha was a specialist in European furniture at Christie’s Auction house as well as a partner in the international consulting firm, Meridienne LLC. She has lectured both at Christie’s and Sotheby’s and was an instructor in the graduate program for the study of decorative arts at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New School.
Natasha is now the Art Curator of the Surrey Hotel. Natasha conceives and curates exhibitions that connect the hotel’s permanent collection to what is happening in contemporary art today.
In addition, her most recent contribution will be unveiled in May with the commission by artist Peter Gerakaris of a floating garden piece on the rooftop of the hotel.
Natasha holds a Master’s degree in the Decorative Arts from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Culture and Design. In 2005, Natasha received an award from ArtTable as one of the Future Leaders of the Art World. Natasha Is also a founder of the children’s museum program ArtXplorers and creator and co-producer of the art series ArtXplorers.
Schlesinger’s love of art began during her childhood in Russia, where she accompanied her father on visits to the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum. Her father, Alexander Livshits, was a well-known Russian comedian and entertainer as well as an educator and art collector.
When Schlesinger had her first child, Sophia, she began taking her to museums as her father had done with her. But she found herself dissatisfied with many of the education programs, especially since many of them were not designed to suit different age groups. So Schlesinger began doing her own legwork, coming up with creative ways to give Sophia an engaging experience.
It dawned on her that the art education she was giving her children was something she could offer to other kids, too. In 2001 she launched a program called Museum Adventures with her friend Jennifer Ratner, a pediatric oncologist. In 2004, Schlesinger became the program’s sole operator. By now a mom of three (son Julian and daughter Annabelle followed Sophia), she expanded her offerings to include more classes, birthday parties, book clubs, and audio tours, and changed the name to ArtKids to better reflect the spirit of the program. “I bring the kids to the art, and the art to the kids,” she says. Before long, the children’s parents were asking Schlesinger to provide tours for them as well, so she created ArtMuse, a program offering tours for adults.” -NY Family Magazine, Where the Art Is,by Shaina Gopen, August 2009
In 2005 Natasha Schlesinger received the prestigious 25th Anniversary Future Women Leadership Award from ARTTABLE, a national nonprofit membership organization for professional women in leadership positions in the visual arts. The organization serves the arts community and the public by the exchange of ideas and information through its educational development, mentoring, and networking programs.