Ethan Cohen (gallerist)

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Ethan Cohen
Born (1961-01-05) January 5, 1961 (age 63)
Alma materHarvard University

Ethan Cohen (born January 5, 1961) is an American collector and art dealer based in New York City who specialises in contemporary Chinese art and contemporary African art.[1] He was one of the first western dealers to sell work by contemporary Japanese and Chinese artists including Ushio Shinohara and Ai Weiwei. He has been called "one of the most influential art dealers in the world".[2] Forbes praised his gallery as an "exemplar in the field", putting on "resplendent, probing shows".[3]

Life and career[edit]

He was born to Jerome A. Cohen, an expert in Chinese law[4] and Joan Lebold Cohen, a photographer in California. Cohen's passion for Asian art was greatly influence by his parents. They collected works by young Chinese artist at the time when no galleries were interested in representing Chinese contemporary art. Cohen studied in China in the late 1980s.[1]

The first work Ethan Cohen purchased was made by Kong Bai Ji. His love for Chinese art grew deeper after graduating from Harvard College where he majored in East Asian Studies. He then decided to promote and curate Chinese art on his own while working as a designer at Diane Von Furstenberg. Cohen found a space on Greene St and established Art Waves Ethan Cohen Gallery in 1987. In the 1980s he became friend and patron of the young Ai Weiwei, now one of the most famous contemporary Chinese artists.[5] He showed artwork made by artists of The Stars Group, which is the most significant avart-garde art group formed during cultural revolution.[6]

He has visited Dafen Village in China to advise Chinese painters on how to break into the international art market.[7]

Ethan Cohen Fine Arts[edit]

Ethan Cohen Gallery was founded in 1987 as Art Waves/Ethan Cohen in SoHo, New York City. It was the first gallery to present the Chinese Avant Garde of the '80s to the United States.[8] He has represented artists including Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing, Gu Wenda, Zhao Bandi,[9] Wang Keping and Qiu Zhijie. Ethan Cohen Fine Arts today represents a diverse global mix of art, including contemporary American, African, Iranian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Pakistani and Thai, from emerging and established artists.


  1. ^ a b Driscoll, Ian (June 15, 2007). "Chinese painting's long march". Financial Times.
  2. ^ "True/False Film Festival 2013: Cutie and the Boxer and Manhunt". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  3. ^ "We've Tried War, Politics, Money, Religion - Let Us Support Those Who Try Culture". Forbes. November 29, 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Ai Weiwei wins White Box award for "defending human rights against oppression"". Art Radar Journal. May 2, 2013. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  5. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (May 13, 2011). "Before Fame, or Jail, Ai Weiwei Was a New York 'Starving Artist'". New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  6. ^ Jane DeBevoise, Oct 15, 2009
  7. ^ Wong, Winnie Won Yin (24 March 2014). Van Gogh on Demand: China and the Readymade. ISBN 9780226024929.
  8. ^ "Ethan Cohen Fine Arts (ECFA)". NY Art Beat. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  9. ^ Pollack, Barbara (2004). "Chinese Photography: Beyond Stereotypes". Artnews. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

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