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Meet Daria Simone Harper

Multimedia journalist and writer based in Brooklyn, New York

Meet Daria Simone Harper - illustration 1

Portrait of Daria Simone Harper © Jasmine Rose

Daria Simone Harper is a Brooklyn-based cultural journalist and writer challenging the dominant narratives in the world of journalism. She has written for various leading arts and culture publications and hosts her own podcast, The Art of it All, always endeavoring to bring underrepresented voices to the forefront of her work. Join Artsper as we talk to Daria about working in the arts, her upcoming exhibition in Brooklyn, and the place of young artists in today's art world.

1. Hi Daria! Can you tell us about your background and how you became a cultural journalist?

I'm immensely grateful to come from a family who has always valued and encouraged creative expression. I began taking dance classes at a young age, before broadening my scope to singing, taking acting classes, and eventually attended a performing and visual arts high school, which completely changed my life.

I also nurtured a love for reading, writing, and storytelling in various forms throughout my formative years. When I moved to New York some seven years ago to study journalism and design at The New School in Manhattan, I became a little obsessed with the art and culture scene in the city. Every week, I was going to openings, seeing dance shows, and experimental theater; whether I loved or hated what I saw, I felt completely electrified. It became clear to me that this was the space where I needed to use my voice and contribute thoughtful perspectives to the cultural moments that were shaping my world.

2. You write for various art and culture publications, but you also host a podcast, The Art of it All. Why is it important for you to use different mediums to express yourself and what is this podcast bringing you?

Producing and hosting The Art of It All is important for me because it allows me to reach a new audience that might not otherwise engage with the writing I do. As much as I want my podcast to be fun and entertaining, my ultimate hope is that it can be a resource for folks. Especially for younger Black and brown people who are interested in pursuing careers in the arts industry. I wanted to create a podcast that can help to bridge the gap between an art world that is often exclusive and can feel unattainable.

Meet Daria Simone Harper - illustration 1
Meet Daria Simone Harper - illustration 1

On the left: Daria Simone Harper viewing TK at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth © Daria Simone Harper, on the right: Portrait of Daria Simone Harper © Jasmine Rose

3. Your work highlights a lot of emerging artists. Do you feel like it is your duty to give them visibility?

I'm most interested in writing stories about the people, trends, perspectives, and histories that I feel are overlooked by the mainstream art world and throughout larger society. Oftentimes, that tends to include emerging artists for several reasons.

While I'm deeply invested in providing a platform for emerging artists, I'm also open to and have written about artists who are more established in their careers. I'm grateful to the artists that I've worked with so far who trust me to help tell their stories, no matter what stage they're at in their career. Ultimately, I mostly enjoy writing about artists and exhibitions that really mean something to me.

4. How do you choose your subjects for your articles and the artists you want to talk about?

I love this question and I think it builds beautifully on what I began touching on in my previous response. It's incredibly important to me to write about and engage with artists whose work I find truly compelling. Whether I'm drawn to thematic or formal elements of an artist's work, I enjoy writing about what I resonate with. Even if I don't love something but it challenges me and makes me ask questions, that's what I want to write about. That said, my process for deciding what to write about often comes down to intuition.

5. How important is it for journalists to talk about diversity in art? Have you noticed a change in the narratives shared in the art world since you first started your career?

I view my duty as a journalist, writer, and storyteller to crystallize the presence of Black and brown people in the art world and beyond. We live in a world that has repeatedly tried to erase or diminish our history, our contributions, and our existence. Unfortunately, every industry and aspect of society is impacted by this. Rather than talking about diversity, I urge journalists to think more critically about who they're prioritizing in their work and why.

While I have noticed some changes in mainstream art coverage over the years, my focus is making sure these shifts are sustained over time. It's not enough to view telling diverse stories as a trend or some box to check off. We have to ensure that telling stories about artists of varying backgrounds, perspectives, and beliefs, are told (with care!) in a way that goes beyond one-off spotlights or diversity stories. They should simply be part of the norm.

Meet Daria Simone Harper - illustration 1
Meet Daria Simone Harper - illustration 1

On the left: Portrait of Daria Simone Harper © Jasmine Rose, on the right: Daria Simone Harper viewing a 2018 artwork by Lorna Simpson at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth © Daria Simone Harper

6. Do you think the art market is saturated by new and emerging artists nowadays? How hard is it for new artists to find an audience and to make a place for themselves?

I think it all depends on perspective. I do feel that there is a bit of saturation in the market when it comes to emerging artists. But I think there are more tools and resources that exist now to help artists begin building and growing their audience. As challenging as it can be to breakthrough in any industry, I do believe that practicing patience is incredibly important. When you take the time and continuously pour into your craft, hone your distinct voice, and mission, I believe it's only a matter of time before an artist and their audience will find each other organically.

7. Finally, do you have a recent or an upcoming project you would like to share with us?

I do! I'm very excited to share that I'll be making my curatorial debut with a group show at HAUSEN gallery in Brooklyn, NY in early 2023. The exhibition, which primarily features emerging artists, is an investigation of the role that non-verbal forms of communication play in African diasporic communities. The presentation also draws on my background as a dancer and builds on my continued interest in considering the liberatory nature of movement and gesture. More details will be announced soon, so definitely stay tuned!


Their favorite artworks

Pista de baile del club 'Centro Lagunero' (Dance floor of the club 'Centro Lagunero'), Teresa Margolles

Pista de baile del club 'Centro Lagunero' (Dance floor of the club 'Centro Lagunero')

Teresa Margolles

Print - 15.7 x 23.6 inch

$6,021

Morning light in Nice, Omar Logang

Morning light in Nice

Omar Logang

Painting - 51.2 x 90.6 x 1 inch

$14,049