Collector, Gallerist, Champion of the Arts, Talking with Frank Maresca
American Fine Arts – 2012
“Frank Maresca studied at New Yorks fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Pace University with the intent of becoming a commercial photographer. Not only did he follow his dream, he became an outstanding photographer working on many well-known advertising campaigns during the 1970s and early 80s. Although he was passionate about photography, something was missing in his career. Fast-forward a couple of years and Frank, along with his business partner, Roger Ricco, found themselves the owners of an eponymous gallery. Photography soon became an avocation for Frank as Ricco/Maresca flourished. Today Ricco/Maresca Gallery focuses on contemporary and 20th-century American art in various media from the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district. I spoke with Frank as he was returning from a weekend in Connecticut to the chaotic cornucopia that is part of the fabric of New York: a city whose very pulse beats with his own.
ERIC COHLER: I’m going to dive right in—when did you begin collecting? Somehow I have a suspicion that it was quite early.
FRANK MARESCA: You are spot-on. I actually started at the age of 5 when I asked my uncle, who was a curator for the American Museum of Natural History, for and 18th-century Persian mortar and pestle.
EC: Hold on. Not just a run-of-the-mill mortar and pestle, but a Persian one? At age 5?
FM: We lived in Brooklyn, which to me was a mythis place filled with magical people, and there was an old-world pharmacy around the corner that had numerous antique pharmaceutical implements in the window. Most were labeled as to what they were and their origin. i had started reading by the time I was 5 and somehow the idea of an ancient piece of history, one that was Persian, intrigued me. Not that I fully understood what Persia was, let alone where it was. I was just plain smitten.”