Cris Dam

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Cris Dam
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Anchorage, Alaska
EducationParsons School of Design
Known forMural, abstract art
MovementPop Art, Light and Space, Surrealism

Cris Dam (b. 1976) is a Spanish-American visual artist, entrepreneur, gallerist, and real estate developer. Dam is known as the cofounder of Dam Stuhltrager Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the founder of Ursa Gallery in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His commissioned murals can be found at public sites in both the United States and Europe. His real estate developments on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport and his projects in the Arcade Mall are a key component in the reinvigoration of the city as reported in the New York Times.[1]


Cris Dam was born in Anchorage, Alaska. He grew up in Granada, Spain, where he trained as a painter. He attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. His studio resides in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and he lives in nearby Westport, Connecticut, with his wife, the renowned Alexander Calder scholar, Susan Braeuer Dam.[2] Braeuer Dam is a director at the Calder Foundation in New York.[3]

Art Career

Dam Stuhltrager Gallery

In 1998, Dam cofounded Dam Stuhltrager Gallery, with partner Leah Stuhltrager, becoming an early gallerist to propel Williamsburg, Brooklyn, into an art mecca. Dam Stuhltrager was an original member of WGA (Williamsburg Gallery Association) and founded WAC (Williamsburg Art Central). Artists who in part jumpstarted their career at Dam Stuhltrager include William Powhida, Loren Munk, Mark Esper, Carol Salmanson, Eric Doeringer, Randy Polumbo, Jeff Schneider, and Ruth Marshall, with early critical reception from Art Forum,[4] 11211 magazine, Artnet,[5] and the Brooklyn Rail.

Dam’s career as a painter began to receive significant reception in the early 2000s.[6] "In a way, [Dam's] paintings are a throwback to an earlier age, a time before it was required for every artist to have a strategy, a convenient philosophical or stylistic formula, a gimmick … These new paintings are smaller and simpler, iconic though more rigorous, refined to distill the significant form by a reduction of complexity, and extending relevant humanistic abstraction through a meditative subtraction." His studio was also featured in the James Kalm Report.[7]

Dam Stulhtrager moved to Berlin in 2012.[8]

International Commissions

From 2000 on, Dam traveled internationally for commissions and shows in Germany, Istanbul, and Russia. Commissioned murals can be found in Stamford, Connecticut, at Lorca Coffee Shop; Jacksonville, Florida, at the Florida Life Building; and Berlin, Germany, at the Kunsthalle Bethanian/Ökozentrum, and Lagari. In many of the locations Dam activated the community, often engaging local schools and children to assist in the creation of the site.[9]

Ursa Gallery

In 2017, Dam relocated his gallery to the Arcade Mall in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he became an notable figure in the Fairfield County art community.[10] He is most known for his light paintings, the largest of which spans six feet, in which the bulb is transformed from its historical place as a subject matter to a medium. Utilizing what James Turrell calls that “thingness” of light as a malleable substance, in these works Dam juxtaposed the tangible with the intangible.[11]

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Dam founded Ursa Gallery, conceived in collaboration with architect Dustin Malstrom, to curate shows and discover artists whose work is relevant to current times and culture. [12] Collaborators include the London Calling Collective,[13], Colorblends, SHIM Art Network, Bridgeport Art Trail, Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District, WPKN radio station, and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC).


In 2010, Dam starred in "Crocker," a short directed by James Kendi and debuting Bobbi Salvör Menuez.[14] The film also starred, alongside Dam, art dealer Louis Shannon, son of artist Tom Shannon.[15]


In 2023, Dam received the Fairfield County ACE Awards for his contributions as an artist and real estate developer. Other awardees include Paul Newman.[16]


Lorca Coffee Roasters

In 2022, Dam purchased real estate on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to build out Lorca Coffee Roasters, an outgrowth of Lorca Coffee Shop in Stamford. Lorca has been awarded Moffly Media's Best of the Gold Coast for the past several years.[17] Noted patrons include Ned Lamont and Caroline Simmons.[18]


  4. "Dam Stuhltrager Gallery, Brooklyn." Artforum. 2007.
  6. Kalm, James. "ArtSeen: Cristobal Dam." The Brooklyn Rail. May 2004.
  7. James Kalm Report: Studio Visit with Cris Dam.
  9. "One Spark Project Lets Kids Paint Laura Street Trio Building." NPR, WJCT News. April 19, 2013.
  10. O’Neill, Tara. "Bridgeport’s open studios welcome community." Connecticut Post. November 11, 2017.
  11. Hennessy, Christina. "Artist Cris Dam Throws the Switch on a New Series". Connecticut Post. May 28, 2018.
  12. "Why Small Businesses Matter in Bridgeport: Ursa Gallery". HamletHub. February 16, 2021.
  13. Yaniv, Etty. "In Accordion Time, Unfolding: A Pandemic Archive at Ursa Gallery." Art Spiel. December 30, 2020.

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