Vito Schnabel

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Posted by on October 24, 2011

Sotheby's as a Gallery

Group show curated by Vito Schnabel

Sotheby's as a Gallery
Photo: Oto Gillen

Written by Carol Vogel on October 20, 2011 for The New York Times

For years auction houses have looked beyond the gavel and done exactly what dealers do. They conduct private sales and run art galleries. Some have even been known to champion the careers of contemporary artists. Now Sotheby’s has transformed part of the second floor of its York Avenue headquarters into a selling and exhibition gallery. Called S2, the space was designed by the Manhattan architect Richard Gluckman, who also created the building’s sun-filled 10th-floor galleries, where works destined for auction are usually displayed.

“It’s all part of a long-term plan to increase private sales,” said Tobias Meyer, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department worldwide. “I wanted to create a destination to best see art outside of the auction room.”

Like a new restaurant, S2 had a soft opening last month, with an exhibition of paintings by Sam Francis. A few were from the artist’s estate, but most came from dealers and collectors. Mr. Meyer said Sotheby’s ended up selling “a significant portion” of the show. (He declined to say how much money Sotheby’s made from the exhibition.)

For its next act — and the official opening of the space — Sotheby’s will present a show called “These Days.” On view from Thursday through Nov. 11, it is being organized by Vito Schnabel, a curator, manager and dealer who is the 25-year-old son of Julian Schnabel, the painter and filmmaker.

“We wanted to show young artists so as not to compete with the works in our November sales,” Mr. Meyer said, referring to next month’s contemporary art auctions, which are filled with more established artists.

Rather than organize the show around one or two artists or explore a specific theme, Mr. Schnabel decided to use all the art from his own apartment at Palazzo Chupi, the elder Mr. Schnabel’s neo-Mediterranean development on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village, where both father and son reside.

A group of works by artists the young Mr. Schnabel either collects or represents will be hung salon style. There will be photorealist paintings, sculptures and installations by the New York artist collective known as the Bruce High Quality Foundation; paintings and sculptures by Dan Colen, another New York artist; bronze sculptures, as well as textured white paintings made with a mixture of confectioners’ sugar and corn syrup on canvas by the Conceptual artist Terence Koh; and photographs by David Benjamin Sherry. Prices will be around $20,000 to about $500,000, Mr. Schnabel said. But not everything is for sale. Some of the works he says he simply cannot part with.

“It’s all stuff of my generation,” Mr. Schnabel said, “art that speaks to me.”