Marking the opening of Skarstedt’s second Upper East Side gallery, founder Per Skarstedt has selected works by more than twenty artists, spanning some three generations, to create his first exhibition. The show brings together the artists and estates, some of whom Skarstedt has been working with for over a quarter century, including Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, George Condo, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Eric Fischl, Keith Haring, KAWS, Martin Kippenberger, Barbara Kruger, Juan Muñoz, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, Rosemarie Trockel, Andy Warhol, Sue Williams, and Christopher Wool.
Born in Stockholm, Per Skarstedt moved to New York in 1992, opening his first space on the Upper East Side in 1994. Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman were among the first to be exhibited by Skarstedt, creating a foundation upon which the gallery has now grown to represent some of the most significant artists of today. Building the program between the primary and secondary markets, Skarstedt has always been focused on creating a dialogue between the generations. This Inaugural Exhibition highlights Skarstedt’s commitment to quality and connoisseurship, as well as the core themes of its program, including appropriation, authorship, identity and gender politics. Looking at one of three carved wood sculptures from Keith Haring’s short lifetime, the monumental Totem from 1983, the artist paints familiar enamel symbols on stacked pieces of carved wood, creating his own version of the Native American’s totem pole. Appropriating cultural traditions can also be seen in the portraits included throughout the exhibition. Bacon, Baselitz, Condo, Fischl, Kippenberger, Prince, Salle, Sherman, and Warhol all reinvent the tradition of portraiture by decontextualizing the genre. Baselitz literally turns his portrait upside-down and Sherman, in her portrait, irreverently reconfigures Old Master paintings, presenting herself as the Madonna in Jean Fouquet’s Madonna Surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim.
Skarstedt’s expansion to 64th Street will enable even more ambitious programming in the historic 25,000 square foot building designed by renowned architect Horace Trumbauer. Skarstedt will carry forward the townhouse’s legacy, unifying the elegance of 18th-century French design with displays of modern and contemporary art throughout the multiple galleries and viewing rooms. Celebrating the old and the new, Skarstedt looks forward to deepening its commitment to the iconic artists that formed its very identity, while simultaneously pushing into the future and expanding its vision in this storied Manhattan building.