LGDR, the powerhouse gallery jointly formed by dealers Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, Amalia Dayan, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn in late 2021, has thrown open the doors of a stunning new flagship gallery on East 64th street.
The sprawling six-floor Beaux-Arts-style townhouse was built in the early 1930s and in addition to being one of the oldest gallery buildings in New York, was also the longtime headquarters of the Wildenstein art dealing dynasty.
The inaugural show, “Rear View,” is sure to make a splash. It includes dozens of artworks spanning two floors by a dynamic mix of blue-chip artists ranging from established masters such as Rene Magritte and Francis Bacon, to later stars such as Eric Fischl, Barkley Hendricks, and Yoko Ono, to contemporary stars including Urs Fischer, Jenna Gribbon, Jenny Saville, and Issy Wood. All of the works explore representation of the human figure as seen from behind, including no shortage of depictions of buttocks.
Author Dieter Roelstraete, who wrote an essay about the show for an accompanying zine, opened his remarks at the preview on April 17 by acknowledging the often “humorous” nature of the exhibition. And in his essay, he wrote: “Backs and behinds: it is cause for some mirth that leafing through the checklist for ‘Rear View’ made me realize that in all my long years of looking at and thinking about [Caspar David] Friedrich’s Rückenfiguren, I had never seriously considered these pictures of people seen from the back to be pictures of backsides as well.”
Another author, Alison Gingeras, also contributed an essay appropriately titled “Bad Asses.” It swings from an in-depth look at Felix Valloton’s seminal Étude de fesses (c. 1884), chosen as the feature image for the show, to butt-related jokes made by Chris Rock (“Show your ass!” he urged anyone seeking attention) in his recent stand-up comedy Netflix show, to Kim Kardashian’s famous “moneymaker.”
The show also features a so-called “pendant” presentation in a single room, titled “Full Frontal” that features more explicit front-facing works by artists including Miriam Cahn, Gribbon, and Hendricks. “As the idiom of the title suggests, debates around moral propriety and censorship in art and popular culture often ascribe a confrontational value to front-facing nudes,” according to a statement accompanying the show.
All four founding partners were on hand to inaugurate the show, with Lévy seeming to address many of “mission” questions that have swirled around the partnership since it was first announced in late 2021.
Noting that they have been flooded with questions and rumors on what the partnership is about, she said they were previously “a bit homeless,” running separate gallery spaces including Lévy Gorvy’s former home at 909 Madison. There’s also the massive uptown space overhauled by Rohatyn for Salon 94 Design and opened in spring 2021, which just debuted LGDR’s much-buzzed-about show of Marilyn Minter’s work.
Lévy said it was important to the four of them to “create a home” and further to choose a space that has history, as the 64th Street building does, noting that it was originally built as a gallery in 1932. Moving forward, following the Minter exhibition, all LGDR projects will be hosted at this new space, while Rohatyn will run her separate projects at Salon 94 Design.
Of the new exhibition, Lévy said it reflects “the togetherness of what we can do when we want to,” adding that exhibition-making is their passion. In terms of deciding on which works to include, she said, “it’s not about liking or not liking. It’s a conversation about what does it stir in terms of emotion and critical thinking.”
In addition to exhibition-making, she also re-emphasized some of the initial activities that LGDR had highlighted around the time of its formation, including offering strategic services to collectors, artists, institutions, philanthropic organizations, and private companies, including family offices.
“Rear View” is on view at LGDR, 19 East 64th Street, New York, through June 1.
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