Opening this Saturday in Tribeca, Cabinet de CuriositÃ©s is a fantastical blend of art, sculpture and antiques that defies time and categorization. “When you visit collectors’ homes, you see this great and interesting new tendency that you don’t see in galleries–people mixing contemporary artists with objects and furniture,” says Max Levai, a director of the Marlborough gallery, which brought this exhibition to life in collaboration with Steinitz gallery. “We really want to expose the interesting dialogue that contemporary art can have with antiques.”
Levai worked with an impressive cast of creatives to curate Cabinet: artist, architect and interior designer Thierry Despont; Spanish sculptor Manolo Valdes; the late hyper-realist painter Claudio Bravo; and Steinitz, which offered show-stopping boiseries and antiques.
“It’s really about establishing relationships between things that you wouldn’t really think have a relationship until the pairings are put together,” says Levai. Take Bravo’s signature trompe l’oeil paintings, made to look like the backs of canvases, juxtaposed with Steinitz’s boiseries. Boiseries, decorated wooden wall panels that often employ trompe l’oeil, were sometimes used to make stone buildings more comfortable, and to “transport another aura into the space,” says Levai. “There’s a very interesting dialogue between what Claudio is trying to achieve in his paintings and what the boiserie did fundamentally in their contemporary time.”
Cabinet de CuriositÃ©s runs from November 12 through the end of January on the second floor of the former New York Mercantils Exchange on Harrison Street in Tribeca.