5 Artsy Viewing Rooms to Explore This Month

Gemma Rolls-Bentley
Aug 13, 2020 4:27PM

This week sees the launch of Artsy Viewing Rooms, a new tool that enables galleries on Artsy to create presentations of work by a single artist or a group of artists that can be viewed within the Artsy app. As galleries around the world showcase their inaugural viewing rooms on Artsy, below is a selection of the most compelling presentations for you to browse.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has used its inaugural Artsy Viewing Room to assemble a group of seven female artists who have each played a pioneering role in Minimalism and post-Minimalism. In organizing these artists by gender, the show asks us to view their approach to minimalist aesthetics through the lens of identity politics. Working across sculpture, painting, installation, and works on paper, these artists adopt some of the familiar formal components of geometric abstraction while introducing subtle, ironic, or even sensual nuances that could be said to challenge the overt masculinity of the Minimalist movement. Kazuko Miyamoto, who worked as Sol Lewitt’s first studio assistant after moving from Tokyo to New York, incorporates materials such as cotton string and spray paint to blur the typical precision of Minimalism’s rigid lines. Rosemarie Castoro’s Forest of Threes (1977–1978) is an example of the large-scale installations that the artist created and in which she produced her own choreographed experimental dance performances. The abstract forest carved from wood has not been exhibited since 1978, when she last performed within it.

“On the Road”

Fraenkel Gallery


“On the Road,” presented by Fraenkel Gallery, takes the viewer on a road trip across America through the photography of 12 artists produced over the past 60 years. Conceived during lockdown, a time of unprecedented immobility, the show aims to fulfill our longing for travel, exploration and escapism. The wide open deserts of Richard Misrach and the expansive landscapes framed by car interiors of Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand capture the photographers’ pursuit of a mystical and creative freedom offered by America’s sprawling natural landscape. Landscapes punctuated by the lone gas stations and motels immortalised by Peter Hujar and Robert Adams and the free spirits captured on their journeys by Nan Goldin and Katy Grannan, these images evoke the esoteric hedonism and freedom of the Beat Generation’s writing, which the the show’s title directly references.

Alair Gomes & Robert Mapplethorpe

Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel

For their viewing room, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel has revisited a 2017 gallery exhibition that pairs the work of Alair Gomes and Robert Mapplethorpe. The work of both artists, produced in the 1970s and 1980s, explores desire, homoeroticism, and intimacy through statuesque nude portraits and tightly focused close-ups of body parts. The thoughtful juxtaposition of Mapplethorpe’s iconic work with that of Brazilian photographer Gomes highlights the subtle nuances in how each photographer approaches their subjects. Mapplethorpe’s sitters are often named in full and photographed multiple times, whereas Gomes’s anonymous subjects are interchangeable with the classical sculptures that he also photographs. Mapplethorpe’s images are highly staged and dramatically lit against Gomes’s natural compositions that capture private moments and interactions. Highlights from the show are Mapplethorpe’s four images of female bodybuilder Lisa Lyon, who he photographed over many years in an exploration of the traditional notions of beauty and representations of gender.

Cecil Beaton


Huxley-Parlour’s in-depth presentation of Cecil Beaton’s portraits features 29 stunning photographic prints produced between 1925 and 1955. Each of the works is paired with a description detailing key information about the sitter and their relationship to the artist. The colorful array of characters captured in these exquisite examples of Beaton’s portraiture range from his own family members to the avant-garde creatives and prominent figures in London society in the 1920s, who became known as the “Bright Young Things.” Beaton’s earlier works demonstrate his ambitious theatrical compositions and his experiments with Surrealism, such as Lady Loughborough Under a Bell Jar (1927), which positions the eminent socialite’s glass-covered, seemingly decapitated head against the backdrop of an abstract watercolor painting. Later works are exemplary of Beaton’s fashion photography, which he produced for publications such as American Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Hauser & Wirth’s viewing room celebrates the launch of the gallery’s private space in Southampton, Long Island. The space was created this summer to serve collectors that have relocated to the Hamptons during the pandemic. In that spirit, the inaugural show (and its online presentation) is titled Southampton Focus and features work by seventeen leading artists from the gallery’s roster, including brand new works by Lorna Simpson, Mika Rottenberg, Nicolas Party, Jenny Holzer, George Condo, Rita Ackermann, and Larry Bell. Though there are many striking sculptural works in this show, the major highlight is the iconic Louise Bourgeois outdoor sculpture Eye Benches II (1996–97). Eye Benches I (1996–97), part of the series, sold for $3.3 million at Sotheby’s earlier this summer. The pair of granite works are an exploration into voyeurism expressed through the artist’s fascination with eyes. In Bourgeois’s own words: “nobody is going to keep me from seeing what is instead of what I would like.”

Gemma Rolls-Bentley