Contemporary artists are also taking inspiration from their medieval and Renaissance predecessors, keeping old work alive through radical new interpretations. Given the opportunity to curate an exhibition at collector Tom Hill’s Hill Art Foundation in Chelsea (“Three Christs, Sleeping Mime, and the Last Supper Pagan Paradise,” on view through February 15th), sculptor
recently selected a spare assortment of bronze Christ figures to pair with his own sleek, contemporary sculptures of a half-eaten apple, a reclining mime, and a mountain lion attacking a dog.
The Hills themselves purchased a large stained glass window by the 16th-century glazier Valentin Bousch from “Of Earth and Heaven.” Titled The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise, the piece once belonged to media magnate William Randolph Hearst, who hung it in his apartment in Clarendon, New York.
This year, Luhring Augustine has already sold Three figures from a Crucifixion Group (ca. 1510–20) from “Gothic Spirit.” The expressive wooden sculpture, which features three figures—one palms her face in grief, another looks skyward, and the Virgin Mary faints in their arms—found a home with a collector of modern and contemporary art whose wife collects Shaker furniture.
The quintessential contemporary artist
has amassed a world-class collection that mingles
modern art stars with Old Masters. And the contemporary–medieval crossover isn’t limited to the West, either. Fletcher noted that a number of Chinese artists, including
, have claimed “that Old Master paintings or drawings have played an important role in their growth.”
While some contemporary galleries, such as David Zwirner
, have mounted exhibitions that pair centuries-old work with contemporary objects, Augustine said he wasn’t interested in such a “didactic” approach. “We wanted it to be fun as an exercise, but a serious exhibition,” he said. In the Chelsea white cube, Fogg was able to mount two spiral columns with bases that resemble lions that couldn’t fit in his London space.
Luhring Augustine’s architecture also makes for a brighter, less cluttered venue than the dark, crowded museum halls that typically house medieval work. At the gallery, centuries-old objects have room to breathe.
The surprising material elicits thoughtful responses from gallery-goers, according to Luhring. “This show slows the viewing pace down,” he said. During the previous iteration, visitors “were hanging out here much longer. It’s unfamiliar, so people are taking the checklist and reading.” Placed in such a novel context, everything old becomes new again.