It's a New Year and a New Name: New York Arts Exchange is now New York Ats Etc., LLC, retaining the moniker "New York Arts Exchange" as a division of our arts education service. Today, I am pleased to announce our latest project: Art Above the Sofa: Next Generation, which is a juried show for art students in accredited programs (AA, BFA, MFA, Ph.D. and art academies of all kinds, including schools abroad). We are eager to exhibit emerging artists whose visual vocabulary addresses the concerns, hopes, dreams and aspirations of their generation. Millennials, lead on!
What is Art Above the Sofa? It is an irreverent poke at a much maligned phantom category of art that is often mentioned but never truly defined. Who seriously makes art exclusively for an installation above a sofa? Who wouldn't mind selling a work that winds up placed above the sofa, admired by its owners and shared with their guests? Art above the sofa is often a beloved source of frequent contemplation. For most of us who buy art, we look for a work to cherish, study often and find endless surprises in what becomes a familiar companion. An artwork above a sofa, in the intimacy of one's home, might turned into a steady, unquestioning love affair.
Therefore our concept of "Art Above the Sofa" is slightly ironic and hopefully disruptive. We are not suggesting that the artists match the furniture in a client's home or produce pleasantly "decorative" canvases. Rather we seek excellent art that might be edgy, confrontational, uncomfortable, or decidedly spiritual in a complicated way. And we also seek humor that demonstrates intelligent wit and innuendo.
Consider the role of the sofa in Jacques-Louis' famous portrait of Madame Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier, decorously arranged on an Directoire Style lounge. Legend has it that the sitter hated this cold interpretation of her personality and commissioned the early Romantic François Pascal Simon Gérard, who did indeed capture her sensual charms. But when it came to choices, René Magritte went right to David's sofa, transforming Madame R into a seated casket that seems to ridicule the Academy's moribund state of affairs. Let's find our inner Magritte and have fun while we say something bold and exceptionally new! Art Above the Sofa challenges us to invent a new kind of art, a Post-Post-Modernism or something totally off the category charts.
Jacques-Lous David, Madame Récamier, 1800, Louvre, Paris
François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, Madame Récamier, 1802
René Magritte, Perspective: Madame Récamier, by David, 1951
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
The exhibition Art Above the Sofa: Next Generation will take place at 171 Elizabeth Street, between Spring and Kenmare, from April 27 to 30, 2017. Opening celebration: April 27th.
As for the New York Arts Exchange tours and lectures for 2017 - we will post our schedule separately. In the meantime, please visit our website: New York Arts Exchange to see details about our current exhibition "Sasha Meret: Selected Works" at Rafael Gallery, 235 East 59th Street, NYC, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. We will schedule a day with Sasha at the show in March. The show was extended to March 31st.
This week, please join me at JCC Greenwich for a lecture on Queen Esther in Art. Tickets and information can be found at New York Arts Exchange or on the JCC Greenwich website.
Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Etc., LLC