Ten years after Sotheby’s first collaboration with Vito Schnabel on These Days, a private selling exhibition of works by New York-based contemporary artists, Sotheby’s is once again partnering with the noted gallerist and collector to present a specially curated showcase of art. Building on the theme of his first exhibition,These Days Part II is a sequel featuring exceptional works by more than 15 artists, from such iconic Modern masters as Man Ray and Francis Picabia, to a group of critically acclaimed artists working today, such as Francesco Clemente, Caitlin Lonegan, Chaz Guest, Gus Van Sant, and Trey Abdella.
These Days Part II also marks the first time Sotheby’s will present a selling exhibition with a gallery partner in its recently opened Beverly Hills gallery. The exhibition also marks the third collaboration between Sotheby’s and Vito Schnabel, in addition to the These Days presentations, Schnabel also organized a 2015 solo show of works by Ron Gorchov at Sotheby’s London.
Gus Van Sant
This March, I am presenting an exhibition at the invitation of Sotheby’s. The show will open in the auction house's new Los Angeles location at around the same time as the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony. In the parlance of the film industry, this will be something of a sequel: eleven years ago, I was asked to curate a show at Sotheby’s new gallery in New York City. I was having trouble figuring out precisely what I wanted to present back then, but knew it needed to reflect the art I was surrounded by at that moment in my life. I believe there's always a powerful connection between how we feel and how we see; that belief has influenced my choices in life as a gallerist, curator and lover of art. And as any film buff will tell you, atmosphere matters.
Since the beginning of my career almost twenty years ago, I've been sensitive to the relationship between works of art and where and how they are placed. Whether presenting a show in an old printing house, a bank, a cornfield in Long Island, or a courtyard in Venice that happened to belong to the Knights of Malta, I've been interested in bridging art and spaces, and activating them through this discourse and ultimately through my eyes.
So, in 2011, I turned the gallery at Sotheby’s New York into a version of my own bedroom in the city. We installed the same carpet and wood-paneled walls that I have in my apartment, and these provided the set for works by artists the gallery represented and from my personal collection – works by artists that I surrounded myself with. The show was called These Days.
My upcoming exhibit at Sotheby’s in Los Angeles is titled These Days Part II. Same title, but the setting this time will be less literal, more sprawling – like Los Angeles itself. After all, Los Angeles is a place that conceals to the naked eye many of its most sublime treasures. In a city where old and new co-exist in seemingly endless layers as far as the eye can see, you must look with complete openness, abandoning old worn-out notions, to see and feel the incredible beauty of this place because it so often appears in amalgams. What’s special about Los Angeles is the way it brings improbably far-flung things together. The space, the light, the limitless juxtapositions, the sense of possibility, the potential for creation and recreation – these are the things that make Los Angeles unique in the world and lie at the heart of my long love affair with the city. And these are the things that have brought artists to LA from everywhere and from every discipline, and my own gallery as well: My team and I currently present exhibitions in a magnificent old Art Deco post office where contemporary art feels right at home perhaps because it’s so unexpected.
In short, Los Angeles is in itself the best set on earth. So, with These Days Part II, I am foregoing a manufactured set to let the artworks be the stars of the show. And if you look, they will reward you, just like Los Angeles does.
Thank you Sotheby’s, for making this exhibition possible. And a special thank you to Jackie Wachter for inviting me to present these works. I look forward to sharing them with the Los Angeles public at large.
- Vito Schnabel