The Armory Show, New York
The Florine Stettheimer Collapsed Time Salon was presented in homage to the artist and saloniste Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944), whose remarkable life and work has influenced many artists. The Salon was presented as a special project at The Armory Show, New York, from March 2 – 6, 2017.
The first Florine Stettheimer Collapsed Time Salon was staged at the Gramercy Hotel Art Fair in 1995 in the hotel’s penthouse. The space was decorated with cellophane curtains, Doric columns, and white furniture with gold trim to evoke the atmosphere of the Stettheimer salon in her Beaux Arts Building studio. Artists whose work channeled Stettheimer, including Jane Kaplowitz, Elizabeth Peyton, and Jeff Koons were invited to display their work. There was a program of salon talks led by Francis Naumann. We were fortunate to be able to borrow some extraordinary paintings by Florine Stettheimer herself from Columbia University and private collections. Later that year, a definitive Stettheimer retrospective was presented at the Whitney Museum, curated by Elisabeth Sussman and Barbara J. Bloemink. Since then, there has been an increasing awareness of Stettheimer’s work and a deepening engagement with her legacy by contemporary artists.
The Armory Show, the successor to the Gramercy Park Hotel Art Fair, asked me to present an updated version of The Florine Stettheimer Collapsed Time Sale for their March 2017 show. Some great artists have emerged since 1995 whose work connects with Florine Stettheimer’s distinctive artistic vision. The original participants in the project and some of the most exciting artists of the new generation have been invited to display their work in this year’s salon. Ricky Clifton and Jane Kaplowitz coordinated the decoration of the salon in a Stettheimer inspired style. Artists, curators and art historians were invited to lead discussions.
I first became aware of Florine Stettheimer when I read Andy Warhol’s recollection of Henry Geldzahler’s first visit to his house in 1961, in his 1980 book Popism:
“I could see Henry doing an appraisal of every single thing in the room. He scanned all the things I collected – from the American folk pieces to the Carmen Miranda platform shoe (four inches long with a five inch heal) that I’d bought at an auction of her effects. Florine Stettheimer studio at the Beaux Arts building, 80 West 40th Street, New York. Almost as quickly as a computer could put the information together, he said, ‘We have paintings by Florine Stettheimer in storage at The Met. If you want to come over there tomorrow, I’ll show them to you.’ I was thrilled. Anyone who’d know just from glancing around one room of mine that I loved Florine Stettheimer had to be brilliant…”
Geldzahler had assumed correctly that Warhol was already aware of Stettheimer’s prescient and original fusion of Pop, decorative and Dadaist sensibility. Her four Cathedrals have long since been resurrected from storage and now are among the most celebrated modern paintings in the museum.
I was so intrigued by this passage in Popism that I began to research Florine Stettheimer’s work myself. Since then her paintings, her salon, and her remarkable network of friendships with Marcel Duchamp, Virgil Thompson, Carl Van Vechten and other luminaries of the New York’s Modernist vanguard have been an ongoing source of inspiration. Her unique artistic sensibility and her engagement with her community of artists and writers are especially relevant to today’s art discourse.
Artists Included in the 2017 Florine Stettheimer Collapsed Time Salon:
McDermott & McGough
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
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