The art world wunderkind, Emmanuel Perrotin, opened his third international gallery this week, opting for the well-heeled environs of Manhattan's Upper East Side for his sole American outpost. Situated on the corner of Madison Avenue and 73rd Street, the gallery is spread over two floors in a glamorous, 1932 landmark building that was once the headquarters of the Bank of New York.
'New York continues to be the capital of the art market,' said Perrotin, whose impressive track record includes giving Damien Hirst his first commercial gallery show back in 1991 and being the first to exhibit Takashi Murakami's work outside of Japan. 'It's also home to the largest number of international leading-edge artists. Being part of this, engaging with local artists, curators and collectors, and reaching new audiences, is absolutely essential.'
In contrast to its fancy new digs and venerable neighbours, such as the Whitney Museum and the Frick Collection, Perrotin has christened his new space with an anarchistic exhibition by Italian artist, Paola Pivi. For her first major solo exhibition stateside, Pivi worked with a taxidermist to create eight eurethane sculptures of polar bears. Created in a myriad of realistic positions, the bears are covered in colourful feathers for that trademark Pivi twist.
While the bears take centre stage on the gallery's ground floor, an animated sculpture - a blue box spitting out dollar bills called 'Money Machine (true blue, baby I love you)'- gently references the space's banking heritage. Polarising and completely open to interpretation, Pivi's show is an exciting taster of the gallery's plans to come.
The new space is a coup for Perrotin, who made his foray into the art business back in 1989 when he opened his first gallery at age 21, and now has an outpost in Hong Kong and three in Paris under his belt. He envisions his New York gallery will be a springboard for artists like Maurizio Cattelan, JR, Jean-Michel Othoniel and Pivi herself, to make the jump into the collections of American institutions. The New York space will be helmed by Peggy Lebouf, who is currently the chief director of Galerie Perrotin in Paris.