Look at Me: Portraiture from Manet to the Present - 57th Street

May 6 – August 29, 2014

Press Release

Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce a major expansion with the opening of its second New York City gallery at 43 West 57th Street, a sixth-floor gallery space that is amongst the largest in New York.

 

The Leila Heller Gallery 57th Street is an 18,000 square foot space, with unique multi-dimensional capability, including a 60-seat theater/auditorium and a full floor project space for the purpose of showcasing exhibitions by emerging artists and curators.

 

The new gallery is debuting with an exciting inaugural exhibition entitled Look at Me: Portraiture from Manet to the Present. This expansive exhibition spans almost two centuries with over 200 artworks by 170 artists.

 

Beyond the inaugural exhibition, the new space will be devoted to an expanding contemporary artists program and will leverage the Gallery’s longstanding expertise with private sales of Modern and Contemporary Masters to mount exhibitions of historical interest. The exhibition program will include solo exhibitions, curated exhibitions, and survey shows focusing on broader art movements and themes.

 

In addition to 57th Street’s sheer size, the Gallery is a multidimensional and versatile space. The theater / auditorium space will present films and video art installations as well as host speaking engagements and panel discussions of cultural interest. The Gallery will also invite outside cultural organizations to use the auditorium for complementary activities. The project space offers a truly unique platform. In addition, the new space will house the Gallery’s extensive library and expansive private viewing spaces and offices.

 

The West 25th Street location in Chelsea will remain dedicated to fostering the careers of emerging and mid-career artists, whose works will be presented selectively at 57th Street in a deeper art historical context via exhibitions mounted alongside concurrent shows of well established Modern and Contemporary artists.

 

 

Historical Survey of Portraiture

 

The inaugural exhibition, Look at Me: Portraiture from Manet to the Present, spans a vast historical period of 150+ years from Manet to the present, and explores perhaps the broadest and most practiced genre in art history. Throughout time, mankind’s preoccupation with the self - one’s appearance, perception and ultimate identity - has influenced artists to create, and individuals to commissions, portraits. Portraits have been an indispensable way of communicating identity, with real as well as symbolic meaning for centuries of art audiences. Look At Me celebrates and explores portraiture in recent history and investigate how artists today are engaging with the broad spectrum of descriptive strategies.

 

The ambitious exhibition includes works by many renowned artists, including: PierreEAuguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, JeanEMichel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Tom Wesselmann, Francesco Clemente, Eric Fischl, Mitra Tabrizian, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Firooz Zahedi, Jack Pierson, John Currin, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, George Condo, Loretta Lux, Marilyn Minter, Ai Wei Wei, Youssef Nabil, Iké Udé, Farideh Lashai, Shoja Azari, Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Josh Azzarella, Reza Aramesh.

 

The exhibition includes many seminal works, including Warhol’s “Blue Jackie,” “Bill” by Elaine de Kooning and “Peintre et son Modele” by Picasso.

 

Look at Me: Portraiture from Manet to the Present is curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, collector and art institution trustee, and Paul Morris, a founding Director of the Armory Show, who is advising the Gallery as an ongoing curatorial consultant. The exhibition has been installed across both Leila Heller Gallery locations. The exhibition opens to the public on Wednesday, May 7 at 43 West 57th Street and on Thursday, May 8 at 568 West 25th Street and runs through August.