It's exceedingly rare, maybe even unprecedented, that an exhibition fuses contemporary street art with Old Master paintings. But a collaboration between Sotheby's Old Master department and Fat Free Art is doing just that. Street Masters tasks street artists with reimagining classic paintings from the 15th through 17th centuries. During the run of the show, six Old Master paintings from Sotheby's Master Painting sale on June 8 head downtown to Fat Free Art's gallery space, where they'll be displayed alongside their reinterpreted counterparts.
In a video premiering on Creators, Italian street artist Tomaso Albertini talks about transforming Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere's Portrait of a Boy into a painted cardboard collage piece, while preserving the integrity of the original painting. Artist Mariana Oushiro explains why she chose to turn A Man Smoking a Pipe, from the Utrecht School circa 1625, into a feminist statement.
"We were approached by Fat Free with the concept to collaborate with them and the artists they represent with the aim of juxtaposing two sectors of the art world that rarely, if ever, meet," says Sotheby's Old Master Paintings Specialist David Pollack. "Our goal as an Old Master Paintings department has been, and continues to be, to introduce a new generation of art lovers to the rich and fascinating visual history of painting."
"In a new context, old masters suddenly appear fresh again, much in the way I imagine they looked and felt to viewers when they were first created," he adds. "When seen through the lens of street art and artists, they take on a fresh energy, and this small collaboration is the facilitator for that. The people who traditionally visit our respective spaces rarely intersect, so we're excited to mix things up and facilitate new ways of looking."
Street Masters is open from June 2 to 12 at Fat Free Art gallery in New York City. Sotheby's Master Painting sale takes place on June 8.