NEW YORK – Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld is on a mission: to make Ab-Ex hip again. The French-born dealer, art advisor, and son of renegade Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld feted the opening of his latest curatorial endeavor, “Hue + Cry,” a selling exhibition at Sotheby’s tony S2 gallery last night. Some 30 paintings and sculptures – including pieces by the late, great Joan Mitchell, art stars Cecily Brown, Ugo Rondinone, and Allora & Calzadilla, plus younger artists like Nicolas Pol and Francesca DiMattio – highlighted the chthonic pleasures of the drippy, the messy, and the gestural. Artists Angel Otero, Francesca DiMattio, Jin Meyerson, Rob Fischer, Wendy White, Robert Melee, and Nemo Librizzi were in attendance.
If S2, the newish gallery space contained within Sotheby’s HQ, felt a tad stodgy (you had to take an escalator to get up to the gallery), the crowd of 20-something cool-seekers, anonymous street-style bait, and art world scions more than made up for it. Vito Schnabel (son of Julian) and Michael Avedon (grandson of Richard) made appearances, as did Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, Lady Liliana Cavendish, art dealers Andrew Kreps and Leo Koenig, Roitfeld’s girlfriend, W contributing editor Giovanna Battaglia, and his impeccably dressed mother, Carine. Tongue firmly in cheek, I asked Roitfeld if he thought expressionism was dead, killed by decades of conceptualism and dispassionate criticality. “No,” he said. “I think today, when everyone is so controlled, it’s good to see how some painters are instinctive still.”
Click on the slideshow to see images from the “Hue + Cry” opening at Sotheby’s S2 gallery.