In one of the more unusual art collaborations in recent memory, the artist and drummer of the famed New York rock band the Strokes, Fabrizio (Fab) Moretti, and the Italian-born, London-based Old Masters dealer and collector Fabrizio Moretti are teaming up to organize an exhibition and auction at Sotheby’s New York in December. (Though they share a last name, there is no relation.)
Titled “In Passing,” the affair will feature interactive installations created by Fab (the drummer) to highlight more than 20 Old Master paintings and sculptures selected by Fabrizio, including pieces by Battistello Caracciolo, Taddeo di Bartolo, and René Frémin. The show runs December 15 through 18, with the auction scheduled for that final day.
The collabo is the latest in a string of efforts by Sotheby’s Old Masters department to provide new contexts for its offerings, in an attempt to woo new and younger collectors who might balk at the field. (Everyone wants to buy contemporary these days!) Recent such programs have included an auction of Old Masters by women, organized by Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and “Naturalia,” which paired Old Masters with contemporary art.
Fab, whose band rocketed to fame with songs like “Last Night” and “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” is not new to art, having studied it in college at SUNY New Paltz before quitting to become a rock star. And Fabrizio is no stranger to newspaper headlines, having won a bidding war last month for a recently rediscovered Cimabue for a cool $26.8 million.
“I was attracted to this project by this idea of perspective,” Fab said in a statement. “The goal of this installation is to construct a process of orientation that abstracts and individualizes the experience of witnessing art.” He’s designing maze-like structures that will shift how viewers perceive the work, like a neon-lit hallway that will alter their eyesight and a construction that will force them to kneel to see one work’s detail.
Said Fabrizio, “We hope the viewer, by bringing their own perspective and background to the forefront of this immersive experience, will develop an emotional connection to the history of these pieces.”