Per Skarstedt has opened the third location of his gallery in the vacant yellow brick building on the far west end of 21st Street. Founded in 1994, the Swedish dealer’s gallery also has spaces on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in London. The 6,000-square-foot freestanding structure used to be home to the gallery Haunch of Venison, which was purchased by Christie’s in 2007 and closed abruptly in March 2013. “We had [the architect] Annabelle Selldorf update it, to make it a little warmer,” Skarstedt explained in a phone conversation with A.i.A. “It’s very hard to find a separate building, and that was our goal. I always loved Paula Cooper’s space, and this is almost like a copy—a little bit smaller, but very similar. The proportions are very beautiful.”
The gallery’s first show (May 8-June 21) will pair 10 of Andy Warhol’s acrylic-and-urine “Oxidation Paintings” (1977-78) with 12 of Yves Klein’s early 1960s burned-paper “Fire Paintings,” about half of which are for sale. “Yves Klein is one of my favorite European artists, and Warhol is one of the greatest American artists,” Skarstedt said. “I always felt that these works would look really good together, and I’m sure Andy looked at Yves Klein when he made his ‘Oxidation Paintings.’ Certain paintings have the same composition and are the same size.”
Skarstedt searched for a Chelsea space for almost two years. “It’s totally different from the townhouse we occupy uptown,” he said. “We wanted to find a space that had more flexibility to show large-scale paintings and sculptures.” Skarstedt plans to mix it up by showing work by younger artists (for example, 25-year-old market up-and-comer Lucien Smith, currently on view at the 79th Street gallery) versus the secondary-market exhibitions he’s known for. “Whom we show in which space will depend on where the work in question will look better,” he said. “Also, some artists prefer uptown to down, and vice versa.”
Next at the Chelsea gallery will be the complete set of Mike Kelley’s 50 “Reconstructed History” collages, followed by new George Condo paintings.