Currently on view at Sotheby’s New York for the first time and for a short time only is a selection of works from the collection of Steven and Alexandra Cohen. The exhibition consists of twenty pieces by masters of the modern period, such as Picasso, de Kooning and Warhol, and leading contemporary artists, dealing with women as subject matter. Other artists represented in Women are: Edvard Munch, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani. Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil, Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Lucian Freud, Richard Prince, Marlene Dumas and Lisa Yuskavage.
Sotheby’s New York
Women: A Loan Exhibition from the Collection of Steven and Alexandra Cohen
1334 York Ave, New York,
April 2 – April 14, 2009
Exhibition Page and Press Release [Sotheby’s]
NY Times Carol Vogel Previews the Exhibition [New York Times]
Steven Cohen’s Rise as a Collector [The Independent]
MAO Critiquing Cohen’s Motives [MAO]
NY Mag Examines Cohen’s Motives [New York Magazine]
The Exhibition in the Light of the Art Market [Wealth Bulletin]
Speculations on the Exhibition [ArtForum]
Speculations on the Exhibition II [ArtInfo]
Speculations on Cohen’s Motives [Bloomberg]
Exploring Cohen’s Motives [Luxist]
Preview of the Exhibition [Bloomberg]
The exhibition’s relatively short duration and the collection’s public debut are not the only remarkable features of this show. In fact, Women has been surrounded by controversy as media speculate on Cohen’s possible stake, both as a collector and a businessman playing the art market, in the public display of his collection. None of the works in the exhibition are for sale, but it is argued by some that the show serves to give an impetus to the limping market. Over the past few years, Cohen has made a number of major purchases, for example, Hirst’s formaldehyde The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) and Jeff Koons Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold) (1994-2006). Moreover, SAC Capital, headed by Cohen, is the third largest shareholder in Sotheby’s, owning 5,9% of Sotheby’s shares. If Women would impact the awareness and perception of Sotheby’s as an A-grade auction institution, whether intentionally or not, this could affect prices of Cohen’s shares and art works.
Cohen and Sotheby’s, however, perceive the exhibition as an exciting opportunity to view the work in a new context and they take great pleasure in sharing their enjoyment of the collection with the public. The idea for the exhibition reportedly came about when Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, had dinner at the Cohen’s and was struck by the juxtaposition of Warhol’s Turquoise Marilyn (1964) and Picasso’s Le Repos (1932). The Cohens, who have already been generous lenders to museum exhibitions, responded enthusiastically to sharing a part of their collection in their first time collector solo show.
By Gabriëlle for ArtObserved