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Contemporary Artists in Permanent Galleries at Frick Collection

Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.

The Frick Collection is an art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City at 1 East 70th Street, at the northeast corner with Fifth Avenue. The Frick Collection is internationally recognized as a premier museum and research center, and it is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts.

The collection was assembled by the Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick and is housed in his former residence on Fifth Avenue. It is also one of New York City’s few remaining Gilded Age mansions, it provides a tranquil environment for visitors to experience masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, and Whistler. The museum opened in 1935 and has continued to acquire works of art since Mr. Frick’s death. The museum is the Frick Art Reference Library, founded by Helen Clay Frick as a memorial to her father. Today it is one of the leading institutions for research in the fields of art history and collecting.

Along with special exhibitions and an acclaimed concert series, the Frick offers a wide range of lectures, symposia, and education programs that foster a deeper appreciation of its permanent collection.

The Frick collection will have its first intervention ever, of which will be held in new York and it will be attended by contemporary artists in its permanent collection galleries next year on the month of May 2019, when the site is installed with specific porcelain works by writer Edmund De Waal.

It is said that when you go to the Frick it is very easy to just go and see the Old Master paintings painted by curator of decorative arts who is an organizer of presentation Charllot Vignon, his work will make you stop and look at the rooms, as well as the big sculptures. This is the first intervention in the US by the UK artist, who wrote the popular 2010 family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, although he has done others at institutions such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and Waddesdon Manor in England. The Frick has occasionally shown contemporary art in its temporary exhibition spaces but this is the first time a living artist will present his work in the permanent galleries, which house historic art and furnishings collected by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick.

De Waal's objects, due to be on view from 30 May to 10 November 2019, “will be very much integrated into the house, and will not shock… It’s not an exhibition of contemporary art”, Vignon says. Instead, the pieces “will help us to reconsider our own collection”. Plans of making the place look more attracting are been done, eight artworks are being made around by De Waal with just one work installed in each room in the exhibition. This Constructions will form an interesting contrast and complement to the museum’s highly decorative interiors and sumptuous Old Master paintings. However, “the media he uses will fit very well within the collection”, Vignon says, since the Frick has strong holdings in ceramics, particularly Chinese, Meissen and Sevres porcelain. The interaction between objects will be “almost like music”, she says, with sculptures in dark colors in the museum’s collection resonating with lighter-colored porcelain."

The project was initially de Waal’s idea, Vignon says, and came out of a long-term relationship with the Frick. He recently worked with Vignon on a volume in the Frick Diptych book series that looks at major works in the collection through paired essays by the curator and the contemporary creative figure.

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