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July 25 2014

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Monsieur Vladimir Dit Merci

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He may be a fixture on the fashion-party-circuit, but Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld continues to make a strong case for himself as an up-and-coming art world contender. Following a successful show with Sotheby’s last October, the Paris native previewed his most ambitious group exhibition to date this morning at developer Aby Rosen’s contemporary art mecca, 980 Madison Avenue. Dubbed Merci Mercy, the 35-artist show explores the power and vitality of the written word. “I was looking for a new concept to develop and discovered that many of the artists I like use text in a systematic way,” said Restoin-Roitfeld, looking every bit the power broker despite frigid climes and the before-noon preview. “It was a good opportunity to bridge the artists I love with those I’m less familiar with and contextualize them in a way that made sense.” Borrowing its title from a Louise Bourgeois inscription (left), the show features works from industry veterans Ed Ruscha and Nan Goldin) to Zeitgeist darlings (Tom Sachs and the late Dash Snow, whose work is pictured below). “We wanted to find pieces that were less expected or typical,” said co-curator and Bortolami Gallery director Christine Messineo, who was introduced to Restoin-Roitfeld by his sister Julia. “And we were especially interested in working with artists from our generation.” To wit, the pair paid studio visits to several younger artists including Rashid Johnson, Jason Loebs and, Lucien Smith, all of whom created original works for the show.

This March, Restoin-Roitfeld will curate a two-man exhibition with his longtime collaborator Nicolas Pol and Ashley Bickerton at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, but the roving dealer has no plans for a permanent gallery anytime soon. “I would like to settle down, but it’s a step-by step-process,” the 27-year-old told Style.com, though he’ll start by holding private salons at his new Upper East Side office. “I think it”s good to do things uptown. Young people should see what’s happening on this side of the city.”

Merci Mercy will run until February 17 at 980 Madison Avenue

Photo: Courtesy of Merci Mercy

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Dept. of Culture