From Fabergé to Fitzpatrick
Forbes Galleries’ ‘Recreation in Ether’
Malcolm Forbes’ collection of Fabergé eggs put the famed Russian masterpieces on the map. In 1985, Forbes transformed the lobby of his magazine’s stately Lower Fifth Avenue headquarters into galleries to house them. This week the Forbes Museum galleries will champion the work of artist Joel Fitzpatrick with the show Recreation in Ether. “There is a long tradition of artists they have patronized,” says the New York-based, L.A.-born Fitzpatrick. “With this show there is a nice juxtaposition between the old, formal space and the work. The gallery looks like the Met, yet the work looks like it should be in Chelsea.”
Forbes’ nine Fabergé eggs were auctioned off in 2004 for an estimated $80 to $120 million. But the publishing tsar’s notorious collecting habit didn’t stop at Faberge. The museum now holds the late Forbes collection of toy boats, hundreds of lead toy soldiers, inscribed trophies and early American manuscripts. There’s a room of early-edition Monopoly boards with a 1933 circular board as well as a 1920 version called “The Landlord’s Game,” created by the game’s inventor Lizzie J. Magie. Also on view is a personalized version, given to Forbes and his wife as a Christmas gift. The exhibit Masterpieces of French Jewelry, in collaboration with the National Jewelry Institute, features 150 jewels from the past 125 years from French jewelers including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron and Lalique. There is a one-of-a-kind Cartier Taj Mahal Diamond Necklace, which was given to Elizabeth Taylor by her then-husband Richard Burton for her 40th birthday.
Across the hall, a gallery with hunter-green-fabric-lined walls features Fitzpatrick’s photographs of overexposed, cropped, magnified images. “You feel time with these works,” says the artist who worked in the fashion industry for 10 years, with stores in LA and New York. Fitzpatrick, whose last series was entitled Crackpipes and Lollypops, has exhibited at the Lightbox Gallery in L.A., Boltax Gallery on Shelter Island, and the RX Art Ball in New York. “For the Forbes museum I’ve created this salon. The way it’s hung is a contemporary-salon-style. It’s an installation. It’s totally minimalist, against this formal background,” says Fitzpatrick. A drop of milk hits a lollypop, a flame flickers without a shadow, tiny RVs float in negative space. “These images are created with as few pixels as possible. Everything is about those fragments of time and space giving as little information as possible so you start to tell a story in your head,” says the artist. The Forbes Museum points out the show’s red, white and blue “motif” - calling Fitzpatrick’s style “firmly American” and a “hyperactive mediascape.” Fitzpatrick says of the collaboration, “We are both getting to do something different.”
The Forbes Galleries, 62 Fifth Avenue, NY, 212 206-5548, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm, www.forbesgalleries.com
Joel Fitzpatrick’s Recreation in Ether is on view at The Forbes Galleries November 16th through January 13th. For more on Fitzpatrick, www.joelfitzpatrick.com