In TriBeCa, Art Treasures Hide In "Le Cabinet de Curiosités"

by Daniel Reynolds · January 25, 2012

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Things are getting curiouser and curiouser down in TriBeCa, where "Le Cabinet de Curiosités," a unique collaboration between the Marlborough Gallery and the Steinitz Collection, is on display at the old New York Mercantile Exchange.

Upon entering the building, visitors may wonder if they're in the right place: the unassuming lobby is sterilely lit and papered with advertisements for "SAT PREP" and "New Member Orientation." But a knowing doorman can direct them up the stairs, where a hidden world of art and antiques awaits.

A private tour last Friday, organized by prominent art aficionado David Griffin and the Marlborough Gallery, showcased a curious collection of people, as well: rising artists rubbed elbows with buyers, gallery owners, and financiers, among them Richard Gabriele, Annika Connor, Daniel Colon, Barry Christopher, Lara Bjork, Zev Eisenberg, Henry Tibensky, and Carrie Elston Tunick. Marlborough organizer Eric Gleason gave a brief presentation, while guests admired works by Thierry Despont, Manolo Valdés, and Claudio Bravo in lovely juxtaposition with rare 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century antiques. But all that glitters is not gold in the Cabinet, where treasures often assume unexpected forms (That small chair near the front door? It was Napoleon's).

Either due to artistic preservation or poor heating, the space, which used to be utilized for storage, was quite chilly. Ladies huddled in fur coats as they glided past walls imported from Paris and Antwerp, vignettes that could have been lifted straight from Marie Antoinette, or perhaps Melancholia, as one film lover pointed out, gesturing toward the large lunar canvasses dominating one of the wings.

After the tour, guests reconvened at Locanda Verde and The Bubble Lounge for drinks and discussion of one of New York's most fascinating, and surprising, exhibitions.

[Photo: Annika Connor, Daniel Colon, Barry Christopher, Lara Bjork, Zev Eisenberg]

Fortunately for those not on a private list, the galleries have decided to extend the showing of "Le Cabinet de Curiosités" until February 29 for the public. Make sure to drop by, before this curiosity disappears down the rabbit hole!

Through February 29 at the old New York Mercantile Exchange. For more information, go HERE.

[Randolph Frazier, Henry Tibensky, Carrie Elston Tunick, Annika Connor, Richard Gabriele]

[Laura Pinello, Darcie Vukovich, Annika Connor]

[Marie Griffin]