Marianne Boesky is pleased to present “Estate”, a project by Lucie Fontaine. While in English the word “estate” denotes things like real estate, the estate of a dead artist and so forth, in Italian the exact same word stands for summer. Following those combined interpretations and continuing her modus operandi between fiction and reality, collectivity and singularity, Lucie Fontaine and her employees will live in Marianne Boesky Gallery’s New York Upper East Side gallery space at 118 East 64th Street, a historical functioning three-story townhouse. They will occupy the house on August 15 and will leave on October 15. The starting date August 15 corresponds to when Italians celebrate “Ferragosto” [August holidays], which is historically connected to the middle of the summer and the end of the hard labor in the fields. The idea is to create an immersive environment inspired by figures like Florine Stettheimer and Isabella Stewart Gardner as well as by museum houses in Milan – where Lucie Fontaine has an exhibition space – such as the Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano and the Villa Necchi Campiglio. In the first month Lucie Fontaine and her employees will invite artists to live with them in the space and display their works within this frame, which – enriched by furniture selected by antique dealer Jon Howell – will be partly domestic and partly commercial. The works will be gathered in a way that is deliberately spontaneous and therefore the list of the artists included will be released only on the day that Lucie Fontaine will open to the public on September 15. After that date, Lucie Fontaine will return to her French hometown Colmar, leaving her employees to take care of the house and the works included in the project. At the same time the space will reopen to the public after the summer break and it will have usual opening hours from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm. In this scenario, the cohabitation between the gallery staff and Lucie Fontaine’s employees will generate a mixture between public and private, underlining how in the field of contemporary art the notion of leisure and working time are ever more blended and interchangeable.
Lucie Fontaine is an art employer who lives and works in Colmar. Describing herself as an “art employer,” Lucie Fontaine avoids harnessing her practice to a specific figure of the art field, preferring to cultivate a modus operandi driven solely by her relationship with her employees, a concept of self-generated labor similar to the Master-Slave dialectic presented by Hegel in The Phenomenology of Spirit. Her art employees like to define her as the Jamie Lynn Spears of contemporary art: “pregnant and in search of easy success.”