About sixty percent of all new businesses in the U.S. fail within four years. Though we don’t have data on the failure rate of art galleries, it’s likely in the range of the national average. Nonetheless, we’re confident that one new gallery, Venus over Manhattan, is going to be around for a very long time. For its founder Adam Lindemann (an avid collector, writer for The New York Observer, and entrepreneur), opening a gallery is simply another step in his dogged desire to build an art empire on his own terms (à la Larry Gagosian, whose gallery is in the same building downstairs).
Even though Venus over Manhattan is in the heart of art world bustle at 980 Madison Avenue, the gallery sits in stark contrast to the white walls of its neighbors. The space looks more like a bomb shelter than a place for exhibiting art, which is exaggerated by the fact that its inaugural show, À Rebours (Against Nature), takes place in near-darkness.
The showcase borrows its name from the 1884 novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans. In the story, an offbeat aristocrat named des Esseintes retreats to the countryside in order to focus on amassing a collection of art and African fetishes, a practice he hoped would ease his frenzied soul. À Rebours imagines what might be in the collection if des Esseintes were alive today, doing so with a wide-ranging presentation of work by Andy Warhol, Lucas Samaras, Jeff Koons, Salvador Dali, and David Hammons alongside talents like Daniel Turner, Dash Snow, and Andra Ursuta.
À Rebours is on view at Venus over Manhattan through June 30.