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Painting of 2 men in a museum
Painting of 2 men in a museum

Salman Toor, Museum Boys (2021) © Salman Toor.  Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photo: Farzad Owrang

The Frick Collection’s stay in the Modernist Breuer building on Madison Avenue has given visitors a chance to rediscover the museum’s Old Masters in a new light. It has also given the museum’s curators the chance to try new things, including a surprise performance and installation with the French street artist JR and actor Timothée Chalamet. The museum’s programmatic experimentation continues this week with the pop-up display series Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters, in which contemporary paintings will be hung alongside masterpieces by Vermeer, Holbein and Rembrandt.

“You've probably noticed the Breuer space is a little bit of a test kitchen, right?” says the curator Aimee Ng, who has co-organised the new series with deputy director Xavier F. Salomon. “It allows more things to present themselves, and for us to try things in ways that just weren't as obvious or easy to do in the mansion.”

“It might scare people who think of the Frick as a much more staid institution,” she says, but adds while it may sound “a little bit romantic, all of the projects we do have to feel like they're naturally coming out of the Frick in some way.” This one came out of a very simple need to fill empty spaces on the wall as some key works are sent out on loan for major exhibitions, as well as conversations with “the enormous number of contemporary artists who have been coming to the Frick Madison and are being vocal about it,” Ng says. “Our audience suddenly got wider and broader.”

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