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The 1980s Art Scene, the Tony Shafrazi Gallery and the Collection of Donald Baechler

As a young artist in the early 1980s, Donald Baechler was part of the burgeoning downtown art scene in New York City where he showed his early work in the East Village and progressive venues like Artists Space and the Drawing Center. Baechler met dealer Tony Shafrazi during this period and would go on to show with the Tony Shafrazi Gallery along with other young artists whose work challenged the conventional norms of the art world at that time. Established in 1984, the Tony Shafrazi Gallery became associated with the emerging graffiti and street art movements of the 1980s, showcasing the work of Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Donald Baechler. Though spoken of in the same context, Baechler himself did not share those artists’ graffiti-oriented aesthetic, setting himself apart with his interest in German contemporary art and the neo-expressionism he shared with German artists like Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke and Jiri Georg Dokoupil. In 2008, the Tony Shafrazi Gallery mounted an important exhibition called Four Friends: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Donald Baechler, Kenny Scharf.

The Collection of Donald Baechler is a testament to his artistic career, the influence he had on other artists and the influences on his own work that can be seen throughout the collection. Works by Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol lay the groundwork for the numerous other works of graffiti-oriented and street art that Baechler amassed over the years by well-known and unknown artists whose work he respected and supported.  Many German artists are represented in the collection as well, including Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke, Georg Herold, and Jiri Georg DoKoupil. Seen together, the collection walks us through the art world of the 1980s through the personal perspective of an artist whose work will be forever part of the dialogue of the time and whose collection reflects the art movements that emerged from it.

We are pleased to be offering Works from the Collection of Donald Baechler on Thursday, October 19th. Catalogue online Friday, October 6th.

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