A modern spin: International artists come together to recreate art

Contemporary artist Jacob Burckhardt is one of the many artists that have taken part in the reinterpretation of a number of old masterpieces.
In a collaboration between Sotheby’s auctioneers and the street art gallery Fat Free Art – both located in New York’s Lower East Side – ‘The Street Masters’ exhibition includes various works by a host of international renowned street artists. Yesterday, the original works were also auctioned by Sotheby’s.
One of the masterpieces was created by the Italian Renaissance painter Master of Santo, more than 500 years ago. From this, Mr Burckhardt was inspired to create another work of art by reassembling the image with cardboard.
The original painting by the Master of Santo (his full name being Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere) is titled ‘Portrait of a Boy’ and is just one of several Renaissance works that have been reinterpreted.
Jon Satin, the co-owner of Fat Free Art, told the Guardian that it was Sotheby’s that suggested the urban artists adding “their own spins” to the works, a spin that didn’t need to be a literal interpretation. He said that the artists responded well to this and the gallery, along with the independent art network Where There’s Walls, helped bring international artists together.
“They jumped at it … There’s long been this interest. It’s the kind of thing Banksy did with the Girl with the Pearl Earring,” said Mr Satin, who hoped the collaboration would help widen the audiences of both classic and modern art.
Artists taking part in the initiative are mainly based in New York but originate from locations across the globe. Included in this is Japaneses street artist Lady Aiko, UK artist Nick Walker, Fanakapan and Zeus, and Spanish artist Belin, among others. “Their masters auctions on the high end sell for hundreds of thousands and millions,” Mr Satin commented.
“Everybody is now embracing street art, even those on the sidelines who may have been naysayers can’t deny it after the [Jean-Michel] Basquiat sale the other week,” said Mr Satin when referring to one of the artists skull paintings that sold for $110.5 million (£86.8 million) at auction in New York.
David Pollack, a specialist in old masters paintings at Sotherby’s, has said their goal along with Fat Free Art was to introduce a new generation of art lovers to the rich and fascinating visual history of painting.
He said: “When seen through the lens of street art and artists, our paintings take on a fresh energy, and this collaboration is a physical interpretation of that dynamism.
“In this new context, old masters suddenly appear new again, much in the way I imagine they looked and felt to viewers when they were first created centuries ago. The people who traditionally visit our respective spaces rarely interact, so we’re excited to mix things up and facilitate new ways of looking at art.”