Earlier this month, Lori Zimmer of Art Nerd New York brought her art historic eye to heliumcowboy gallery in Hamburg, Germany in a group show called George Hearts Maria. Challenging her idea of a group show, Zimmer curated a show based on a sometimes forgotten decorative arts movement- the lover’s eye. Thirty contemporary artists including Shark Toof, Beau Stanton, Jon Burgerman, Allison Sommers, Jean Labourdette and Molly Crabapple were invited to reinterpret the late 18th Century trend, and the resulting pieces were installed in a site-specific mini gallery that invaded heliumcowboy’s already hanging group show.

In 1785, Prince George (later King George IV) fell in love with the widow Maria Fitzherbert. Their love forbidden by the king, they each had a miniature portrait painted of just an eye- so that it could be kept close to the heart, but also so that no one would know whose eyes they were gazing into. Being pre-photography, miniature portraits were a popular and portable at the time, but the eye miniature added an element of romance and secrecy. Although forced to marry others, George was buried with Maria’s eye miniature around his neck when he died years later.

The gallery is an experience itself, holding court in heliumcowboy’s “Summer with Friends” show. Artist Ryan Brennan designed Georgian and Victorian wallpapers, which are found peeling away from the outside of the structure. Looking abandoned and dilapidated, visitors are invited to pass through the door, carved with graffiti of lovers names, and into the mini gallery.

Inside, the gallery is a pristine Victorian sitting room. An emblemed gold door matches a white emblemed carpet. Creamy moldings encases the space which is adorned with wallpaper also designed by Brennan. Inside, the miniatures are displayed. Alone in the mini gallery makes visitors feel like a kid hiding in a fort…much like the love George and Maria had to hide.

The show ties in art history with an experiential installation that is not only of the ordinary, but fun. A limited edition, signed and numberd,specially priced print set including the works by Shark Toof, Allison Sommers, Jon Burgerman, Jean Labourdette, Beau Stanton and Molly Crabapple is available through the duration of the show exclusively from 1xRun!

Please link print set! http://1xrun.com/runs/Mini_Print_Set

-written by Molly Cotter for Warholian

For more on Art Nerd NY visit:  http://artnerdnewyork.com/