Tuesday, November 29 to Sunday, December 4
In honor of the 32nd edition of the art fair, the newest series by the Danish artist will feature 33 sculptures that depict performing artists including: clowns, magicians, acrobats, dancers, musicians and more
A Koala Bassoonist! A Rhino Strongman! In Bjørn Okholm Skaarup‘s grand “Circus” installation, the animals themselves are running the show. Unveiling at Miami’s longest running contemporary and modern art fair, Art Miami, by Cavalier Gallery, the installation will be showcased during the fair’s run from Tuesday, November 29 to Sunday, December 4.
Comprised of 33 sculptures, the installation is inspired by the late-nineteenth century circus where costumes, banners, and colors created a neo-baroque symphony of larger-than-life forms and displays. Each sculpture within the installation highlights the spectacle of color and movement celebrated by a menagerie several years in the making.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve been drawn to the traveling circus that occasionally reached my birth town in the Danish province,” said sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup. “To prepare for this installation, I spent several years collecting paraphernalia from the golden age of the American circus to fully immerse myself in that past artform with the understanding that the idea of the old circus had to be reconsidered and revised, especially in its mistreatment of wild animals. With “Circus,” I wanted to pay tribute to the spectacle of color and movement and can assure that not a single animal was harmed in the making of this large bronze menagerie.”
In the artist’s contemporary bestiary, or classical book of animals in bronze, each sculpture presents a whimsical story or allegory to decipher, with sources ranging from ancient fables and art history to music and modern animation. In this fantastical installation, a Lion ringmaster welcomes you to a show where the troupe is run entirely by animals. Featuring a grand 6 x 10-foot Circus ring, the installation is complete with a gathering of clowns, magicians, acrobats, dancers, and musicians, such as:
- Koala Bassoonist: from Down Under a special guest, is pausing from his daily rest, and favored eucalyptus tree, to play his woodwind melody
- Tiger Fakir: the mighty tiger elevates, himself as he premeditates, his destinations in the sky, where flabbergasted birds fly by
- Lion Tamer: a king among the animals, and ringmaster of carnivals, the roaring lion leads the way, on tour from London to Marseilles
- Rhino Strongman: much stronger than a ploughing ox, this rhino is a paradox, so soft and gentle, mild and frank, yet armored like a heavy tank
“Bjørn is known for playing between the limits of nature and culture through his work, and this installation is no different,” said Ron Cavalier, President of Cavalier Galleries. “Through this installation, the artist pays tribute to the late-nineteenth century circus with a Hippo Ribbon Dancer, Rhino Strongman, Giraffe Clown, Sea Lion Juggler, Racoon Oboist, Elephant Magician, Bear Roller Skater, Crocodile Tightrope Walkers, and more. We’re excited to showcase this grand installation at one of the preeminent international art fairs globally, Art Miami.”
“Circus” will be on-view at Art Miami at booth AM406 beginning Tuesday, November 29 to Sunday, December 4. The full installation will be available for acquisition, along with individual characters from the Circus collection.
Danish artist Bjørn Skaarup’s unique sculptures draw inspiration from classical mythology, late Renaissance, as well as 20th century American pop culture, while reinterpreting both classical and modern artistic themes.
From 1994-2004 Skaarup was an artist for the Danish National Museum and employed as a scientific artist at the Department of Forensic Medicine and Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. In addition to his career as a self-taught sculptor, Skaarup is an accomplished author and illustrator of books on history, archaeology, and anatomy.
Recent solo exhibitions in the U.S. include a public installation of the monumental Hippo Ballerina in Pershing Square Plaza West, New York, NY (previously located at Dante Park at Lincoln Center, New York, NY; 22nd Street and Broadway next to the iconic Flatiron Building, New York, NY; and 5thAvenue in front of the Girl Scouts of America Headquarters, New York, NY); Carnival of the Animals at Cavalier Galleries in New York, NY, the Washington National Cathedral, DC, and at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT. In 2015, the Collectivité of St. Barthélemy (St. Barth’s) acquired a suite of 10 animal sculptures for public display throughout the island. Skaarup’s sculptures have also been exhibited at the Koldinghus Museum, Denmark; and in Italy at Museo del Cenacolo di Ognissanti, Florence; the Four Seasons Hotel, Florence; and Hotel Cipriani, Venice. Bjørn Okholm Skaarup lives and works in New York City. He is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Skaarup holds a Master’s degree in History and Art History from the University of Copenhagen, and a PHD in History from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has furthered his education with post-doctoral studies at the Warburg Institute, London and Columbia University, New York.
Cavalier Galleries has offered an unparalleled selection of contemporary fine art for over 35 years. The Gallery presents year-round exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, and photography in New York, NY, Greenwich, CT, Nantucket, MA, and Palm Beach, FL. Owner, Ron Cavalier, has been a strong supporter of public art exhibitions since the gallery’s inception, continually organizing large-scale outdoor installations of works by world-renowned sculptors. For more information visit www.cavaliergalleries.com