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Tuesday night was a big night at Gagosian Gallery--after debuting two extraordinary shows by Cy Twombly and Sally Mann at its Madison Avenue headquarters, the blue-chip showroom held a discreet, unofficial preview of its new "bookstore" on the corner of Madison and 77th. The term "bookstore" deserves quotations because the pristine, impeccably laid-out space clearly has higher aspirations than your average museum shop (or, say, Taschen). Upon entry, one is greeted by a line of Jeff Koons puppy vases standing sentry atop a white marble divider. Beyond this is the store, designed in minimal vanilla-ice-cream tones and displaying limited artist editions in the tens of thousands of dollars on the walls alongside gallery catalogues and the odd magazine, from Dasha Zhukova's Pop to Interview, Frieze, and Art Forum.
The editions, of course, are the main event. Rather than being a clearinghouse for existing pieces, the gallery is positioning itself as a place to unveil serious new limited lines by its top artists. Among the new works that will be introduced when the store opens officially on Friday is an inspired artist's book by Richard Prince titled "Bettie Kline." Taking as its jumping-off point an invented history of a relationship between legendary pin-up Bettie Page and Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline, the book naughtily juxtaposes black-and-white photographs of Page trussed in bondage gear with paintings by Kline that uncannily mirror the raunchy shots in both color and composition. The rhymes between Page's black leather and Kline's strappy brushstrokes renders the pair's imaginary history momentarily, and hilariously, plausible. In a quick survey of the room, other works that could be spotted included a striking red canvas-based wall piece by Anselm Reyle, a set of $50,000 prints by Koons, and several alluring entomologically-designed plates by Damien Hirst.
Below are a selection of iPhone pictures snapped during a brief foray into the store, giving a taste of what will be on offer when the two-story space opens to the public. Oh, and ArtWeLove can claim a special place in the outpost's infant history--with the purchase of two $10 copies of Pop, we became the store's first official paying customers.