Bjørn Okholm Skaarup: A Mythical Menagerie Arriving at Cavalier Gallery Chelsea in April




Sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup. Image courtesy of the Artist and Cavalier Gallery.

Beginning Thursday, April 4 and running through Thursday May 18, Cavalier Gallery is pleased to present the opening of A Mythical Menagerie featuring the works of Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup at their Chelsea location (530 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011). The solo exhibition features more than 25 sculptures spanning the past decade of the artist’s oeuvre, including several new works that will be exhibited for the first time in the U.S.

Best known for his Hippo Ballerina, the most beloved of Skaarup’s Baroque-style circus of animals, the artist and historian draws inspiration from a wide breadth of sources, including ancient mythology, fairy tales and fables, and the Italian Renaissance. His masterful bronzes are steeped in historical tradition and informed by contemporary culture.

Sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup. Image courtesy of the Artist and Cavalier Gallery.

A highlight of the exhibition is a nine-foot-tall mini-menagerie The Town Musicians of Bremen, inspired by Grimm’s beloved fairy tale which describes the journey of a ragtag fellowship of retired, domesticated animals—a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster—that unite to form an unlikely but irresistible band of musicians. Skaarup has animated the story characters in playful, textural detail, and there is a levity in the animals’ precarious postures that brings movement and musicality to the totemic assembly.

Other new works making their U.S. debut include Skaarup’s interpretation of The Four Seasons as personified trees, a reference to the dendromorphic shapes and characters found in Renaissance-era art including Leonardo’s frescoes, Arcimboldo’s paintings, and Bramante’s columns. A spring tree awakens from her winter dormancy, arms outstretched, face tilted toward the sun. Summer is laden with verdant blooms and forest fauna; Autumn seeks shelter from the rain, his leaf cover replaced by the fungal growth of the season change. Winter is bare and frail, guarding against the chill as an owl finds shelter within his hollow.

Sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup. Image courtesy of the Artist and Cavalier Gallery.

Skaarup’s indoor and outdoor sculptures have been the subject of museum exhibitions throughout the world, most recently at the Accademia della Arte de Disegno, Florence, Italy—the first known academy of art inaugurated by Giorgio Vasari and Vincenzo Borghini in 1563. Other notable public exhibitions include the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut; the Koldinghus Museum, Kolding, Denmark; the Museo Cenacolo di Ognissanti and Four Seasons Hotel, Florence; Hotel Cipriani, Venice; and the Collectivité of St. Barth. The monumental Hippo Ballerina is currently on display outside the Ferguson Library, in downtown Stamford, Connecticut.

Sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup

About the artist ~ Danish artist Bjørn Okholm 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 5th Avenue 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. He lives and works in New York City.

Sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup. Image courtesy of the Artist and Cavalier Gallery.

Bjørn Okholm Skaarup: A Mythical Menagerie will be on view from April 4 through May 18, 2024 at Cavalier Gallery. An Opening Reception with Bjørn Okholm Skaarup will be held on Thursday, April 4th from 6-8pm at Cavalier Gallery, 530 West 24th Street, NYC.

Take a look back at the Artist throughout NYC.

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