The above Maynard Monrow, seen at Gavlak Gallery’s booth at the Armory Show last week, is an accurate sum-up of the New York Art Week grind. Armory, the city’s arguably largest fair, bustled with collectors, curators, advisors milling about in the booth aisles. Look closely enough, and you’ll see the art business in action, one-percent shopping at its finest.
But looking at art with superimposed dollar signs misses, literally, the whole picture. The art fair circuit may be the pulse of the market, but its also where galleries push forward their upcoming group and solo shows, and with the plethora of satellite fairs operating in Chelsea and NoLita and elsewhere, offers up an exciting longview of where the art world is going this season.
With iPhones loaded heavy with art fair snaps, our curatorial team selects their seven favourite works.
At Independent, Spruth Magers Berlin London presented a collage work by David Maljković, a Croatian artist who typically works in film and installation. Preoccupied with the excavation of the collective memories of contemporary Croatia, Maljković's layered and dense work offers a re-read on modernist landmarks and avant-garde histories.
Another artist that caught our eye at Independent was Oliver Osborne. Deadpan simplicity is the key term for this Scottish artist’s work. Represented by Vilma Gold, Osborne will be featured in the upcoming “New Order: British Art Today II” show at Saatchi Gallery in London, and has already been deemed by Complex Magazine as one of the top 25 artists to watch this year. In this work, Osbourne coyly juxtaposes the nape of a painter’s model muse with a grammar textbook cartoon.
The foliage backdrop, the Ikea-like storage shelving of fish, vases, and other curios. For Brooklyn-based artist Paul Wackers, the everyday accumulation of such objects explores a collector of the domestic realm. Represented by Morgan Lehman Gallery at Independent, Wackers actually had his first solo exhibition at Toronto’s own Narwhal Projects last year.
In a climate where Marc Jacobs can collaborate with Yayoi Kusama for LV, and Princess Kate is seen as a pleb via the paparazzi lens for for wearing a Zara dress, it’s great to see artists inventively respond to the present fast fashion industrial complex.
DIS Magazine, a self-described post-internet lifestyle magazine, curated the DISown pop-up, a retail environment-meets-art exhibition at Redbull Studio New York. Above, the cosy Emma Watson body pillow from Montreal’s Jon Rafman included a sly price tag-meets-artist statement: “Every generation needs a Dolores Haze. Emma Watson is ours. Soft, versatile, and easy to talk to, the EMMA DAKIMAKURA is the ideal bedroom accessory, house guest, and newfound friendly companion.” We can cuddle up with that.
One of our faves at the Volta fair was C124 Gallery's presentation of Katja Loher's intimate video sculptures. Mounted on either sleek acrylic table or pedestal, Loher’s hand blown glass bubbles invited you to peek into an artificial world filled with pulsating, kaleidoscopic visuals of choreographed Busby Berkeley-esque dance performances, scripted and shot by Loher herself. Keep an eye out for her upcoming solo show at New York’s C24.
After prominent Miami collectors Don and Mera Rubell showed off their contemporary Chinese art collection in the Wynwood Art District during last year’s Miami Beach Art Basel, Armory continues that trend with a special project curated by Philip Tinari of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.
Tinari hand-picked over 17 galleries — some who were showing outside Asia for the first time — we loved these playground exercise machines by the China-based art collective Polit-Sheer-Form Office. Playing on a familiar sight in Chinese public parks, Polit-Sheer-Form Office presented these machines as readymades, and not going to lie: they offered a much needed fitness break from all that booth action.
This colourful, stairwell installation by Erin Rachel Hudak, curated by Pauli Ochi at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, was quite the vision: stripes of mylar, vinyl, gold and painted canvas hanging from the ceiling, cascading next to the steps up to the second floor of this curator-driven art fair that takes place in a four-storey school house in NoLita. Hudak plays with ideas like freedom, power, and transformation, and the literal nature reference was transfixing to say the least.