From the category archives:

Art Fair

Highlights From the Armory

by Molly Rhinestones on March 4, 2017
Thumbnail image for Highlights From the Armory

The Armory Show opened this week, creating a theme park for art collectors and lovers from across the globe. Over 200 galleries and site specific installations are on view at Pier 92 and 94 on the Hudson River. This year features a welcome overhaul of the fair’s floor plan, spearheaded by the new director, Benjamin Genocchio. The delineation of a “Modern” section, usually on view at Pier 92, has been phased out, relocating 17 dealers from the “Galleries” section and the “Focus” artists upstairs. In past iterations of the fair it seemed highlights were positioned in high traffic areas near the entrance and by the time the fair fatigue hit you found yourself stuck at a dead end inside labyrinth of the dullest booths. The new design features wider aisles and better traffic management, making for a vastly more pleasant experience. This year’s a hit folks—at least in terms of visitor experience.

In particular, the Armory’s special “Focus” section, curated by Jarret Gregory, stood out. The section culled 10 artists from around the world together to examine a question taken from 19th Century Russian Socialist Writer Nikolai “Chernyshevsky, “What Is To Be Done?” (a breath of fresh air when at times the theme of the fair seems to be “How Many Yayoi Kusama and Marina Abramovic Works Can We Fit Into This Pier.”).

My highlights and commentary below.

Read the full article →

NADA Needs To Serve Its Exhibitors and Visitors Better

by Paddy Johnson on March 3, 2017
Thumbnail image for NADA Needs To Serve Its Exhibitors and Visitors Better

Back in October NADA explained that in response to their members, they decided to move their fair dates from May, when they showed alongside the Frieze Art Fair, to March,when they would open alongside the Independent, The Armory and the ADAA. Their members felt that more collectors were in town during Armory Week. That’s not wrong, but herein lies the problem of being beholden to a membership. They ask for dumb shit. Sure, more people are in town, but there’s five times as much competition from other fairs, making it difficult to attract quality exhibitors.

And that shows. This year’s iteration of NADA is by far the worst showing I’ve ever seen of the fair, in any location, in my 12 years of reviewing it. In this show, art stands out not for uniqueness of vision, but rather because it’s been placed on an unusually colored wall or within an immersive installation. Long time dealers showing subpar versions of art fair standards—minimalist squares, droopy ceramics, squiggly abstraction—sublimate the more adventurous work of struggling emerging art spaces. Vast amounts of space are left open for visitors, yet dozens of exhibitors, in row on row arrangement are given minuscule exhibition booths.

This last aspect of the fair I actually found offensive. It’s one thing for a commercial endeavor that exists for the purpose of making money to make the mistake of not sharing enough of its resources. It’s quite another for a non-profit like NADA to make the mistake, because its very existence can only be justified by its generosity. If NADA can’t demonstrate that, then what is its purpose anyway?

I suspect they’re aware of these issues and working on them, which is good and important, but in the short term they’ve got problems. The fair is a complete disappointment and were it not for a few stand out booths, hardly worth visiting. My advice to NADA? Move the event dates back to May when it has to compete with the giant island art fair, Frieze, and deal with the fact some collectors won’t get to the mainland.

Highlights after the jump.

Read the full article →

VOLTA: Skip The Booths, Head To “Your Body Is A Battleground”

by Emily Colucci on March 3, 2017
Thumbnail image for VOLTA: Skip The Booths, Head To “Your Body Is A Battleground”

Ten years ago, it seemed most fairs were moving away from the anything-you-can-hang in a booth model to solo show booths. The pinnacle of that movement can be seen as VOLTA, which trumpeted a model in which all booths were solo shows.

Ten years later, how is that holding up? If UNTITLED and SPRING/BREAK are any indication, a preference for curation is on the rise. That’s seen even at shows that boast solo booth models such as VOLTA NY, which is for its second year, hosting a curated section.

Read the full article →

We Went To SPRING/BREAK: Who Let the Dogs Out?

by Harrison Curley and Molly Rhinestones on March 2, 2017
Thumbnail image for We Went To SPRING/BREAK: Who Let the Dogs Out?

The curator-centric fair fair SPRING/BREAK is back. This time, they’ve moved to a Times Square office building with the theme “Black Mirror.”
That translates to plenty of identity-centric work. Molly Rhinestones and Harrison Curley went to check it out:

Harrison: This booth is an immersion to your favorite dreamgirl room from your favorite princess fantasy…

Molly: There is always a booth I walk in and think “I have a crush on this artist” and Ben Sisto’s was it this year…

Read the full article →

State Of The Union At SPRING/BREAK

by Emily Colucci on March 2, 2017
Thumbnail image for State Of The Union At SPRING/BREAK

With its emphasis on supporting artists and curators rather than commercial galleries, SPRING/BREAK Art Show is typically the highlight of the exhausting Armory week frenzy. While the verdict is still out on many of the other fairs, I can confidently report that this one does not disappoint.

Oddly enough, the reason for this, seems to be at the nexus of the fair’s identity—artist-focused, themed curation. The official theme is Black Mirror, which as the curators describe it, is about seeing oneself through a lens. But for this show, that usually translates into ruminations on demographics and politics or rather, politics based on demographics. It’s reflective of a time in which most of us in the arts community are far more terrified by anything the president has to say or do than by the technological dystopia presented in the Netflix blockbuster Black Mirror.

Read the full article →

This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Survive Art Fair Hell With Bushwick Punx and Georgia O’Keeffe

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 27, 2017
Thumbnail image for This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Survive Art Fair Hell With Bushwick Punx and Georgia O’Keeffe

It is hell week for the art world. What used to be referred to as “Armory Week” is now a beast spanning more art fairs than anyone has time or energy for. Now that NADA has joined the fray, it’s likely going to be more stressful, but at least slightly less soul-crushing.

To help navigate this mess, we’ve picked out the week’s highlights: the art fairs you really should see, as well as gallery, DIY, and museum events to help recover from the convention center lighting.

These events include an artist talk from photographer Elle Perez at  Daniel Cooney Fine Art on Tuesday, a peek at Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal style at the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, and the Silent Barn’s Paper Jazz Small Press Festival all weekend long in Bushwick.

Wear comfortable shoes. Bring aspirin. We’ll get through this together.

Read the full article →

Material Light on Substance, Heavy With Dick Pics

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 10, 2017
Thumbnail image for Material Light on Substance, Heavy With Dick Pics

Is a bigger fair necessarily a better fair?

Having doubled in floorspace since last year, Material Art Fair feels like a totally different beast. The fair has moved to two lower floors of Expo Reforma, with larger booths arranged around “courtyards” for conversation and concessions. There are plenty of new exhibitors, and much of the work looks far more market-friendly than the wares last year.

Opinions remain divided over whether or not these changes are a good thing…

Read the full article →

Slideshow: Zona MACO, The Art Fair Where Commerce and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 9, 2017
Thumbnail image for Slideshow: Zona MACO, The Art Fair Where Commerce and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

Last year, I remarked that Zona MACO excels at being an “average” art fair.

I stand by that opinion this year, with the clarification that it feels a bit like the average of many art fairs: a bit of NADA, a big dollop of Design Miami, a dose of Basel, and flavors of Frieze. That makes sense, as it’s by far Latin America’s largest and most important art fair—many of the curated identities of fairs in hyper-saturated US markets come from necessity of branding when there’s competition.

And like I said last year, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though this year, due to some floor plan rearrangements and somewhat less cohesive booths, the curated sections Zona MACO Sur and Nuevas Propuestas felt a bit underwhelming. That might also owe to (what seemed like) an increase in advertisers’ kiosks and design, publication, and food vendors, comparatively.

The good news: the quality of work in the General Section improved tremendously. Sure, there were many repeat, predictable artist, but the recent political turns in both Mexico and the United States haven’t gone unnoticed in the art world, thankfully. Scattered among the rows of polite abstraction, there was plenty of outright political work, particularly when compared to the December fairs in Miami.

Below, a sampling of the what’s on view, beginning with some of the more overtly political works.

Read the full article →

The Miami Art Fairs: Final Thoughts and Reflections

by Paddy Johnson on December 6, 2016
Thumbnail image for The Miami Art Fairs: Final Thoughts and Reflections

A few stray observations now that the fairs are over.

Read the full article →

Satellite Remains a Bright Star in Gloomy Art Week

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 3, 2016
Thumbnail image for Satellite Remains a Bright Star in Gloomy Art Week

Satellite brings its fun brand of immersive, DIY-centric art fair making to South Beach. Don’t worry, it’s still a weird and wonderful outlier in an otherwise crappy week.

Read the full article →