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Alex Katz

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

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 9, 2017
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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.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Rejoice! Our Times Are Intolerable and Nasty Women Are Front-and-Center

by Michael Anthony Farley on January 9, 2017
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New York’s week is characterized by two dominant themes: revisiting art history, and women owning “nastiness”. Monday, NYU’s Grey Art Gallery is launching Inventing Downtown, an ambitious look at how artist-run spaces informed the city’s radical aesthetics decades ago. Tuesday, Kate Hush illuminates archetypal feminine deception and betrayal at Cooler Gallery. She’ll be joined by legions of Nasty Women starting Thursday, when the Knockdown Center kicks-off a four-day fundraiser for Planned Parenthood featuring art, dance parties, and more. Alden Projects has a timely survey of Jenny Holzer’s early poster work that opens Friday, and White Columns is opening it’s 11th Annual, Looking Back. That’s but a sampling of the art history-mining going on this week. Stay nasty, New York, and remember that you always have been.

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We Went to The Armory Show: HOW TO SPEND IT

by Michael Anthony Farley and Molly Rhinestones on March 4, 2016
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Michael: Every time I go to a fair I’ve been told is going to suck, I’m pleasantly surprised by the first few works I see and actually like that are somewhat engaging. Then, usually within an hour of arrival, fair fatigue sets in and I want anything to shatter the stifling boredom.
Molly: I’m honestly devastated I didn’t know that the “YOUR MOM” balloons were free for me to take.

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On Zona MACO: How to Excel at Being an Average Art Fair

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 11, 2016
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Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.

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At the Whitney: Industry, Advertising, and Death Makes America Hard to See

by Paddy Johnson on April 27, 2015
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A closer look at the Whitney’s permanent collection exhibition America Is Hard to See.

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Never Put Alex Katz Paintings on a Condo

by Paddy Johnson Whitney Kimball and Corinna Kirsch on June 20, 2014
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Public art is coming back from the dead in the form of an Ann Taylor zombie.

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Secrets of the Whitney Biennial: 1979

by Corinna Kirsch on February 28, 2014
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First bit of trivia: Art was for sale at the 1979 Whitney Biennial.

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Industry City Forces Artists Out of Studios Then Launches Giant Art Show

by Paddy Johnson on October 18, 2013
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The Dedalus Foundation, Jamestown Charitable Foundation, and Brooklyn Rail mount a benefit exhibition for Sandy at a location in which artists are being forced out due to rent increases.

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Armory Show Bingo: The More Things Change…

by Will Brand on March 9, 2012
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Good news: your Armory Bingo cards from last year are apparently still valid. Without changing a single square, we had Bingo within half an hour of walking in the door. The basic trend for Armory Show art—stuff cats like, like mirrors and motion and bright lights—is alive and well, and a few of last year’s micro-trends managed some unexpected longevity. We break down how well each trend square did this year, with pictures.

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Time To Start Bidding! BAM Benefit Auction Highlights

by Paddy Johnson on March 31, 2011
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The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) annual benefit art auction keeps getting better. Launched yesterday, the online catalogue hosts the blue chippiest of blue chip artists, along with BAM’s trademark selection of up and coming artists. Those who have even an inkling that they might want some new art should take a look at the catalogue. The potential of ending up with a work of art at a great price is high, and should a bidding war occur over a desirable work of art, surely supporting BAM is worth going the extra mile. A cocktail reception will be held at BAM on the final day of the auction, April 10th where all the work will be on display. May no enthusiast return empty handed!

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