The apparent alternative to Armory Week, SPRING/BREAK Art Show is a massive exhibition and fair driven by curators, not galleries. Officially, SPRING/BREAK features forty curators and 150 artists, but it feels twice as large. The show resourcefully utilizes offices, bathrooms, and closets throughout Skylight at Moynihan Station. “Raw” sums it up, if one word suffices.
Participation is by invitation only and organizers donate exhibition space to the curators and artists for each curatorial project to be realized. That formula sounds clubby and exclusive, but walking through SPRING/BREAK actually feels expansive and diverse. (And what art fair isn’t partly a cartel?)
Almost all of the projects, curators, and artists are available for viewing at the SPRING/BREAK sales website. Here are some highlights; see more images on our Instagram.
This year’s Independent features 50 galleries from 14 countries, an impressive globe-to-gallery ratio, though New York and Berlin dominate.
Stefan Tcherepnin sculpture at Tanya Leighton
In the architectural design by Jonathan Caplan, galleries unfold around visitors roaming between angled dividing walls. The space seems to swirl visual surprises while commingling neighboring galleries, though it does cram some artists into awkward corners. This porous zoning could be a way to arrange marriages between certain galleries, or just a way to induce curiosity and conversations. And to preserve the memories, Mousse will publish a limited-edition catalog.
Along with the international expanse of Independent, there’s a high density of cool art. Harald Bender at Galerie Susanne Zander, Lionel Maunz at Bureau, Mike Cloud at Thomas Erben, and Birdie Lusch are some standouts. Here are some more of the best-in-show at Independent. See more pics on our Instagram.
The Armory Show opens today to the public, bringing international contemporary and modern art to Piers 92 and 94 along the Hudson River.As you trudge from the nearest subway, be sure to size up a new Maserati at the nearby dealer, or gaze upward to Bjarke Ingel’s luxurious tetrahedron, still under construction.
Folkert de Jong sculpture at James Cohan Gallery
For that class of consumers, and the people who love them, the Armory Show is one of the most important annual art events in New York, a rite of spring-to-be.If you can somehow swing the $45 ticket ($30 for students), then visiting is an enjoyable opportunity to see the global art market in action and under one roof (er, two).
Jim Shaw painting detail at Metro Pictures
This year’s Armory Show steps up its partnership with Artsy.On Artsy’s iPhone app, users can view artworks, contact galleries, and navigate the fair.Artsy’s Armory website, updates each day and The Digital Daily briefing will be available to users.Through Instagram, Artsy will disseminate and display Armory Show photos on freestanding digital screens, and Armory and Artsy will co-host a meetup for Instagrammas and grampas.(Will there also be a Grindr meetup?)
Predictably, most of the art includes painting and sculpture, but look for many 3D printed/sourced sculptures, Frankensteinian assemblage by Alan Vega at Galerie Laurent Godin, snappy abstract paintings by Cary White at Fredericks & Freiser, a briar patch of ceramics by Jessica Jackson Hutchins at Marianne Boesky, New Orleans denizens in photos by George Dureau, and a conceptual, collaborative installation by Michael Müller and Vlado Martek exhibited jointly by Aanant & Zoo and Galerie Thomas Schulte. See photos here and on our Instagram.
Jack Pierson faces off with Bjarne Melgaard at Thaddeus Ropac
A forty-year resident of the East Village, Anton van Dalen is a neighborhood icon. For decades, his work has documented and depicted the problems of his dynamic neighborhood and its looming surroundings, from junkie dystopia to bank-branch mall. Along with making art, he breeds white pigeons from his Avenue A rooftop and reportedly kept roosters in his home. And he assisted Saul Steinberg, secretly, for thirty years. His paintings commingle these influences: several of these East Village views are from up high and employ the “graphic clarity” that van Dalen has described of Steinberg: “the idea of drawing with a single line, no shading, etc.”
Sunrise in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking South,” 2014
Sunset in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking North,” 2014
New Works is a series of paintings that feature the new East Village, fully “cleaned up” and luxury-class. Van Dalen selects the polarized colors of sunrise and sunset, perhaps to coordinate with his diurnal pigeon schedule. Van Dalen’s street scenes look flattened and blocky, like colorful dioramas or stage sets, offering a noncommittal interpretation that might be an adaptation to a changing neighborhood. Instead of realism, Van Dalen expresses his vision of the East Village in a naive, though skillful, painting style based in drawing and rich in geometries, figuration, and perspective: just short of cartoonish Canaletto.
“Avenue A, Day/Night,” 2008-2011
The burdens we carry: details of Anton van Dalen paintings
The colorful naïvete relents in Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre, the set for his one-man puppet show, which he has previously performed at MoMA and the New York Historical Society. Here, Van Dalen stages violent clashes with police in riot gear. Could this be his telling of the brutal repression, usually invisible, that paves the way for a more user-friendly East Village? Driving out the undesirables?
Anton van Dalen in “East Village U.S.A.”
If so, then we can look for skepticism in Van Dalen’s vision of Alphabet City coexistence. Answers might await when he performs at PPOW next weekend. For now, check out this great interview at Interview with Martha Wilson.