Events

Art Rx: Art Fairs … Again

by Hrag Vartanian on May 3, 2012

This week, the brand new New York art fair weekend has finally arrived and your doctor is worried.

Frieze, which is launching its first foray into America, will be joined by the Pulse, Nada and Seven art fairs. Together this foursome will try to wrestle the title of “best New York art fair weekend” away from the long reigning Armory Show weekend that takes place every March.

But that’s not all. This Saturday there will be a 26th Street block party in Chelsea and Occupy Museums will be venturing to Randall’s Island — where Frieze takes places — as they attempt to “UN-FRIEZE CULTURE.” Occupy Art Fairs!

Hate fairs? Don’t worry, your doctor made sure she included some other picks in the mix.

A map with the locations of this weekend's art fairs and art fair-related events.

The Art Fairs

 Frieze New York Art Fair

When: Opens Thursday, May 4 and continues until Monday, May 7
Where: Randall’s Island (Randall’s Island, Manhattan)

This is the mothership of the new art fair weekend. Known as a very popular London art fair, this is the Frieze art fair‘s first attempt that spread its success to these shores. They’ve chosen the really inconvenient location of Randall’s Island — eck! — but their roster of 180 leading galleries will certainly entice collectors, dealers and other art worlders to the site. The fair will also be offering a ferry service running every 15 minutes from 35th Street on the East River. But be warned, you have to buy your art fair tickets in advance. No on-site sales. Why? Who knows.

 Pulse Art Fair

When: Opens Thursday, May 3 and continues until Sunday, May 6
Where: The Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, Chealsea, Manhattan)

Expect dozens of galleries in one of the nicest art fair settings in New York, Pulse art fair is lovely stroll through galleries of all types. It’s rather small (as art fairs go), manageable and doesn’t leave you with that “I hate art fairs” feeling that is all too common.

 Nada Art Fair

When: Opens Friday, May 4 and continues until Monday, May 7
Where: Center 548 (548 W 22nd Street, btw Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, Chealsea, Manhattan)

With over 60 galleries from 24 cities and 11 countries on display, the Nada art fair always attracts attention for being hip and cool. There’s lots of Lower East Side energy here and a big bonus is that admission is free.

 Seven Art Fair

When: It opened April 28 and continues every weekend until May 20, though the opening party is Friday, May 4, 6–9pm
Where: Pierogi Boiler (191 North 14th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Seven galleries, seven artists and only one will survive … just kidding. The Seven art fair prides itself as being very un-art fair-like, which is a good thing. It’s not a high pressure gallery scene and it’s in our beloved Williamsburg. After you peruse the art (and perhaps buy something), may we suggest you head over to the brand-new Wythe Hotel (N11th Street and Wythe Ave.) and try their rooftop bar — it has a stunning view.

Not Quite an Art Fair

 West 26th Street Block Party

When: Open Saturday, May 5, 6–9pm
Where: West 26th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues (Chealsea, Manhattan)

This Saturday, galleries in Chelsea will be open late in conjunction with the Frieze Art Fair. In celebration, a slew of top art shops on 26th street are throwing a block party that will feature a well-known DJ (Hannah Bronfman), a live band from Brooklyn (Dreamshow) and some of the best food trucks the city has to offer. —RC

NOT an Art Fair

 Ryan McGinness From Start to Finish

When: Opens Thursday, May 3, 6–8pm (Gering & Lopez Gallery) and Friday, May 4, 6–9pm (Charles Bank Gallery)
Where: Gering & Lopez Gallery (730 Fifth Avenue, Suite 606, Midtown, Manhattan) and Charles Bank Gallery (196 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Instead of running the gauntlet of art fair galleries, why not save your sanity and discover the work of one artist, Ryan McGinness, by following a dual-part exhibition of his process from start to finish. It begins uptown at the Gering & Lopez Gallery with a show of McGinness’ sketches and drawings. Although worthy of viewing on their own, they clearly hint at something else to behold, which you will find by going downtown to the Charles Bank Gallery, where McGinness’ black and white ideas on paper appear fully realized in fluorescent blacklight paintings and sculptures. —RC

 Whose Fault Is it?

When: Opens Friday, May 4, 6–10pm
Where: Norte Maar Gallery (83 Wyckoff Avenue, #1B, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

She’s a romantic conceptualist and she makes well-crafted sculptures that tend to be rather modest in scale. Kristen Jensen may be one to watch, but we’ll let you know after we see this show.

 The Other Parade

When: Opened last week and continues until August 26
Where: The New Museum (235 Bowery, Chealsea, Manhattan)

The New Museum’s newest show The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg, described as “an unnerving menagerie of more than eighty freestanding bird sculptures” that “speak to the artist’s recurring interest in … pageantry, perversion and abjection,” seems like a perfect complement to the Frieze Art Fair’s carnivalesque atmosphere. —RC

 Everyone Loves Kenji

When: Opens Saturday, May 5, 6–8pm
Where: Woodward Gallery (133 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

This is the Boston-based artist’s first New York solo show, which is rather surprising because he’s been exhibiting in the city’s group shows forever. Known for his layered and intricate stencil work, he’s a popular talent who captures stylized visions of the urbanscape that can appear to melt into abstraction.

 Un-Frieze Culture

When: Sunday, May 6, 12–6pm
Where: Randall’s Island Park (Randall’s Island, Manhattan)

So Frieze and a handful of other fairs are taking over the city this weekend. Of course, fairs always make for fun art viewing and people watching, but let’s face it, they’re also a little depressing, what with all that money being thrown around. Who among the 99% can afford to do anything but ogle? Luckily, Occupy Museums has taken matters into its own hands, organizing a protest-cum-art-fair similar to the one it staged earlier this year at the Armory Show. Called “Un-Frieze Culture” and happening outside of Frieze on Randall’s Island, the event promotes the exchange of art, crafts, information and ideas. Good for the artistically inclined and socially conscious. —JS

*    *    *

With listings by Robert Cicetti and Jillian Steinhauer

Homepage image: Kristen Jensen,”rockandplate,” 2012, porcelain (via nortemaar.org)

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