The Paris-based Cutlog art fair has returned to the Lower East Side for another year, with 50 galleries setting up inside the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Opened on Wednesday, the internationally focused art offerings sprawl through two floors of the old schoolhouse, weaving in classrooms and hallways.
Exhibitors come from Paris, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Basel, Lyon, Berlin, Kuala Lampur, Belgrade, and Santiago, so it’s a welcome chance to explore outside of the New York scene. (Although there are some locals, such as two showing street art: PGartventure, with Swoon, and Folioleaf, with Rae, ELLE, and Dain.) Robert Montgomery’s “Trojan Horses of Our Dreams,” which proclaims in lights “we are just the wrecked and broke,” hovers over the entrance to the fair, and nearby a giant fuzzy sculpture hangs from the foyer ceiling by Shoplifter. After that, the booths are much less monumental.
Works on view seem to center on the small and scrappy more than the monolithic, with exceptions. A lot of the art is heavy on the DIY-style; I’m still not sure if a trash bag positioned on a staircase below pointed colored tape was art or not. Jessica Deane Rosner has installed her “The Ulysses Glove Project” with Rhode Island’s Yellow Peril Gallery (also part of the 2013 Cutlog), for which she wrote all of James Joyce’s book on cleaning gloves as a tribute to her late father and a comment on the “filthiness” of the literary words. Yellow Peril is focusing on “new realities” with its presentation, including tech-heavy experimentations like Paul Myoda’s kinetic sculptures that whir to life when you get close.
A site-specific installation by Monika Zarzeczna was hosted by Lesley Heller Workspace, while across the way are Haunted Mansion–esque mirror pieces by Daniel Horowitz with L’Inlassable Galerie, where faces are creepily washed out to drip down the walls. (The same gallery also had odd works by Edgar Sarin that you’re not supposed to open until he’s dead.) Jeremiah Johnson’s “House of Worship,” presented by Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art, constructs a religious temple from empty pill bottles.
Unfortunately, traffic was light at the official opening, but for those with art fair fatigue who want something more exploratory, or for those who prefer their experiences outside of the white walls, Cutlog is one to check out.
Cutlog continues at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (107 Suffolk Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) through May 11.