Photo Essays

Spring Break Is an Oasis for Art Fair Haters

If you want to experience some of the most uplifting energy in New York’s art community, I’d suggest checking out this beloved art show.

Painting by Ryan Michael Ford (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

During Armory Week, people like to gripe about art fairs. There’s a certain art world cred that comes with the disdain people demonstrate towards the realities of the art gallery system being laid bare. The Spring/Break fair is different, not because of the way the art is presented (though that’s somewhat true), but more because of the spirit of this scrappy affair that appears to prize quirky projects that often fall outside the purview of more commercial ventures. Whether you’re seeking a rainbow KKK robe (see Jeffrey Songco), giant Cheetos-looking sculptures (paging Andy Harman), a contemporary take on Judith and Holofernes (um, Rebecca Morgan), or Islamic-inspired tile work with penises (Hossein Edalatkhah’s got something you can look at) you can find it here.

The experience may be overwhelming but the location of the fair in the old Condé Nast offices (currently administered by Chashama) overlooking Times Square is an excellent way to see this part of the city through the office windows all around.

Wander the halls and see mostly independent curator-led projects — some galleries and nonprofits sneaked in — and enjoy the energy that feels like a blend of an open studio event and a more conventional art fair.

Here’s a tour of some of the best I encountered during my visit, and stay tuned for Seph Rodney’s take from his visit to Spring/Break.

A view of one part of Jeffrey Songco’s “Society of 23’s Locker Dressing Room” installation at Spring Break
Elektra KB’s project offered visitors stateless passports
Sculpture by Onyedika Chuke, curated by Dustin Yellin
Alina and Jeff Bliumis’s “Cultural Tips for New Americans Under Trump,” curated by Ksenia M. Soboleva
Work by Andy Harman was placed in a prominent part of the 22nd Floor space, and everyone was referring to them as a ‘Cheetos’ sculptures
Rebecca Morgan reimagined Judith and Holofernes with an Americana and fairy tale spin, it was in a room curated by Martina D’Amato and Elizabeth Fodde-Reguer
Brett Wallace in his Amazing Industries “start-up” room, curated by Silas Von Morisse Gallery, NY
Sculptures by Allison Ruttan, curated by Nicholas Cueva
“iDevice” sculptures by Brent Owens, curated by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori
Detail of a wall work by Hiba Schabaz, curated by Field Projects, NY
A view of Belladonna, an exhibition curated by Calli Moore, and featuring scultpure Roxanne Jackson, wallpaper by Lauren Clay, paintings by Aliza Morell, and wall sculpture by Calli Moore
Alessandro Keegan’s “Savior” (2017), which was part of Mist Wreathed, curated by Kari Adelaide and Max Razdow
Sculpture by Robert Raphael and prints by Shaan Syed, curated by Jason Andrew, Kanad Chakrabarti, and Sarah Pettitt for Norte Maar
A view of a performance by Cate Giordano
Artist Zoe Schlacter dressed to match her textile-based artwork
A view of Stephen Ostrowski’s “Side Effects Include: Hope, Nausea” curated by Vivian Chui. The project explores the conversion therapy the artist was forced to undergo by his parents.
One of the works in Secondary Inspection Room Akathe Backroom: An Essay, curated Asha Iman Veal Brisebois, and this one is by EJ. Eunjung Park
New works by Chris Bogia
Detail of a work by Hossein Edalatkhah’s “He (Fifty Shade of Blue)” (2015), which was part of the Secret Gay Box curated by John Wolf
Howard Hurst plays doctor as part of Psychic Pharmacy, he diagnosed me as “Going Nowhere” and prescribed a nap and “Whatever The Rock had 4 Breakfast”
Works by Azikiwe Mohammed, curated by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori
A stump in Rachel Marks’s The Poetry of Earth installation, curated by Ché Morales
Work by Shane Darwent, curated by Trevor King and Clara McClenon or Breezeway Gallery
Work by Justin Wood, curated by Lee Wells and Erica Ensminger
Sculpture by Zach Hacmon and Paintings by Gal Cohen, curated by Wai Ying Zhao
Fernando Orellana’s “You’ll Never Know We Were Here,” curated by Sarah Walko
Detail of an embroidered work by Kelly Sinnapah Mary, curated by Natasha Becker
Hugh Hayden’s “Flag” (2012), courtesy Ethan Cohen Gallery
Sculptures by Mel Nguyen in Den of Egodeath by Brooke Nicholas
Works by David Kramer, curated by Michael Buckland
Bryce Zackery’s “300 Dollar Man” (2018), which was a special project curated by Equity Gallery and Oklahoma Contemporary
Sculpture by Jack Henry and paintings by Christophe Avella-Bagur, Jeanette Hayes, and Brian Willmont in Human Now, curated by Kara Brooks
Part of the Eric Mistretta installation, curated by Anna Kustera
Sound-based works by Foo/Skou Echo Chamber, curated by Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
Big work by Rachelle Dang, which was part of Superheated, a project curated by the artist and Jessica Mensch
Works by Kellisimone Waits, curated by Sara Driver
Sculptures by Andrew Erdos, curated by Erin Joyce
Works by Brian Paumier and Joaquin Trujillo, presented by New Art Projects
A room installation by Melissa Haims, curated by Inliquid Art + Design
Sculptures by Gabriela Salazar and paintings by Lumina Wakoa, curated by Adam Parker Smith
View of the (Hotel) XX installation curated by Indira Cesarine and The Untitled Space

The Spring/Break Art Show continues at 4 Times Square (Entrance at 144 West 43rd Street), Midtown, Manhattan until March 12, 2018.

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