A century after the emergence of Dada, Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont’s curated section is all about political collage.
From the main attraction on the West Side piers and Spring Break’s Times Square free-for-all, to specialized fairs of paper art, design objects, and antiquarian books, there’s something for everyone.
Our handy guide to this week’s 11 art fairs in New York City, from the august ADAA Art Show to the diminutive Salon Zürcher, supplemented with animated GIFs.
Like a noble grizzly emerging, famished and irritable, from her den after months of hibernation, the New York art world is roaring aggressively into action for the annual Armory Week fairs.
This year’s Volta NY spoke many different dialects, but most of them seemed to stem from the same language. Although there were a total of 95 galleries exhibiting, with works ranging from the very minimal to the very ornate, a large chunk of the art on view was either obliquely or transparently narrative
A bit more than a year ago, Naomi Safran-Hon opened her studio to the public as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s GO community-curated project and was worried that no one would show up. The 29-year old Safran-Hon was one of the 1,708 artists who participated, and in the end, she was chosen as one of the five winning artists to exhibit her work at the Brooklyn Museum. Visiting her studio in Crown Heights, I’m not surprised that a large number of people who showed up voted for her work, which combines cement and lace and possesses a haunting quality that forces you to linger in front of her paintings.
Big art events in New York are often set up in opposition to the “establishment.” In reaction to the Whitney Biennial, there is now the New Museum Triennial and the BHQF Brucennial. The Dependent responds to the Independent. In this sense, I would compare Volta to the Armory — they are sister fairs who share VIP access cards and shuttle vans. Sort of the Lower East Side versus Chelsea. Note, the Armory was the first hotel art fair in the 1990s and, at the time, the upstart, up against the big bad and very establishment ADAA — how times have changed — is Volta an attempt to return to that kind of authenticity?
Across the street from the Empire State Building is the Volta Art Fair, a sophisticated and civilized art fair where galleries from around the world present solo artist projects. Elizabeth Tenenbaum and Elissa Levy of InContext Studio Tours gave me a preview of Volta New York 2011. After attending six art fairs during Armory Week, Volta felt different to me. It was a tightly curated, intelligent and a refreshingly friendly view of international contemporary art. The attitude here was more like a TED conference than an art fair, seemingly more concerned with good ideas than with commercial sales.