The Spring Break Art Exhibition is a barometer of New York’s popular art scene and of the creativity bubbling beneath the surface of the commercial art world as a whole. This year’s theme, YES-SAY: HERESIA, stirs up recent concern about the truth, facts and conspiracies. The topic prompted a whole series of participants to explore various themes of medieval inspiration, which was touched upon in the fair’s initial call for applications. The overall vibe seems to capture the fragmented nature of reality these days and the dark, ominous undertones it all suggests.
Some use design and architecture to frame their presentations – a stand organized by David Behringer and showcasing works by Chambliss Globbi, has a real 15th century table in the center, while Cade Tompkins projects, starring artists Bob Dilworth and Nafis M. While, even recreates an arcade of pointed arches that evokes stripped-down Tuscan churches. Others fully embrace embroidery, tapestries and other woven works, including the Jacquard works of Steve Locke at Rivalry, that of Anne Spalter AI-generated plague tapestries, Michael Sylvan Robinson “To ward off late capitalism”Sculptural garment, and Macauley Norman’s spider-shaped works at The spider’s web castle – and these are just a sample dozens of works in this vein. A few even use decorative bread, combining the romanticism of medieval bread-making with a more recent pandemic (Bianca Abdi-Boragi’s excellent bread chair and table is a stumbling block to the Spell life after death presentation by curator Taylor Hansen Hughes, and bread sculptures by Adriana Gallo at Blessed body, curated by Abby Cheney and Hanna Washburn, are a delight).
I kept asking artists and curators why they thought there was a lot of fabric and woven artwork. Macauley Norman had the most convincing explanation when he spoke about spiders, which he uses extensively in his current work presented by Deep space gallery, and how the arachnid repairs its web when damaged (echoing the feelings of pain and stress we’ve all experienced over the past year and a half) and how the repetitive nature of such work can be meditative.
Over the past decades, woven and knitted works have become part of the growing dominant vocabulary of contemporary art that continues to reexamine the hierarchies of art and authorship. Historically, woven works were not considered authors, unlike paintings, sculptures, and even metalwork, perhaps in part because they were often made by women. Carpets are a good example of these types of objects whose authors have not been recorded, and here the carpet-like works feature prominently in the impressive work of Chiara No. without bellows installation at Field Projects, curated by Kris Racaniello, and in presentations by Emily Oliviera, who exhibits hook rugs in the Spantzo gallery Mimzie and a larger quilt-like artwork in Chris Bors & Fred Fleisher’s Nothing shocking. Is this questioning of paternity one of the things that makes textiles so attractive to artists today?
I can imagine that working with textiles and other soft materials was also appealing to those of us who spent much of the pandemic in cramped spaces, as they are odorless, don’t often involve toxic materials. (unless you dye them) and are easy to store, a constant problem for artists through the ages. While the motivations for doing this type of work are certainly diverse, I can also imagine that being robbed of hugs and physical contact during the pandemic also sparked the desire for such tactile work, as if to overcompensate the continued ban on touching. his entourage. .
There is a wide range of paintings on display, including Kyle hittmeierThe funny and strangely alluring works about Freeports that use post-it and Cayman Islands images, the vibrant designs by Daniel Morowitz and the bold use of color in what appear to be images inspired by mythology, and the beautifully eerie canvases by Bruno Leydet which feel quite intimate and quirky. And since we are in 2021, Mr. Charlene Stevens’s Chapel The exhibit includes a few NFTs for sale, but it’s worth noting that the whole of the digitally inspired show is beautifully cohesive.
Overall, this feels like one of the strongest years for Spring Break, and a celebration of the community that they’ve brought together under one roof and nurtured for about a decade.
The 2021 Spring Break the art exhibition will continue at 625 Madison Avenue (Midtown, Manhattan) until September 13, 2021.
Art fairs always seem to favor and celebrate consumer behavior. But they also give me the opportunity to reconnect, to revisit, to see the work of an artist and to share the radiance of my community.
A comic book artist walking through Spring Break spots a seersucker costume, spiders, and a giant sliced ham, among other curiosities.
Adams finds beauty in the earth and nature through layers of complications, chaos, and daily work.