03.06.15 Art Fairs,Press

Hyperallergic Spotlights Brent Birnbaum and Amanda Valdez in SPRING/BREAK

Read on Hyperallergic. 

By Allison Meier, March 4, 2015

Jam-Packed Spring/Break Art Show Pulls into Moynihan Station

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Brent Birnbaum’s installation of painted treadmills, curated by Elizabeth Denny & Craig Poor Monteith at the 2015 Spring/Break Art Show (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

In its fourth year, Spring/Break Art Show is temporarily transforming the disused offices of Moynihan Station into an art fair based on the theme of “transaction.” With more than 80 curators and over 100 artists, it’s more a series of microshows than the other fairs opening this Armory Week, ranging from solo installations to eclectic group exhibits.

This is Spring/Break Art Show’s first year out of the Old School on Mott Street in Nolita, which is for planned conversion, of course, into condos. Moynihan Station is also in the midst of its own conversion, but the old office spaces still have their glass-windowed doors, wood-paneled walls, and ripped up carpets. Spring/Break Art Show officially opened on two floors of those offices today after yesterday’s previews, although there’s been a bit of early internet attention for Dustin Yellin’s paintings made with the shredded remains of $10,000. Visitors can now contribute to said destruction and future art in a chaotic space created by the Bazaar Teens who are heading the monetary mutilation. While money is the most obvious link to the theme of “transaction,” including roses of currency and barbed wire by Margaret Bowland and a broom of dollar bills by Mark Wagner, there is also some work centered on the exchange symbolized by Moynihan Station itself. The James Farley Post Office has operated in the building since 1914, and work by some artists, like Riitta Ikonen’s assembly of mailed objects (ping pong paddle, pieces of shelving … ), recalls this century of use.

The art is all over the spectrum. A pounding light and sound installation by Visualpilots, an immersive cloud projection piece by Christine Sciulli, and Fall On Your Sword’s uncanny “Greed Is Good” video playing on an orb encircled by a carousel of empty bottles are all engaging new media works. A large-scale collage piece by Adam Parker Smith, astronomy-inspired metalwork by Steven Pestana, a kinetic pile of painted treadmills by Brent Birnbaum, and futuristic totems of stone and feathers by Christian Berman are also all standouts. On the other hand, the inclusion of Brian Whiteley’s attention mongering clown performance piece, which somehow got the media to pick up on his lurking in a Brooklyn cemetery last year, has a room full of clowns that feels more like spectacle.

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‘A Chorus of Objects’ curated by Krista Saunders Scenna, with art by Amanda Valdez at right & Nyeema Morgan at left

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