There’s a lot to look forward to next week.
Sarah Cascone, February 24, 2017
New York’s SPRING/BREAK Art Show has finally revealed the list of its 2017 curators responding to the theme “BLACK MIRROR,” based on the idea of identity and what artists chose to reveal to the world of their personal selves.
It’s an organizing principle that is drawn from the Claude glass, or black mirror, used by the Old Masters, but is all the more engaging given the demise of privacy thanks to modern technology.
The scrappy fair, known for transforming unusual historic buildings into temporary contemporary art venues, has a new home this year, trading the decommissioned 34th Street post office at Skylight at Moynihan Station for 4 Times Square, the former home of Condé Nast.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new venue, owned by the Durst Organization, comes with a new creative partner: Anita Durst’s non-profit curatorial group chashama, which has held programming in the building before, will be the recipient of the proceeds of SPRING/BREAK’s annual benefit auction, in addition to presenting the work of five artists, curated by Janusz Jaworski.
“Re-thinking what ‘art space’ means and how to provide artists and art professionals with more has always been [chashama’s] vision, and that vision has changed the city we live in for the better,” said fair co-founder and co-director Andrew Gori in a statement.
Projects to look forward to next week include Sean Fader’s “365 Profile Pics,” presented in a special project booth via New York’s Denny Gallery.
The artist offered up 400 green-screened selfies to Photoshop pros around the world, hiring them to turn the images into profile pictures that “make me look amazing and my life look awesome.” The artist shared the results on his various social media channels every day for a year.
Michael Holman, who played in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s band GREY, will debut a new series of work at the fair. “I’m a Black man deconstructing the Confederate flag with ancestors who fought in the Civil War on the South side,” he told Art Slant, noting that it was the recent presidential election that prompted him to share these challenging pieces now. Gori and the fair’s other co-director/co-founder, Ambre Kelly, are curating.
The fair will also unveil a series of never-before-seen photographs of Basquiat, taken by his first girlfriend, Alexis Adler, who ran into some opposition from the artist’s family when she attempted to sell some of his effects at Christie’s in 2014.
“This was a time before Jean had canvases to work with, so he used whatever he could get his hands on, as he was constantly creating,” said Adler to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which currently has an exhibition, “Basquiat Before Basquiat,” of the photos she took in 1979 and 1980, when the two lived together. (Jane Kim of New York gallery 33 orchard is curating the Adler presentation at the fair.)
“Jean was able to make money for paint and his share of the rent, which was $80 a month, by selling sweatshirts on the street,” she said. “He knew that he was a great artist.”
Justin de Demko, director of New York’s Castor Gallery, will bring a monochrome bedroom installation by Tamara Santibañez, a semi-autobiographical affair decorated entirely in ballpoint pen, featuring band posters and punk clothing accessories, among other personal effects. It’s titled Thinking About Everything, but Then Again, I Was Thinking About Nothing.
Scott Chasse of Brooklyn’s Calico Gallery will restage Amanda Browder’s In Search Of: Chromatic Hi-Five!, a box truck wrapped in a colorful quilt of donated fabrics that first appeared in Toronto in 2011. The artist will convert the former office space into an auto mechanic’s garage.
Other curators, like Marie Salomé Peyronnel, will present group shows. “Minus the Sun,” takes a dark reading of the “BLACK MIRROR” theme, exploring how we reveal ourselves under cover of night, through “nightmares and bedtime fears, faith and prayers, boredom, loneliness, love, even illicit exploration of the city…”
Maureen Sullivan will take a slightly more optimistic tack with her group presentation “Do You Feel Lucky, Punk,” inspired by the idea that “in these times, we need a whole lot of luck, a lot of strength, and inventive ways to give the finger and express our dissatisfaction, while keeping our sense of humor.”