It’s time for NADA New York, the annual fair organized by the New Art Dealers Alliance. Just over a hundred dealers from all over the globe have brought their most stylish artists, young and old and everywhere in between, to Basketball City, on New York’s East River.
Here, in alphabetical order by exhibitor, are 11 booths and artists I could hardly tear myself away from.
Joel Mesler at Cultural Counsel, New York
Beloved New York dealer Joel Mesler (who has partnered up with Zach Feuer and runs galleries on the Lower East Side and upstate, in Hudson) started out as an artist, and I found myself laughing out loud several times at the po-faced, self-deprecating gags about the art life in this array of drawings and a few paintings.
Kyla Hansen and Max Maslansky at Five Car Garage, Los Angeles
Work by Kyla Hanson and Max Maslansky stands out in a great booth. Hansen shows a very funny quilt that’s based on a pillow of her mother’s; one end reads “tonite” and the other says “not tonite.” Keeping up the sexy theme, Maslansky shows a small painting of a woman with her butt in the air, her red stockings made of leather sewn onto the canvas.
Talon Gustafson at Good Weather Gallery, North Little Rock
This Arkansas gallery commands attention with a tiny booth by Talon Gustafson; you can buy the parts or you can take home the whole thing as an installation. The young artist, a Cranbrook graduate living in Brooklyn, turns his inner hand-wringing at his advertising day job into his art. Check out the little boxes on shelves with cartoon figures beheading each other, and the display up top of what I’m told is “the first doctored photograph.” Between them, it’s a jocular exploration of the wages of deception. The ensemble is titled, fittingly, How to Get Ahead.
Emma Sulkowicz at Kunstraum, Brooklyn
Helping, a video work that predates Emma Sulkowicz’s legendary mattress performance, Carry That Weight, shows Sulkowicz moving a mattress out of her home. It’s set to the sad soundtrack of her phone conversation with the authorities about the rape she alleges occurred in her Columbia University dorm room. artnet News’ Ben Davis called Carry That Weight one of the most important artworks of 2014. Helping is one of dozens of videos you can pick up at Kunstraum, also including works by Jon Kessler, Michael Mahalchick, Martin Roth, and many more.
Joe Fyfe at Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne
A New York artist, critic, and writer, Joe Fyfe shows works that bring together painting, collage, photography, and sculpture in offbeat combinations. Check out the photograph of homemade structures on a river, photographed in Southeast Asia, where the draped fabrics, transposed into an art context, cheekily recall Daniel Buren. The paintings on wood panel, with rudely punched holes, deceptively evince decades of the development of a visual sensibility.
Yoshio Shirakawa at Maki Fine Arts, Tokyo
Fukuoka-born Yoshio Shirakawa offers simply beautiful, modest, modernist abstractions in wood, affixed with small, stretched canvases that you could pick up at an art supplies store. Modernism may be a hundred years old, but these winning little assemblages show that it’s still with us, and in the best way.
Water McBeer, Brooklyn
“Water McBeer is a very powerful man,” Hilde Helphenstein, the executive director of McBeer’s sales team, told me at the fair Thursday, explaining that he’s very wealthy and jets around the world making deals. She’s tried to leave the job several times, she said, “but there’s so much power in this game that I couldn’t leave.” She’s kidding, of course; McBeer doesn’t exist. Did I mention that the gallery is a desktop diorama? It features bite-sized works by artists including Jamian Juliano-Villani, Cosmo Di Brie, Elizabeth Ferry, and others. Helphenstein stressed to me that McBeer’s art handler is Henry Gunderson.
Elise Ferguson at Halsey McKay, East Hampton
Ferguson’s gorgeous and lively abstract works combine rigorous geometry and the tactile appeal of the overtly handmade. Crafted from pigmented plaster, these works feature textured surfaces and just-so color combinations that will make you want to settle in for a long stare.
G. William Webb and Tony DeLap at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, Los Angeles
This brand-new Los Angeles gallery makes a strong showing. G. William Webb, a young artist whose father is a race car driver and whose whole family works in that field, shows sculptures he’s machined entirely himself, including a great floor work made up of oxidized steel rods in a metal frame; you can run your hands over them to make them spin. DeLap, a founding faculty member at the art school at University of California Irvine, has taught giants like Chris Burden and Bruce Nauman, and here he shows small wood-and-plastic sculptures from the early ’70s that haven’t been seen since.
Alex Chitty at Patron, Chicago
Chitty’s sculptures might look like assemblages of found items, but the artist, who was previously a marine biologist, crafts every bit of them, from the glass to the ceramics to the metal. They recall a number of other artists out there, but have a spirit all their own, and a strong one.
Lesley Jackson, Angie Jennings, and Walter Sutin at SPF15, San Diego
A young African-American artist, Angie Jennings principally works in performance but offers a large painting here. Walter Sutin has done charming small drawings, each based on songs, and Lesley Jackson busts out with sandbags inscribed with funny slogans. SPF15 is a project by Morgan Mandalay (also an artist), a series of shows that take place on the beach. Sign me up.
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