7 Mesmerizing Works at Art New York and CONTEXT

Make sure to visit Pier 94 this Frieze Week.

Still from Marck, Gegenstrom (2015). Image via YouTube.

Back for its third edition on the West Side’s Pier 94, Art New York welcomed 76 international galleries for its May 3 opening. For the second year in a row, it brought younger sister fair CONTEXT and its 44 participating dealers in tow. Competing for the first time with TEFAF New York, the fair’s opening day was perhaps thin on crowds—but there was plenty of great art to see. Here are seven pieces that caught our eyes at both fairs.


Marck, Gegenstrom XXXL at Licht Feld Gallery
One of the fair’s most show-stopping moments was Marck’s mesmerizing sculptural video works, which give the illusion of a figure trapped inside the artwork. The series, which he has dubbed “electronical performances,” incorporates translucent television screens. Marck, it turns out, is a former handyman from Switzerland.

Although the crowds in front of the works were dense, not everyone was captivated: “In 20 years time, this is going to be 20 times less impressive,” we overheard one jaded fairgoer insist. “It’s completely rooted in the moment.”

Yet surprisingly, these works are not entirely recent; they’ve been exhibited for the past 10 years in numerous art fairs. “We started in 2007,” said Licht Feld Gallery’s Fredy Hadorn, “and every year we are in Miami, New York, Basel, and Istanbul.” He then went on to explain how Marck makes his work, “[he] just buys TVs and takes it all apart.”

The largest pieces will run you up to $120,000, although you can get a small editioned book version for just $950.

Mario Carreño, <em>Dawn of the Volcano</em>. Courtesy of Cernuda Fine Arts, Miami

Mario Carreño, Dawn of the Volcano. Courtesy of Cernuda Fine Arts, Miami

Mario Carreño, Dawn of the Volcano at Cernuda Fine Arts, Miami
If you’re heading to Art New York for its investment-quality secondary market works, don’t miss Cernuda Fine Arts’s striking Surrealist canvas, Dawn of the Volcano, by Mario Carreño (price available by request).

“He’s a second generation Modernist and he’s very important in the canon,” said the gallery’s Isabel Suarez, noting that Carreño was featured in the 1934 show “Cuban Painting Today” organized by Alfred Barr at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Phil Shaw, <em>Shelf Help</em>. Courtesy of Robecca Hossack Gallery, New York.

Phil Shaw, Shelf Help. Courtesy of Rebecca Hossack Gallery, New York.

Phil Shaw, Shelf Help at Rebecca Hossack Gallery, New York
Blurring the boundaries between photography, printmaking, and digital manipulation, Phil Shaw’s hyper-detailed, witty depictions of bookshelves are created largely on the computer.

Each one is dense with jokes that invite closer inspection: Shaw’s latest effort, Shelf Help, contains books with tongue-in-cheek titles like “Find Your Inner Buffoon and Start Acting Like a Clown” and “A Pocket Guide to Claustrophobia.” It’s priced at $8,000.

“He doesn’t really deem himself a photographer… If you were to photograph every book spine, you’d never get them all in focus,” pointed out the gallery’s Georgia McCann.

Amber Cowen, <em>Rose Ombre With Clusters</em>. Courtesy of Heller Gallery.

Amber Cowan, Rose Ombre With Clusters. Courtesy of Heller Gallery.

Amber Cowan, Rose Ombre With Clusters at Heller Gallery
Among the slew of single-material assemblage sculptures at Art New York, the glass works of Amber Cowan stand out. Using traditional American pressed glass, she creates bundles of organic forms that resemble a wild bouquet of flowers.

Her muted colors reference the vintage glassware she uses, some melted down, some in its original form. Somewhere in there, there’s also an allusion to the loss of American glass manufacturing. “It all began with the last project she did during grad school,” explained Heller Gallery’s Katya Heller. “She started using a set of milk jar glassware her grandmother had given her.”

Cowan’s smaller pieces run at $7,500–10,000, while a set of her wall-hanging sculptures go for about $20,000–30,000.


Judy Pfaff, <em>Number 1440</em>. Courtesy of Accola Griefen Fine Art.

Judy Pfaff, Number 1440. Courtesy of Accola Griefen Fine Art.

Judy Pfaff, Number 1440 at Accola Griefen Fine Art, Brooklyn
Accola Griefen, which works exclusively with women artists, is presenting a vibrant suite of paintings by Pfaff, who is “best-known for her works on paper and being the mother of installation art,” the gallery’s Kat Griefen told us.

Featuring encaustic on found papers the artist sourced during her travels in India, the works are displayed in frames Pfaff embellished with silver leaf. Of all the paintings, priced at $7,000–12,000, Number 1440 stands out for its ingenious combination of wax and stenciling.

Sylvie Adams, <Em>Le Périple du Zénith</em>. Courtesy of Arteria Gallery.

Sylvie Adams, Le Périple du Zénith. Courtesy of Arteria Gallery.

Sylvie Adams, Short Fuse at Arteria Gallery, Bromont, Canada
Arteria Gallery is showing two paintings by Montreal-based artist Sylvie Adams, Short Fuse and Le Périple du Zénith. They evoke cloudscapes and landscapes, with soft patches of neutral tones paired with bright bursts of saturated color.

The sudden bursts of color abstract an explosion or implosion, or in the words of Adams in her artist’s statement, “transition zones alternating between violence and softness.” She goes on to describe how the paintings depict contradictions, the contrast of dark and light, and the complexity of emotion. “Change is a recurrent theme, as life is not a linear path but a constant change to which you must adapt.” Both paintings are priced at $2,800.

Amarilys Gonzalez & Yailyn Gonzalez, Plastic Guajiras, Organza silk and plastic, dimensions variable, 2016. Photo courtesy of Sarah Cascone.

Amarilys Gonzalez and Yailyn Gonzalez, Plastic Guajiras at Acacia Gallery
Two young artists, Amarilys Gonzalez and Yailyn Gonzalez, have hatched a delightful installation for their special project through Acacia Gallery. Made from recycled materials, Plastic Guajiras dangle from the ceiling like alien creatures above a lounge area in the back of CONTEXT, trembling as people walk by. The installation uses pulled silk and plastic, and according to the gallery’s Darys J. Vázquez Aguiar, “they only use recyclable materials, like plastic, newspaper, and nylons.”

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