The SPRING/BREAK Fair Keeps Expanding, Now Reclaiming Its Original Home as a Year-Round Art Space

For Armory Week, vets of the fair return to its old digs, along with some big names like Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch.

On the scene at the SPRING/BREAK art fair's new SchoolHouse Projects. Image courtesy Samuel Morgan Photography for SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

The SPRING/BREAK Art Show has come a long way from its humble beginnings back in 2012 at a shuttered Catholic school in Soho, when husband-and-wife team of Andrew Gori and Ambre Kelly turned largely to their friends to put together projects for their unconventional art fair. These days, their fair has graduated to higher-profile digs at the former Condé Nast building near Times Square. But despite this success, the duo is returning to those early roots, hosting a pop-up art show back in what remains of their original venue, at 32 Prince Street—going old school, quite literally.

“A lot of alums who showed at the school will be there,” said Kelly at a press conference at SPRING/BREAK 2018 at the main fair site. Among those returning will be feminist painting legend Betty Tompkins and painter and former artnet Magazine editor-in-chief Walter Robinson. Some big names wil also make their fair debut, including the likes of Stooges frontman Iggy Pop.

“It’s only $5 for entry, because that’s what we charged back in the day,” added Kelly. The ancillary show is part of an intriguing new initiative from Gori and Kelly that they have dubbed SchoolHouse Projects.

Installation view of Walter Robinson in SPRING/BREAK. Image courtesy 'Samuel Morgan Photography for SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

Installation view of Walter Robinson in SPRING/BREAK. Image courtesy ‘Samuel Morgan Photography for SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

The new show is, in essence, a testimony to their success. During the SPRING/BREAK submission process, they received over 500 applications. “We found we had so many deeply well-thought exhibition concepts either that we couldn’t include because of capacity or space limitations or that we didn’t ​feel fit with some of the other exhibitions despite being well-conceived in and of themselves,” Gori explained in an email to artnet News. So they looked for new ways to spotlight worthy entries, and looked to their former home.

SPRING/BREAK had decided to leave Soho originally when the old St. Patrick’s School was sold to make way for expensive condos in the fall of 2013. It moved in 2015 to the Skylight at Moynihan Station, the historic decommissioned post office on 34th Street, before partnering with chashama, the Anita Durst-run arts nonprofit that connects artists to unconventional work and exhibition spaces. (The Durst family owns 4 Times Square, Condé Nast’s former longtime home, and has lent the building’s 22nd and 23rd floors to SPRING/BREAK the past two years.)

So what makes a return possible now? “Because the center portion of the school building still belongs to the original owners, and because their interest continues to support community initiatives like our own, SchoolHouse Projects will house pop-up exhibitions throughout the year, transforming up to three floors of the 32 Prince Street address with contemporary art in the renovated spaces still belonging to the Basilica,” Gori explained in an email. “Exhibitions will take over rooms that were part of the former convent areas that made up the front portion of the school.”

Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori in the old St. Patrick's School, the original home of the SPRING/BREAK Art Show. Photo by Samuel Sachs Morgan, courtesy SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori in the old St. Patrick’s School, the original home of the SPRING/BREAK Art Show. Photo by Samuel Sachs Morgan, courtesy SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

This week’s two-part pop-up exhibition shares its “Stranger Comes to Town” theme with the main event in midtown. Gori and Kelly will curate a three-artist presentation titled “Street Life,” featuring work by ‘Ori Carino and Benjamin Armas, Adam Mignanelli, and the recently deceased Toyo Tsuchiya. Inspired by the school’s transformation, the duo will showcase art that speaks to the idea of bygone places, abandoned, destroyed, or fallen into ruin.

Curatorial duo Arielle de St. Phalle and Taylor Roy​ (aka the YESNO Show) organized a project at the main fair, but they are pulling double duty, bringing together the work of 41 artists for a show at the Soho pop-up space called “All About Frank.” It features artists including Pop, Tompkins, and Robinson, as well as Leo Fitzpatrick, Curtis Talwst Santiago, Jim Jarmusch, Larry Rivers, Luc Sante, and Robin Winters. The presentation quite literally will pay tribute to people named Frank, from personal acquaintances to pop culture icons.

SPRING/BREAK Art Show “All About Frank” and “Street Life” is on view at 32 Prince Street, New York, March 10–16, 2018, with a VIP preview March 9. Tickets are $5.

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