The SPRING/BREAK Fair Is Moving Yet Again—This Time to a Former Finnish Embassy Overlooking Trump Tower

This year's theme is "Fact and Fiction."

SPRING/BREAK Art Show's new location at the United Nations Plaza. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show's new location at the United Nations Plaza. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

The itinerant art fair SPRING/BREAK is on the move once again. For its upcoming edition in New York next month during Armory Week it has nabbed perhaps its coolest location to date: 866 UN Plaza, the former home of the Finnish and Liberian Embassies.

“The nature of our program is that we’re constantly roving,” Andrew Gori, who co-founded and co-directs the fair with his wife, Ambre Kelly, told artnet News. Earlier this month, they made their West Coast debut with the first SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles, held downtown in former produce stalls, an outing which test drove the event’s 2019 theme, “Fact and Fiction.”

“This theme grew out of the 24-hour news cycle, the political minutiae of being an American, and fearing the ideologies that were being thrown at us by our current government,” said Gori.

The fair, which is now in its eighth year, launched in New York’s Soho neighborhood, in the former St. Patrick’s Old School, before moving to the decommissioned post office on West 34th Street. The past two years, it has been held at the old Condé Nast offices at 4 Times Square.

But every year, come January, Gori and Kelly are never quite sure where they are going to wind up. But when it became clear earlier this year that a new tenant would most likely be taking over the Times Square offices, the duo started scouting locations as far afield as an abandoned Roosevelt Island Power Plant.

United Nations Plaza. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

United Nations Plaza. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show.

“Even without the practical reality of having to move, we felt a curatorial imperative to find something new, and have a space that spoke to the theme,” Gori said.

The new location overlooks both the United Nations and Trump Tower. “There’s this duality of fact and fiction that could be emblematic in the view from the space, which we thought was interesting,” Gori said.

But SPRING/BREAK hasn’t totally left Times Square behind. Gori and Kelly have teamed up with Times Square Arts to host a free public art show. Titled Times Square Immersive, it will remain on view for the rest of March, featuring four site-specific outdoor sculptures by Noah Scalin, ICY and SOT, Michael Zelehoski, and Devra Freelander and Gracelee Lawrence.

ICY and SOT, <em>A New America</em>, rendering, curated by Zahra Sherzad. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Times Square Art.

ICY and SOT, rendering of A New America, curated by Zahra Sherzad. Photo courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Times Square Art.

In some ways, the new space will be reminiscent of 4 Times Square. Half the floor consists of offices; the other half has been gutted, leaving a raw space where the exhibiting curators will, for the first time, show in custom-built art fair booths.

The space is also significantly smaller than last year’s venue. Compared to the 130 curators who presented in 2018, this year’s show will feature only 85 projects, despite a record number of applications (in the neighborhood of 700).

“We enjoy that visitors can get lost in the spaces and that is a fun thing,” said Gori, “but it’s interesting for us to try and pare the show down and concentrate on the strongest iterations of the theme.”

One particularly effective exploration of this overarching principle in the recent Los Angeles outing was an uncannily convincing new series of work by “Richard Prince,” who is actually artist Jonathan Paul, disguised by a Hollywood makeup artist. (This reporter was very taken by the deception.)

Curators Che Morales and Andrew Cole represent Jonathan Paul as "Richard Prince" at SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles. Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography, courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles.

Curators Che Morales and Andrew Cole represent Jonathan Paul as “Richard Prince” at SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles. Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography, courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles.

Shown by curators Che Morales and Andrew Cole, the project was presented as a sequel to the actual Richard Prince’s series “All the Best,” in which the artist forged celebrity autographs atop their headshots. For the newer work, “Prince” sat behind a velvet rope signing his own autographs on small prints.

“I love all celebrities,” he told artnet News. “Everyone wants to be a celebrity, especially the art people.”

In appropriating Prince’s very identity as an artist, Paul was attempting to take appropriation art to the next level, Morales told artnet News: “No one’s ever done anything like this, especially with someone so high profile.”

Apparently the actual Richard Prince’s team reached out to the fair’s organizers when they heard about the project. “They were actually very cool,” Gori said. “They were like, ‘Appropriation, we get it—but we just want to make sure at some point people understand that this is not Richard Prince and that the truth is unveiled.'”

Curators Che Morales and Andrew Cole represent Jonathan Paul as "Richard Prince" at SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles. Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles.

Curators Che Morales and Andrew Cole represent Jonathan Paul as “Richard Prince” at SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles. Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography courtesy of SPRING/BREAK Los Angeles.

More cryptically, when artnet News reached out to Prince for comment, the artist replied with a blank email. Then when asked about that, he responded “exactly.”

See the list of the curators for SPRING/BREAK’s 2019 New York edition below.

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery
Ali Rossi
Amanda Browder
Andres Serrano
Anna Cone, Gracelee Lawrence, Jen Dwyer, Lina Puerta
ANNA ZORINA GALLERY
AnnexB
Betsy Johnson
Brent Owens
Brigitte Engler, Robin Winters
Brigitte Mulholland
Cade Tompkins Projects
Carlo McCommick
Chandran Gallery
Collective 131
Courtney Asztalos
Courtney Childress
Danny Orendorff
DC Smith
Dustin Yellin
DUTTON
E.C.LINA
Francesca Franco
HOWL HAPPENING
Ian Etter
Indira Cesarine
InLiquid
Jac Lahav
Jacob Rhodes, Rachel Frank, Alissa Polan, Mikela Wesson
Jacqueline Goss, Michael Gitlin
Jen Hitchings
Jennifer McCoy,  Kevin McCoy, Jennifer Dalton
Jenny Mushkin Goldman, Jessica Davidson
John Ros
John Zinonos
Jordan Segal
Julia Chiang
Julia Moody
KABINETT
Kari Adelaide
Karl LaRocca
Kat Ryals, Lauren Hirshfield
Kelcey Edwards
Ki Smith Gallery
KOKI ARTS
Kristen Racaniello, Jacob Rhodes, Rachel Frank
Kristen Smoragiewicz
La Mama Galleria
Lauren Powell
Leif Low-Beer
Lizzy Chiappini, Grace Caiazza
Marc Azoulay
Marie Salomé Peyronnel
Marly Hammer, Lisa Wirth
Mary Gagler
Momenta Art
NAP Projects
Natalia Sacasa
Nelson Santos
New Art Projects
Nico Roxe, Valeria Castro
ODETTA
Park Place Gallery
Patrick Mohundro
Queenie Wong
Residency Unlimited
Robert Blake, David Howe, Anita Cruz-Eberhard, Amanda Greenberg
Ross + Kramer
Sara VanDerBeek, Yelena Yemchul
Sarah Nam
Sarah Potter, Caroline Larsen
Sarah Sunjean Han
Suechung Koh, katelin Kim
Taylor McMahon, Breton Harder
The Bennett Sisters
UNIX Gallery
Untitled Space
Valery Estabrook
Vanessa Albury, Tamara Weg
Wai Ying Zhao
Will Rahilly
Yuting Bai
Yve YANG

See the list of Times Square Immersive works below:

CTRL/Command by Noah Scalin, curated by Dawne Langford at Father Duffy Square between West 46t​h​ and 47​th​ Streets

A New America by ICY and SOT, curated by Zahra Sherzad at Broadway Plaza at West 42n​d​ Street

The Rapture by Michael Zelehoski, curated by Ché Morales at Broadway Plaza between West 46t​h​ and 47​th​ Streets

Eventual Artifact by Devra Freelander and Gracelee Lawrence at Broadway Plaza between 43r​d​ and 44t​h​ Streets

SPRING/BREAK Art Show will be on view at 866 UN Plaza, at East 49th Street, New York, March 5–11, 2019.

Times Square Immersive will be on view at Times Square Broadway Plazas between West 42nd and 47th Streets, March 5–31, 2019.


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