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."
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. 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.
“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.
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.)
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.'”
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
Anna Cone, Gracelee Lawrence, Jen Dwyer, Lina Puerta
ANNA ZORINA GALLERY
Brigitte Engler, Robin Winters
Cade Tompkins Projects
Jacob Rhodes, Rachel Frank, Alissa Polan, Mikela Wesson
Jacqueline Goss, Michael Gitlin
Jennifer McCoy, Kevin McCoy, Jennifer Dalton
Jenny Mushkin Goldman, Jessica Davidson
Kat Ryals, Lauren Hirshfield
Ki Smith Gallery
Kristen Racaniello, Jacob Rhodes, Rachel Frank
La Mama Galleria
Lizzy Chiappini, Grace Caiazza
Marie Salomé Peyronnel
Marly Hammer, Lisa Wirth
New Art Projects
Nico Roxe, Valeria Castro
Park Place Gallery
Robert Blake, David Howe, Anita Cruz-Eberhard, Amanda Greenberg
Ross + Kramer
Sara VanDerBeek, Yelena Yemchul
Sarah Potter, Caroline Larsen
Sarah Sunjean Han
Suechung Koh, katelin Kim
Taylor McMahon, Breton Harder
The Bennett Sisters
Vanessa Albury, Tamara Weg
Wai Ying Zhao
See the list of Times Square Immersive works below:
CTRL/Command by Noah Scalin, curated by Dawne Langford at Father Duffy Square between West 46th and 47th Streets
A New America by ICY and SOT, curated by Zahra Sherzad at Broadway Plaza at West 42nd Street
The Rapture by Michael Zelehoski, curated by Ché Morales at Broadway Plaza between West 46th and 47th Streets
Eventual Artifact by Devra Freelander and Gracelee Lawrence at Broadway Plaza between 43rd and 44th 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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