In Pictures: The Best Art of Spring/Break Los Angeles 2022, From a Hot Dog Rolling Machine to Personalized NFTs
Here are the highlights.
Kicking off the week of art fairs in Los Angeles on Wednesday was the preview for the Spring/Break Art Show, which returned for its third West Coast edition, featuring more than 50 curated mini art shows in a roomy warehouse built in 1940.
As always, there was a wide range of work on view, including some of Spring/Break’s signature over-the-top installations, all loosely adhering to the same “Hearsay: Heresy” theme as the 2021 New York show.
Take, for example, the collective Fall on Your Sword’s installation Kneel Before Dog, which features three hot dog rolling machines, their glowing heat lamps illuminating cast sculptures of the tubular meat-stuffs painted with the names of Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Stanley Tucci, and other actors.
Behind this altar to celebrity, three old-school televisions were playing mesmerizing montage of largely 1980s- and ’90s-era film clips of people eating, drinking, or preparing food, switching between the three as people interacted with the piece by stepping onto the platform and kneeling down. The entire installation, which includes a custom soundtrack composed by the group, costs $18,000; the hot dog sculptures, which each come in an edition of four in collectible storage boxes, are $300 each.
Artist Stuart Lantry drove the delicate motors and mechanized parts for his wall-size kinetic sculpture Me Means Meaning across the country from Philadelphia for his booth, “Autonomy, Automata and I,” curated by artist Shona McAndrew—who was herself a breakout star of Spring/Break New York in 2019.
Other large-scale works included Katrina Sánchez’s Welcome Passage, a monumental sculpture of rainbow-colored knitted yarn and fiberfill on a framework metal piping that provided a dramatic entry for her joint presentation with Allison Baker, curated by Boston’s Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.
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The pairing of Baker’s tiny, colorfully surreal drawings with Sánchez’s knitted and braided fiber art was one of the fair’s most visually appealing displays.
Spring/Break has a long-standing dedication to craft and unconventional materials, but also to artists embracing new technologies—often with a twist.
Los Angeles’s IV Gallery presented a trio of darkened rooms with large, single monitors playing videos that were also being sold as NFT art.
B.D. White digitally rendered his photorealistic animation of an astronaut in a room flooding with water, titled Everything Will Be Fine, while Sam Tuffnell used chicken noodle soup as a physical material for his strangely mesmerizing time lapse films of frozen sculptures melting and being reborn in a constant loop. Part of the inspiration was Andy Warhol’s famed soup cans, reimagined for the 21st century.
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Old meets new was also the theme in the booth titled “Odd souls fall madly/the Debris riffs endlessly/into the minor Gods” from curators Ankita Mukherji and Elisabeth Smolarz, featuring intentionally over-exposed cyanotype prints from the artist duo Towers.
Contrasting the use of this old-fashioned photography technique, the artists generated their fractilized images using machine learning, training the algorithm on works from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The artists want the resulting abstractions to feel like precious objects, recalling the sci-fi novel Canticle for Leibowitz, set in a post-apocalyptic future where blueprint schematics have become venerated religious relics.
“We wanted an anachronistic blend of imagery which makes it very unplaceable within the timeline of art history,” Lee told Artnet News. But even though an iPad mounted in the center of the space shows the AI at work, with an ever-changing display of morphing images, “there are no NFT versions—there’s something about the physical version which is very attractive to us.”
Another project drawing attention to the divide between computer generated imagery and tangible art objects could be found at the fair’s entrance, where artist Ya Chin Chang spent the entire preview chatting with guests via webcam, live from her studio in Hong Kong.
Her “Snackstalgia Buddy” series, presented by curator Queenie Wong, is a play on the wildly popular profile picture collections such as Crypto Punks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club. But instead of generating her images through the power of computing, Chang is inviting collectors to literally roll the die—it sits in a tray next to the laptop—to determine what kind of anthropomorphized food character she will sculpt, paint in oil, and then mint as an NFT on a green blockchain.
The completely analogue process also includes a rarity guide—only few buddies, for instance, will have wings or sunglasses, and it’s more desirable to have cocktail sausages as arms than the more common chocolate pocky. In the style of Bored Ape serums, collectors will also have the option of letting their profile picture evolve in the coming years, but Chang will only change the physical oil painting, while the NFT will stay static.
Three of the four example “buddies” had already sold for $1,300 each, and at least three people had paid to generate their own versions for $900. But while there are 10,000 punks and apes, Chang is limiting herself to just 36 works.
“We decided,” she told Artnet News, “that I’m not code, and I will not die painting!”
See more photos from the fair below.
Spring/Break Art Show is on view at Skylight Culver City, 5880 Adams Boulevard, Culver City Arts District, Los Angles, February 16–20, 2022.
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