Spring/Break Art Fair Is Bigger, Flashier, and Scrappier Than Ever

Dustin Yellin's hyped-up, money-shredding installation does not disappoint.

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Margaret Boland, Untitled (2015). Curated by Tess Sol Schwab.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Brent Birnbaum, Untitled (2015). Curated by Craig Poor Monteith and Elizabeth Denny.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Morgan Pearse, Four Seasons (2014). Curated by Jo Shane and Philip H Ashley.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Aaron Johnson, installation detail. Curated by Chris Bors.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Anne Nowak, Dead Peoples Dead Flowers, installation view. Curated by Cassandra M Johnson.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Taezoo Park, Form + Formlessness: Objects and the Body (2015). Curated by Peter Gynd.
Photo: Cait Munro
Brian Andrew Whiteley, Fantasy and the Grotesque. Curated by Whitney V Hunter.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Antoine Lefebvre, Zollar Project (2015), installation view. Curated by JaZon Frings.
Photo: Cait Munro.
Antoine Lefebvre, Zollar exchange rates (2015). Curated by JaZon Frings.
Photo: Cait Munro
Bazaar Teens, installation view. Curated by Dustin Yellin.
Photo: Cait Munro
The Bazaar Teens at work.
Photo: Instagram/@bibusocial
Inside the Bazaar Teens installation. Photo: Instagram/@peenessenvy

Spring/Break Art Show, the curator-driven art fair begun by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori in 2009, is back and better than ever, despite a location change. With a whopping 95 curators (up from last year’s 39—see Spring/Break Probes Deep Into Our Techno-Creepy Culture), the fair, which opens today, March 4, and runs through Sunday, March 8, has secured Moynihan Station as its new venue. It’s just as cool and rugged as its beloved former home, the Old School in SoHo, and it’s packed with delightfully over-the-top art.

Visitors should be prepared to carve out a few hours to traverse the former post office rooms, chat with the super friendly artists and curators on hand to discuss their work, and even crack open a beer with Dustin Yellin (see Dustin Yellin Paints With $10,000 in Shredded Cash for Spring/Break Art Fair) and the crew from art collective Bazaar Teens.

This year’s theme, “transaction,” has provided artists and curators alike plenty of room for creative interpretation. From copious amounts of money art (seriously, the IMF could have a field day in this place) to more subtle riffs on the notion, anyone who’s amused, tired of, or baffled by the bloated state of the art market will find plenty to appreciate here. The theme also appears to have a special place in the hearts of the organizers, who actually staged a wedding at the press conference.

Even if you’re not a serious art collector, it’s advisable to bring a few bucks, because there’s plenty to buy here for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. In curator JaZon Frings’s section, artist Antoine Lefebvre has devised a unique way of acquiring social currency. One dollar will get you one “Zollar,” each of which falls into categories of kinds of relationships like erotic, hate, and friendship. “There’s a Zollar for every type of relationship,” Frings said. “We made this exchange counter so that people can exchange our currency for any currency they want.” We spent our last remaining bill on an erotic Zollar. Do with that information what you will.

In a room with suns and rainbows painted on the walls, Bazaar Teens, the team behind the fair’s most hyped project, were working hard shredding cash—you can even make a donation straight into their shredder and watch them turn your pedestrian money into art right before your eyes. “Why not just give away the initial 10k and call it good, and go without all this self-aggrandizing bullshit?” the project’s seven-page manifesto asks. “The answer is pretty simple…. They were going to waste money on an art show in a dilapidated building anyway.”

Wander down a hallway where toast is haphazardly nailed to the walls, through a shady back office area, and into yet another back room and find the money-covered canvases on display rather unceremoniously. The whole experience is a sensory overload in the middle of the greater sensory overload of the fair itself. And as the artists themselves admit at the end of their manifesto, we too felt like we were “still figuring this out.”

Once you’ve had your fix of art made from the stuff typically hoarded in bank accounts, check out an exhibition from the staff of art world hangout Beverly’s, as well as the “gift shop” curated by the fair’s organizers, a video installation from model/artist Myla Delbesio, and a mountain of technicolor treadmills tied together and whirring from all angles by Brent Birnbaum, curated by Craig Poor Monteith and Elizabeth Denny. We bet the aforementioned dollar that pretty much any other room you happen to stumble into at this off-beat fair will make even the crankiest of art fair patrons sing its praises.

For more Armory Week coverage, see Independent Art Fair Offers a Stylish Chelsea Haven During Armory Week, The Go-To Guide for Armory Week 2015 Art Fairs, and Your Art Agenda: 12 Exclusive VIP Events Not To Miss During Armory Week.

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