text by Keely Shinners
Art Fair weekend in New York is a dream for the travelling collector, but a thorn in the side of the press. How does one feel like she has seen all the best work without running around to galleries and exhibitions like a mindless consumer? The feeling only elevates when you’re a girl like me, stuck in Los Angeles, living vicariously through Instagram feeds. New York art fair weekend FOMO is real and poignant. To organize and categorize, I make lists. I make a folder on my desktop labeled “new york art grrrl shit” and dream about “being there.” If you’ve got FOMO too, check out this list of seven amazing pieces from this year's art fair weekend:
1. Tony Gum “Twiggy” presented Christopher Moller Gallery at PULSE Art Fair.
In these portraits, Tony Gum, hailing from Cape Town, reimagines herself as Twiggy, Frida Kahlo, and the Virgin Mary. Her work is innovative, questioning the politics of visibility and reproducibility (which proves especially poignant, as she is the only African artist to exhibit at PULSE this year) but not devoid of humor and humanness. Her Instagram from the other day reads, “If you’re at the @pulseartfair, come through so that we can do humane things like chatting, hugging, and dancing.”
2. Namsa Leuba “Sarah, from the series NGL” at Echo Art’s booth at the Armory Show.
Leuba’s work explores African identity through Western eyes. She has her finger on the pulse of the innovation and vibrancy of Africa’s art and fashion worlds. The series “NGL” focuses on a collaboration with Art Twenty One in Lagos. Leuba does an amazing job of capturing and translating the vibrations of the Lagos fashion and art world to New York.
3. Macon Reed “Eulogy for the Dyke Bar” installation (and real bar!) presented by Mackin Projects at PULSE Art Fair.
Despite so-called “victories” for lesbian, femme, and bisexual women this year, traditional strongholds for queer-girl culture are closing down. As the lesbian bar is threatened with extinction, Macon Reed recreates an empowering, generative, and reformative space. With real drinks!
4. Adriana Marmorek “Brasier Girasoles F (Triple D)," made of glass, on view with Nora Haime Gallery at PULSE Art Fair.
With a glass Triple D bra, Marmorek channels both the beauty and the fragility of the feminine. That which supports the woman, that which makes her beautiful, is also that which might break her. Her work is not all forlorn; the glass is also easily broken.
5. Wallpaper by Michel Auder and paintings by Alex Chaves at Martos Gallery booth at the Independent Art Fair.
Chaves’s watery, impressionistic still lives paired with Auder’s wallpaper gives one the comforting feeling of being at home, or at the very least, a home once dreamt of. But there is also something defamiliarizing about their work – the cinder block on the table, the acute intricacy of the wallpaper pattern. Here, we are once at home and somewhere strange.
6. Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson, “Untitled” at Fleisher/Ollman booth at the Independent Art Fair.
Johanson and Jackson’s painting looks like 2016 invited us into her medicine cabinet. Aesthetically, there is order, form, complementary colors. But a closer look between the apothecary bottles reveals a hot dog, an impressionistic lightbulb, and an 8-track. Once again, we are confronted with the colorful absurdities of our time!
7. Patti Smith “18 Stations” at Robert Miller Gallery
Though not part of a fair, Patti Smith’s third solo show opened this weekend at Robert Miller Gallery. Smith exhibits emotional, black and white photographs from her familiar haunts: the Greenwich café where she starts her day, Rockaway Beach, where she seeks repose. Like her music and her prose, Patti Smith’s photographs have an emotive tactility, like the memory of a place you have loved for a long time, a place you’ve never been before.
8. Genevieve Gaignard “Muscle Beach” at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show
In the middle of the New York minute, we get a smoggy breath of LA. Genevieve Gaignard’s installation feels like stepping into the kitschy apartment of your washed-up television star aunt’s Pasadena apartment – living room beauty parlor and all. Her self-portraits, which dot the walls of the installation, explores the LA alter ego, with our narcissism, our nostalgia, our desire to be “looked at” but also to be hidden. If anything, go for the cat knick-knacks.