SPRING/BREAK art show’s “Naked Lunch” was a feast for the senses. Upholding the fair’s reputation of being a breath of fresh air during Armory week, curators embraced art historical themes of neoclassicism, realism, and the iconic works of the Italian Renaissance through a lively contemporary lens. The fair celebrated the 10th anniversary of its New York edition on Madison Avenue inside the historic Revlon Building.
Nods to masterpieces from the canon of art history were prevalent, presented to us with witty and innovative twists. Many took the opportunity to focus on notions of feminity, nature, and rebirth through their installations. While the show included a plethora of thought-provoking and overall fun booths, the following are the artists, curators, and galleries I think you should be sure to keep an eye out for.
1. The Locker Room, Plasticity
Upon entering this booth, one is greeted by what seems to be the granddaughters of Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon staring back out at you. The Locker Room’s Plasticity is a fully immersive installation centering on the female body, taking a pointed stand against the male gaze. Curator and artist Marguerite Wibaux has assembled a booth tracing broad notions of femininity through the narrowed lens of the breast. One of her own works serves as the centerpiece of the presentation, a sculpture of a woman’s torso with CCTV cameras facing outward from the nipples and consequently reflecting an image of the viewer on a massive screen. This work turns the male gaze on its head, with a feminine sculptor staring directly back at you, forcing you to reckon with your voyeurism. Another impactful body of work displayed in the booth was Alexandria Deters’ embroidered works, featuring nude images of Jessica Hahn, the model who was a victim of infamous evangelist Jim Bakker’s abuse. Through these embroideries, Deters allows for Hahn’s story to be rethreaded and presented to viewers anew, shining a light on the bravery she took to stand up for herself in her media frenzied story.
2. Francesca Pessarelli and Chiara Mannarino, Impressions of the Flowers Themselves
Curators Francesca Pessarelli and Chiara Mannarino’s Impressions of the Flowers Themselves presented a beautiful installation of botanical drawings, sculptures, and scents. Alina Bliumis’ works from her series Endangered: Portraits of Flowers surround the room, depicting extinct and extremely rare flowers. Each drawing is in a hand-carved frame, meant to reflect the plant it holds. By displaying these endangered plants, Bliumis allows for them to be reborn and to take on new meaning in the present day. Pessarelli and Mannarino’s curation has resulted in a highly meditative and reflective space, allowing visitors to embrace the beauty of the natural world in the midst of a highly digital age.
3. Dr. Giovanni Aloi and Erica Criss, Leftover and Over
The minds behind Leftover and Over took the theme of “Naked Lunch” quite literally when curating their booth, with the installation set against a deconstructed rendering of Edouard Manet’s iconic Dejeuner sur l’Herbe (1863). The sculptural works of Lesley Bodzy and Andrew Orloski provide a conceptual glimpse into the aftermath of the historic luncheon in a simultaneously lighthearted and deeply thoughtful way. Lesley Bodzy’s golden sculptures seem to be crumpled picnic blankets, forgotten by the picnickers after an afternoon of consumption of both food and sex.
4. JoAnne Tucker, Take This Fire
Nine large paintings by painter Colleen Barry composed the booth Take This Fire. The works focus on notions of femininity and maternity through nude forms. Several of the paintings depict a she-wolf, an image deeply rooted in ancient mythology dating back to Roman times. This in conjunction with bold female nudes reflect a message of power and strength. Barry and Tucker’s use of bright colors throughout the artworks and exhibition space emphasize this boldness, embracing a use of color often excluded in portraiture. Overall, these impactful works instill a message of fierce maternity and feminine courage in viewers.
5. Bianca Abdi-Boragi and Jamie Martinez, Only Just so Far
Only Just so Far depicts an international, open air market, bringing together artists from a breadth of nationalities and backgrounds. The works and overall curation signal a cultural exchange of imagery, food, and identity. The central installation of the booth is Jamie Martinez’s “Mercado 2”, composed of used burlap sacks and a stack of ceramic fruit. The fruit and coffee sacks all allude to Central American exports, which are often produced and sold through exploitative means. Martinez uses this work to shine a light on the abuse of land and workers that runs rampant through Central and South America in order to achieve capitalistic gains.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show 625 Madison Avenue, September 7-12, 2022
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