(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.


05 March 2014

SPRING/ BREAK ART SHOW

Grace Villamil, Midi Midinette, 2014 
This year’s visit marks my third experience wandering the halls of the Old School, and, perhaps last year I was a bit more pessimistic about SPRING/BREAK Art Show because I was overwhelmed by the crowd and space. Rather than hitting the fair during the VIP Vernissage and exchanging numerous amounts of kiss-kiss hellos, I opted for the press preview and the result was incredibly satisfactory. SPRING/BREAK Art Show (though spring feels forever and a day away), New York City’s curator-driven art fair returns to Mott Street for its third installment. The sun was still shining when I arrived, and the natural light made for optimal viewing, especially for Midi Midinette by Grace Villamil. The artist transformed the small room into a white cupboard, complete with a picketed gate and green turf on the floor and shelves lined with canned goods featuring the many faces of the art world including the likes of Nancy Spector, Klaus Biesenbach, Jeffrey Deitch and many more. I couldn’t find anyone to further inquire about the work while I was there and I’m assuming most of the faces are those of curators. Nonetheless, I thought it was clever and well-executed. The fair’s central theme PUBLICPRIVATE ”surveys how the high visibility of the self in the 21st Century everyday–via social network, selfie ubiquity, jealous vacation landscape, video-game avatar, and surveillance M.O.–activates and disinhibits the artist practice, and that contrary or complementary production of self which is the artist process.”

Grace Villamil, Midi Midinette, 2014 
The theme is valid and relatable, everyone loves a good selfie, although some artists were more poignant than others. The show tries to offer a “break” from the typical art fair model, however, rather than a 3- sided white walled space, such as Scope or Armory, we’re walking through old classrooms. Some of the group shows felt disconnected and my attention was drawn more to the installations and video projects. Peering in and out of the school’s amazing small spaces, maybe they’re old custodian closets, whatever they once served, they are perfect for installation and video. So, naturally, the works I found most appealing were just that.

Ramon Silva, Becoming Beyonce, 2014
Becoming Beyoncé by artist Ramon Silva addresses Beyoncé's world dominance over popular culture and, through several media (video, music, print), the work paints a narrative around her rise to the top. The wide-format video hugs the small space creating what appears as a three-walled projection. Hypnotic, geometric designs throughout the video reference the pop icon’s mass appeal. The prints lining the wall include not only Beyoncé's face but iconography such as the Merkabah, or the Chariot of Ascension, the planet Saturn, which symbolizes Beyoncé's astrological sign, Virgo, and other personal references for the artist himself.

Ramon Silva, Becoming Beyonce, 2014
Jordan Eagle’s Blood Illuminations uses overhead projectors to turn several walls into what one sees when they look into a microscope. More beautiful than eerie, the plexiglass plates of preserved blood not only illuminate, but are a noteworthy part of SPRING/BREAK.

Jordan Eagles, Blood Illuminations, 2014

Jordan Eagles, Blood Illuminations, 2014
And on your way out do not forget to look up at the vent. There you will find Coralina Meyer’s Toxic Shock Syndrome (After Now), City of Today for Feminine Urbanism, a historic reenactment of the 1963 Civil Rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama. Innovative placement, the video’s subject shows “the desperate housewife protestor being dragged through the streets, drawn and quartered by white police officers whose position of power is replaced in this installation by a dilapidated building’s air circulation shaft.” For more information on SPRING/BREAK Art Show visit their website. The fair runs until Sunday, March 9th.

Coralina Meyer, screenshot of Toxic Shock Syndrome (After now)

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