5 things you can't miss at spring/break, nyc's buzziest art fair
From Dustin Yellin’s new favorite thrift store to a fake Louis Vuitton boutique, here’s what to catch at young NYC creatives’ favorite art fair.
It's Armory Art Week, which is sort of like New York's version of Art Basel Miami Beach (except without Uber's fleet of yachts). The main fair takes place at Piers 92 and 94, but just like Basel, smaller fairs and independent exhibitions are popping up throughout the five boroughs. Without a doubt, the most exciting of them all is the Spring/Break Art Show -- a curator-driven fair staged inside the dilapidated offices of a historic post office on 31st Street. The space is almost like a movie set: two floors of classroom-like offices straight out of the 60s or early 70s -- original wood paneling, light fixtures, and in some cases, furniture remains in tact, though crumbling. Curators are encouraged to interact with these unique spaces, effectively creating hundreds of site-specific installations within a giant one. Before Spring/Break opens to the public tomorrow, we've rounded up five unmissable curatorial projects.
You Can Call Me Baby: You might know Myla Dalbesio as the "inbetweenie" model who championed body positivity in a Calvin Klein campaign, but she's got a serious passion for art. We followed her along her great American road trip last year, but she's returned to New York to stage a group exhibition at Spring/Break. You Can Call Me Baby features the work of ten exciting young female artists, including Miza Coplin (whose work you might remember from Grace Micelli's online gallery Art Baby) as well as Alli Coates and Signe Pierce -- the multimedia masters behind viral performance piece American Reflexxx. If Pierce's crazy colorful Instagram collection of neon futurist spaces is any indication of what to expect from Dalbesio's installation, we're very excited to see what's in store.
Apt 3104: Genevieve Gaignard is sort of like a 21st-century Cindy Sherman. The Los Angeles-based photographer, collagist, and installation artist's practice entails creating various alter egos. She not only takes self-portraits as these imaginative figures, she also constructs entire domestic spaces for the characters, crafted from beauty supply and dollar store finds. Like Sherman's, Gaignard's work often considers and challenges accepted beauty standards, but Gaignard's practice is informed by her bi-raciality and made more dynamic on the internet, where she posts as @creativecurvyginger. She's opening one of the most anticipated installations at Spring/Break, Apt 3014 -- a fully furnished apartment. The space exhibits Gaignard's recent photographs, but also includes a toilet, living room beauty parlor, and a ton of cat nicknacks.
Jimmy's Thrift: Azikiwe Mohammed is a born and raised New Yorker, but much of his work takes place within New Davonhaime, a fictional place he created to imagine new possibilities and futures for the black community. "The name is a combination of five US cities with the highest African-American populations: New Orleans, LA, Detroit, MI, Jackson, MS, Birmingham, AL and Savannah, GA," Mohammed said. "While all these cities are home, they haven't served us properly yet. Not separately at least. Maybe if we combine all of them we can create something new. We can actualize the promise passed to us from our elders." Mohammed has created New Davonhaime postcards and often uploads Instagram photos from the fictional city. At Spring/Break, he's created Jimmy's Thrift, a New Davonhaime thrift store packed with paintings, sculptures, and neon signs. He even got a shoutout on Dustin Yellin's Instagram.
LVDIY: Multimedia artist Alfred Steiner's Spring/Break installation also lifts inspiration from the shopping experience, but not exactly a thrift store. Steiner has created LVDIY, a parody Louis Vuitton boutique constructed mostly from cardboard, duct tape, and fabric paint. Steiner's shop features full fixtures of LV-monogrammed clothing and accessories, from tees and blazers to spray painted and scribbled handbags.
Minimized Histories: Last year, i-D met Talwst, a Canadian artist who recreates historical, often racially motivated, atrocities inside antique jewelry boxes. Though small and delicate, the artist's intricate sculptures showcase truly violent scenes from cultural history (in one piece, he restaged the shooting of Michael Brown with painted figurines no taller than thumbnails). "I always think about the first time people saw a photo of the earth from space. And I often get the feeling when I'm working on this scale that I'm in a Google Map, zoomed into this point, and it's the first time we're seeing subject matter this sexual or this violent on this scale," he told us. At Spring/Break, Talwst presents works relating to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Genevieve Gaignard, Image via @shulamitnazarian