Despite the rain and snow, Fresh Art International took to the streets of New York this week to explore the dozens of art fairs spread across the city. At the Armory Show preview, we reveled in the floral scent of Socratis Socratous’s carnation bales and wondered what exactly they were recording using Lawrence Abu Hamden’s “Big Brother” potato chips. As we watched a man on a flying carpet whirr by, we realized that fantasy and a child-like imagination were the common threads that ran throughout the fair. Stalls were filled with bright colors, cartoonish characters and, in one space, objects made of pop-cap gun rounds. One of our favorite moments was stepping into the pink hued imagination of Michael Müller.
Our next stop was the Independent Art Fair in the former Dia building on West 22nd Street. A little racier than the previous array of art, sex was definitely on the brain for these galleries. Penises and sexual imagery popped up around every corner. If these racy works weren’t your thing, you might have been drawn to Cuddle Monster, a giant purple stuffed creature, with arms outstretched for a hug.
We saved the best for last with Spring/Break Art Show which overran the offices of the old post office at 31st and 8th. This quirky fair vibrated with energy as the curators and artists milled about the space, with no real aim of selling, but rather to present what the fair called works of “passion.” This fair was a hodgepodge of creativity: works on paper, paintings, installations, and videos—all scattered throughout the two floors of the exhibition. Some of the most intriguing pieces were situated at ends of each of the hallways. In one instance, the rock formations of Grace Villamil grew within a vault accompanied by the Space Invader soundtrack. Visitors were invited to enter teepee-like forms made of shiny, crinkly space blankets, adding to the soundscape of the installation.