1:54 – Bringing the Power of Contemporary African Art to New York

I immensely enjoyed the first two editions of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair , and this third one was also a delight.  Held once again at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it featured the work of about 70 African artists, represented by 19 galleries from Africa, Europe and the US.  The fair continues to be a testament to the variety of subject matter, techniques and media found on the African continent.  (The name, 1:54 means 1continent, 54 countries).  Here are some of my highlights.

detail from work by Zak Ové, plywood frame with sacking crochet doilies

Being an embroiderer, I headed straight to Vigo Gallery (UK) that showcased Zak Ové’s (UK) fantastic large scale (∼6ft x 4ft) collages created from crocheted doilies adorned with various embellishments.   You can see the influence of the Trinidadian Carnival (he divides his time between London and Trinidad) in his use of color and the musical rhythms of his compositions.  I’d find something new and delightful in his multi-layered works each time I looked. I love seeing traditional crafts being used in new ways.  Not your grandma’s doilies!

Kiosque Baye Fall, Cheikh Ndiaye, oil on canvas

 

Tapissier, CICAP, Cheikh Ndiaye, oil on canvas

Cheikh Ndiaye’s  (Dakar & NYC) cityscapes are master studies in composition and color – and restraint.  There’s nothing excessive about his use of color, and there are no extraneous elements in his paintings, in which he captures the everyday life of Senegal, yet takes it out of the ordinary.  Galerie Cécile Fakhoury’s (Abidjan)  booth included these two works above.

Untitled (diptych), Armand Boua, acrylic and collage on canvas

 

[title unknown], Armand Boua, acrylic and collage on canvas

Jack Bell Gallery  (London) had two very large canvases by Armand Boua (Ivory Coast) who applies tar and acrylic paint onto cardboard boxes and then strips them back to create his compelling and layered portraits of street children in his hometown, Abidjan. 

[title unknown], by Serge Attukwei Clottey, plastic, wires and paint

The Keepers, Serge Attukwei Clottey, bronze

Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghanna)  uses material from everyday objects, especially the yellow gallon containers, which he cuts, drills, and reforms into kente cloth like tapestries, or melts and recasts as bronze  sculptures. These works are a powerful commentary on trade and consumption in modern Africa.   Gallery 1957 (Ghanna) displayed the above works by this multi-talented artist.

Dream in Tatters, Benon Lutaaya, paper collage on canvas

Room  Gallery (Johannesburg) featured the work of four emerging artists, including Benon Lutaaya (Uganda/South Africa) , who uses waste paper material to create abstract canvases that touch on personal space, identity and yearning.

Desunited States of Africa, Nú Barreto, acrylic on canvas, amulets, other objects

(S)itor/Sitor Senghor gallery (Paris) featured the work of several artists, including that of     Nu Barreto (Guinea Bissau/France) whose mixed media work, Desunited States of Africa took up most of the back wall.  I liked how, through it’s simplicity and directness, this work makes you reflect on symbols and patriotism.

Mbeka 2, Maurice Mbikayi

Officine dell’immagine (Milan) featured the work of Maurice Mbikayi (Kinshasa & Cape Town).  The artist collects discarded computer parts, reworking and combining them with other materials into mixed media collages and sculptures, as well as photographs, creating a commentary on electronic waste and its implications for Africa.  Sadly, I don’t think he’s going to run out of materials to use anytime soon.

“Potus” from the “Of Saints and Vagabonds” series by Marcia Kure, collage

The gallery also showed work by Marcia Kure (Nigeria)  who imagines alternative worlds, with stylized, striking, hybrid images that, like fairy tales and myths, are reflections of fears and destabilization – albeit in post colonial societies – as well as hope. 

[title unknown], Ndidi Emefiele, mixed media on canvas

Rosenfeld Porcini’s (UK) booth featured only the work of Ndidi Emefiele (Nigeria and UK), whose mixed media tableaus with their distinctive style of oversized head (often wearing glasses fashioned from unusual materials) on relatively small bodies, upend traditional oil paintings in their exploration of issues of gender identity and social norms. 

Congratulations to 1:54 on another outstanding show – can’t wait to have you back next year!

If you’ll be traveling this fall/winter, 1:54  will be in London on October 5th – 7th, and they will be hosting their first show in Marrakech on February 24th-25, 2018.

Spring Break in Brooklyn

The Spring Break Art Fair broke with convention:  it was held in Brooklyn, and it was free!  It also was a move away from the Fair’s normal curator-driven shows, as this one focused on artists and site-specific immersive art.

The cavernous space at CityPoint, a new commercial/residential development in Downtown Brooklyn was the perfect site for the show, which consisted of a dozen large-scale works that you could walk around or through. Many had a political and/or ecological theme. Here are some of my favorites:

Sky Diamond, Jason Peters, fluorescent lights and water

Sky Diamond reflected in its pool

Jason Peter’s geometrical light sculpture, Sky Diamond, graced the entrance.  Composed of 23 prisms stacked on one of their ends, the diamond is reflected in a black diamond shaped pool in which it sits – slightly off kilter – so that, depending on where you stand, the reflection in the pool expands or contracts. 

Social Dress New Orleans, Takashi Horisaki, latex and paint

Social Dress New Orleans, Takashi Horisaki, latex and paint

With Social Dress New Orleans, Takashi Horisaki  http://takashihorisaki.com/ created a full-scale latex replica of a New Orleans shot-gun style house that was demolished in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  For three months, the artist worked with local volunteers, applying multiple layers of latex and paint to the house’s exterior, which was then left to dry until the summer of 2007, when they were peeled off to create a 3-D print of the structure.  This work makes the aftermath of Katrina very tangible.

Lux Aeterna, Adela Andea, neon and other light sources, plastic

detail, Lux Aeterna, Adela Andea, neon and other light sources, plastic

Adela Andea’s  Lux Aeterna was a wonderful kaleidoscope of light – whether as gently curving flex neon sketches, or floating objects of other materials that are illuminated.  The title refers to areas at the polar ends of the moon which are always in sunlight. 

Entre Nosotros (Between Us), Lionel Cruet, sand, boat, video, lights

Lionel Cruet  created an audio-visual installation Entre Nosotros (Between Us). With it’s rowboat resting on a sand “beach,” and video projections of a sun that repeatedly rises and changes color, and waves that continuously roll towards the shore, he’s created a scene that makes you think about the interactions between the sun, the sea, the shore, and us.

I’m looking forward to next year’s Immersive – where ever it may be!

Conception Arts Show in Soho

Making its NYC Frieze Week debut, Conception Arts hosted a pop-up show in Soho.  The fair, owned and produced exclusively by women – Art Director, Rachel Wilkins, and co-owner and producer, Jennifer M. Blum, Esq. – was created to focus on art by women and minority artists that promotes social and political change.  The show featured about 15 artists.  Works by three artists stood out for me:

The Sense of Place, Khaled Alkhani, acrylic on canvas

Z Gallery Arts  from Vancouver, Canada, featured the work of Syrian Artist Khaled Alkhani, who currently lives in Paris.  His work reflects the turmoil and disfiguration of his native country, which he fled in 2011.

#6 – A Kind of Masking Series, Kwesi Abbensetts, digital pigment print

Kwesi Abbensetts  is a Brooklyn-based photographer also known as Spaceship GeorgeThere were several works from his imaginative series A Kind of Masking, in which he uses dots of various sizes, colors and transparencies to either envelop the sitter’s face in a bubble of light or completely obscure the sitter’s face; alternatively he uses the dots as either a background or a framing device, which serves to highlight the sitter’s features.

portrait by Emma Worth

Liverpool-based artist Emma Worth  had this excellent portrait.

Conception Arts hosts events in NYC and other cities – you can find more on their website.  

Volta – Art Fair Review

Now in it’s 10th year, Volta features mostly solo artist projects, so you can get a better understanding of an individual artist’s oeuvre.  Some of the highlights for me were:

Sapar Contemporary exhibited the work of Faig Ahmed.  Originally a student of ancient languages, his current work is a deconstruction of the language of carpets.  The artist takes traditional Azerbaijani carpets as his point of departure, deconstructing and reimagining  them into unique, exciting pieces, often with sculptural elements, which are hand woven by local artists in the area around Baku.

Virgin, by Faig Ahmed at Sapar Contemporary

 

OCP featured Permutations by Sandra Muss , who transformed seven doors from an old lumber mill in the Berkshires into portals to other dimensions.  Dating from the 1800’s, these wooden doors had been encased in metal to make them fireproof (ironically, the lumber mill burned down).  The artist kept her manipulations very simple, wanting to maintain the integrity of the doors, which she found quite beautiful on their own – in Door # 4, part of the wooden door is exposed. She noted that doors have their own mythology, of being simultaneously entrances and closures.

Door #7 Sunburst by Sandra Muss

Detail, Door # 4 Beneath the Surface, Sandra Muss

 

Charlie Smith London showcased Haunts by Welsh artist Emma Bennet, who combines old masters technique and subject matter – especially still lifes – against an intensely dark plain background, making the flowers, fruit and drapery seem to float in a void.  Some of her  pieces contain lamps which provide only partial illumination of objects that are then reflected in a mirror, playing on themes of absence, familiarity and memory.  I’m keeping an eye on her.

Some Days a Shadow, by Emma Bennett, 2016, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of Charlie Smith London gallery

 

It was a pleasure to meet Adrian Esparza, whose work I had previously seen in Brooklyn.  Taubert Contemporary from Berlin showcased several of Adrian’s large-scale works, which he makes by deconstructing Mexican serapes, rewrapping the wool on wooden frames, and transforming them into abstract, architectural works.   Several of his preparatory drawings were also exhibited. Adrian, who lives and works in El Paso,  mentioned that he had studied painting at CalArts, where they took apart the notion of painting.  I would say his work moves that concept in new directions.

Adrian Esparsa and me in front of his piece Tunnel Vision at Taubert Contemporary

 

Rockleman & from Berlin featured  New York artist Kathleen Vance’s Traveling Landscapes, which are really that: aged suitcases, trunks and other pieces of luggage containing landscapes of soil, stones and artificial plants, often with water running through them like streams.  The artist used this work to question ideas surrounding land ownership and water rights.

Traveling Landscapes by Kathleen Vance at Rockelman &

 

This was another great show from Volta, so be sure to put it on your list for next year!

NADA – Art Fair Review

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)  held their show at the Skylight Clarkson, with a focus on new voices in contemporary art working across a wide variety of media.  Here are my highlights

The first thing that called my attention to Yours Mine & Ours booth was the sound – as if someone were typing on an old electric typewriter… but it was, in fact, an alien, typing on a laptop, that the artist Jeremy Couillard  based on his video game, Alien Afterlife.  I must say, it gave me the biggest laugh, having spent many years using both manual and electric typewriters…

Alien Typist, by Jeremy Couilllard at Yours Mine Ours

The booth also featured textiles by Robin Kang, which were designed on a computer, then hooked up to a Jacquard loom and woven partly by hand

Textile by Robin Kang at Yours Mine Ours

 

The gallery 11R had a group show of some great work, but it was the mono prints by        Aiko Hachisuka  that caught my eye.  At first I thought they were woodcuts, but the gallery director explained that the artist often makes sculptures from fabric, which, I think, gives her work a textural feel – and she has a great sense of color.

monoprint by Aiko Hachisuke at 11R

 

The Shane Campbell Gallery from Chicago showed work by William J. O’BrienThere were a few large-scale panels with paisley-like patterns made with colored pencils and an ink wash, but it was his smaller scale pieces made from cut and stitched felt that grabbed my attention.

Untitled by William J. O’Brien, felt on felt at Shane Campbell Gallery

 

Safe Galley featured work by Andy Cahill.  I especially enjoyed his large scale cartoon-like paintings, whose colors are applied using a squirt bottle, after which the drawings are made.  There’s incredible detail in his work, which is hard to catch with a camera, but the background in this picture is made up of tiny faces.

painting by Andy Cahill at Safe Gallery

 

Daata Editions commissions video, sound and web work.  They were showing Anhedonia, a six-part video by Jacky Connolly.  This is a machinima film, in which the artist uses game platforms (think Second Life ) to create her stories.  It will be interesting to see how this genre develops.

Image from Anhedonia by Jacky Connelly at daata-editions

 

The NADA    show has always been a great place to get a feel for what’s coming up next, and this year was no different.  Be sure to catch it next year.

Art on Paper – Art Fair Review

Now in its third year, the Art on Paper show is exactly that:  art made on or of paper, in the form of painting, prints, sculptures, cut paper…   With about 80 galleries showing, here are some of the highlights:

At Space 776, Korean artist Jungsan Kim Yun-Sik   showed work from his Bul-Lip-Mun-Ja series, in which he takes traditional Korean paper, with calligraphy written on it, then cuts it, sometimes rolls it, and recombines it with other elements, such as paper fish, letter blocks, dried lotus petals, straw hats, in this way joining eastern philosophy and aesthetics.  He also has some interesting work made with razor blades.

detail, Bul-lip-mun-ja, Jungsam Kim Ung Sik at Space 776

 

The Tolman Collection had a lovely handmade paper piece by Sarah Brayer, who’s originally from Rochester, but works in Japan.

Snow Lion Moon on Handmade Paper, Sarah Brayer at the Tolman Collection

 

Ronin Gallery had some great woodblock prints, especially Yumedono Hall in Horyuji Temple by Shiko Munaka, which he made in 1953.

Yumedono Hall in Horyuji Temple, Shiko Munakata, 1953, woodblock, Ronin Gallery

 

Toki-No-Wasuremono featured work by Yusuke Koshima, a Tokyo-based architect (originally from New Jersey) who entered that profession because he likes to draw.  He told me that when he designs a building, he is inspired by the site where it will be located.  In the same way, for his paintings he’s inspired by the paper, which he creates from liquid black and white paper – the resulting combination of black, white and gray forms the backdrop for his very detailed fantastical cities.  He noted that his New York painting contains a number of real landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge….

detail of New York, by Yusuke Koshima, 2016, Ink on Japanese paper at Watanuki

 

Stoney Road Press from Dublin featured work by California artist Monica Lundy that employs a carborundum process and gesso on Indian Khadi paper.  While doing research at the asylum in Bethlem, UK, the artist made a number of thoughtful portraits of psychiatric patients who had been photographed by Henry Hering in the 1800’s.

Harriet, by Monica Lundy, carborundum and gesso

 

Judith Hughes Day showed contemporary Vietnamese works in varying styles;  I especially liked this woodblock by Le Quoc Viet

On Lotus Pond, by Le Quoc Viet, 2001 woodblock print on paper

 

The media conglomerate Viacom has an art program, and they showed work by several of their artists, including Crystal Wagner , who created whimsical, colorful, paper sculptures.

Efflorvescence II, by Crystal Wagner

 

Put the Art on Paper  show on your list for next year!

Outsider Art Fair – Going Strong at 25

Last month The Outsider Art Fair celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Although it might seem as if outsider art is now mainstream and that a fair devoted to this genre – encompassing art brut, folk art, visionary art, self-taught art – would now be outmoded, this edition proved once again why the fair has staying power.    Here are some of my favorites.  There were many others.  

Gilley’s Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA, showed Melrose Plantation Quilt, made in 1970 by Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), one of Louisiana’s most famous female artists. The quilt is named after the plantation – and artist colony – where she lived and worked for many years first as a farm hand, then in the house.  A self-taught artist, she started quilting in her 40‘s and painting in her 50’s, documenting life on the plantation. 

detail, Melrose Plantation Quilt, Clementine Hunter, 1970 at Gilley’s Gallery

Nearby was a special display of the quilts by women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a small, rural town whose inhabitants are mostly descendants of slaves who worked on the Pettway plantation.  They use recycled clothing, feed sacks and fabric remnants to create unique quilted masterpieces, which have been shown in museums across the U.S. (A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these quilts were donated to God’s Love We Deliver)

Quilt from Gee’s Bend

Pardee Collection, Iowa City, IA, featured work by Oliver Williams (b. 1946), now a retired draftsman, who has been painting for fifty years.  Many of his images are inspired by dreams and old family photographs, or memories of his rural childhood.  I was attracted by the intensity of his palette, and how straightforward his images are (although I do wonder about that baby…)

Lion and Baby, Oliver Williams, oil at the Pardee Collection, Iowa City

I always stop by Fountain House Gallery’s booth, not only because of their programs for people with mental illness, but also because the work of their artists stands on its own.   I especially like Alyson Vega’s Beach Quilt, made from sewn paper, sand, and paint.  When I commented on it’s geometric qualities, the gallerist told me that Ms. Vega had been a math teacher! Often her images are cut from magazines and math text books. Her teaching career ended after 22 years, when she had surgery for a brain tumor.  That’s when she began making fibre art.

Beach Quilt, Alyson Vega, 2012-16, sewn paper, sand and paint, at Fountain House

Galérie des Nanas, Danville, Canada, displayed this magnificent hand-made coat by Danielle Jacqui, an 83 year-old artist who lives in Provence, where every inch of her house, both inside and outside, is covered with her art, and is known as “The House of She Who Paints.”

Hand made coat by Danielle Jacqui at Galerie Galerie des Nanas, Canada

Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY (which also owns the fair) exhibited several ink and pastel works by Domenic Zindato, an Italian artist who lives in Mexico.  The artist uses nibs and fine haired brushes to create extremely elaborately patterns, that only reveal themselves close up, giving his work an affinity with aboriginal art. I especially liked his sense of color.

The Never Seen I Bring You as a Gift, Domenico Zindato, 2015, ink & pastel on paper, at Andrew Edlin Gallery

Webb GalleryWaxahachie, TX, exhibited a wonderful tapestry of string and yarn by Robert Adale Davis. The fluorescent colors and complex, layered, obsessive stitching, combined with Insular-like images of people and animals (think Book of Kells), set against patterned backgrounds give it an other-worldly feel.  I was not surprised to learn that the artist researches the physics of vibrations.

detail of Tapestry by Robert Adale Davis at Webb Gallery, Waxahachie, TX

Cavin-Morris, New York, NY, displayed a fabulous mixed media collage, New York, by Dutch artist Herman Bossert, who unfortunately died two days before the fair opened. This is one of many works Bossert made using ink and watercolor with a semi-automatic scratching technique, to create different drawings (often of different sizes) which were then placed next to each other.  The cars, buildings and highways seem to spill off each of the drawings,creating the impression of gigantic metropolises.  Even though Bossert had never been to New York, he certainly captured its energy.

New York, Herman Bossert, mixed media collage, Cavin Morris Gallery

Brooklyn-based Cathouse Proper’s booth was again composed solely of the works of Daniel Swanigan Snow, whose career as an actor infuses his mixed media assemblages that are created from found objects such as broken toys, car parts, discarded appliances, antique tools and hardware, and often incorporate flashing lights and/or video. While they address serious topics, they’re often infused with humor.

Daniel Swanigan Snow at Outsider Art Fair, 2017. Photo courtesy of Cathouse Proper

TEFAF at the Armory

TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) Maastricht swept into the Park Avenue Armory for five days at the end of October.  Boasting 94 dealers from 13 countries, this fair of very high-end arts and antiques filled the Drill Hall, as well as 15 Period Rooms on the second floor.  What a show:  antiques, paintings from the 14th to the 20th centuries, small sculptures, medieval religious art, furniture, jewelry, rare books and maps… and almost every piece had a label which delineated its provenance. (The Fair’s catalogue contained the vetting criteria).  The dealers were very friendly, and I enjoyed the fair. It will return in the spring with a contemporary show.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Flight From Egypt by Rembrandt, etching using a plate by Hercules Segers

The Flight From Egypt by Rembrandt, etching using a plate by Hercules Segers

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam showed a short film about Hercules Segers, a 17th century Dutch painter and printmaker.  Segers specialized in paintings and etchings of landscapes, expertly detailed, but imbued with imaginary elements, giving them a fantastical feel.  Not much is known about him today, but his work was admired by Rembrandt, who owned eight of his paintings.  Around 1653, Rembrandt acquired one of Seger’s etching plates Tobias and the Angel, which Rembrandt reworked into The Flight Into Egypt (you can see a trace of the Angel’s wing in the print).  The Rijksmuseum is now hosting an exhibit of Seger’s paintings and prints, which will come to The Met next February – I can’t wait!

Exhibit at Gregg Baker Asian Art at TEFAF

Exhibit at Gregg Baker Asian Art at TEFAF

Gregg Baker Asian Art  from London had a lovely booth, featuring the work of seven Japanese artists.  The gold ground screen, with its Autumn Leaves abstract calligraphy by Ryoji Koie (2011) provided an eye-catching backdrop. 

Bronze abstract sculpture by Tanaka Isamu

Bronze abstract sculpture by Tanaka Isamu

The 20th century artist Tanaka Isamu had three lovely pieces.  I especially liked his copper abstract sculpture with its central design in gilt on a green and brown patinated ground.

[HORAE] LIVRE DE PRIÈRES TISSÉ In Latin and French, illustrated book on silk ; Lyon, R. P. J. Hervier, designer; J.A. Henry, fabricator, for A. Roux, 1886-1887

[HORAE] LIVRE DE PRIÈRES TISSÉ In Latin and French, illustrated book on silk ; Lyon, R. P. J. Hervier, designer; J.A. Henry, fabricator, for A. Roux, 1886-1887

Les Enluminures exhibited fabulous illuminated manuscripts, but what really caught my eye was this Book of Prayers entirely machine woven of gray and black silk, using the Jacquard system of punched-cards in Lyon in the late nineteenth century. It is evidently the only woven book ever produced, and the technique anticipates computer programming.

Vanitas With a Celestial Globe (The Five Senses) by Sebastian Stoskopff  1637

Vanitas With a Celestial Globe (The Five Senses) by Sebastian Stoskopff 1637

Galerie Eric Coatalem   from Paris showed some especially fine paintings, drawings and sculptures from the 17th to the 20th century – this oil by the Alsatian painter Sebastien Stosskopff – especially the celestial globe – grabbed my attention.

Reliquary Figure, wood and copper, Gabon, 19th cent.

Reliquary Figure, wood and copper, Gabon, 19th cent.

Galerie Jacques Germain  from Montreal exhibited figures and masks, mostly from West Africa:

Masque

Masque

Galerie Didier Claes from Brussels had a small but wonderful display of masks from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.  The masks themselves were exquisite, but the lighting added a dramatic note.

art miami new york 2015

Caught this art fair Friday afternoon, and enjoyed it very much.  If you go, and I recommend a visit , be sure to wear really comfortable footwear, as it’s a large fair with some 100 exhibitors of contemporary art. My dogs are still killing me. Fortunately, it’s all on one level with a few food/drink stations.

Most of the works were large scale (at least 6’ x 8’) ; photography, oil, acrylics were the dominant media. Many had a 3-dimensional quality; some were almost sculptoral, made from several layers of steel wire or similar material; others were made from painted blocks. Several works had a colored background interspersed with protruding nails or overlain with strips made from twisted paper or flat wood (or other material), producing an optical illusion reminiscent of op-art.

What I really appreciated most of all was the willingness of the gallery representatives to engage in conversation, even when it was clear I wasn’t in the market; many of them would still talk to me about the artist and his/her process; very often they initiated the conversation.

May Art Fairs

Art fairs are becoming an increasingly important part of the art world.  While they can be a turnoff because of their size, not to mention the crowds, art fairs are also a good way to see contemporary art, without feeling the pressure or awkwardness that you can sometimes experience in a gallery.  While it can sometimes be difficult to engage the staff at some of the gallerybooths, who are often on their ipads,or eating lunch, or in rapt discussions with their colleagues, if you have a question, ask it.  Even if you’re not going to buy.   If you feel a bit put off, try talking with some of the more friendly gallery staff; there’s no harm in admitting you’re not familiar with a particular artist or media (these guys weren’t born knowing everything about art either).  After all, if the gallery is serious, they will want to educate you on the chance that some day you’ll be in the market and may buy from them.  I’ve had some great conversations with gallerists where I’ve walked away having learned a whole lot more about an artist or a genre or a period in history.  Its also worth checking out the lectures and programs that the art fairs run, whether on how to build a collection, issues in the art world, or talks on a particular artist’s work.

It seems May 14th to the 17th is the weekend to see the Spring fairs.  Here are my picks

Frieze

Frieze Projects New York, an offshoot of the British art fair,  seems to have found a home in Randall’s Island, where you can catch it from May 14th to 17th.  I went the first time it came here in 2012 and was favorably impressed, if not a bit overwhelmed.  Now in its fourth iteration, in addition to the works presented in the individual gallery spaces, Frieze also has specially commissioned works, audio works, panel discussions and lectures.   

Miami in NYC

Also taking place May 14th to 17th, but on the West Side of Manhattan at Pier 94 is Art Miami New York, hosting 100 contemporary galleries from over 50 countries.  The line up of panel discussions look especially helpful for new or future art collectors.

1:54 Contemporary African Art

For the first time, and in Brooklyn, there will be a contemporary African Art Fair, May 15th to 17th.  1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair  will take place at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, showcasing visual artists from across Africa, as well as hosting artist talks, lectures and film screenings.

NADA

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is hosting it’s fair May 14th to 17th, at Basketball City on the Lower East Side.  I went to this fair last year, and found it refreshingly funky, easy to navigate, and without a lot of the pretense that can surround these events. Individual artists as well as galleries show at this fair. NADA’s focus is on emerging artists, some of whom are  highly skilled and others who are a long way from maturity, making it a great way to see the new comers from around the world.  It’s also FREE!