Last week, New York City hosted the annual “Armory Art Fair Week” – a four day race (literally running) to view over 600 galleries spread across 8 fairs. In search of something I’ve never seen before, these 9 sculptures took the prize for “most innovative”:
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Alien-landscape-like collages by Gustavo Dia begin as excruciatingly detailed drawings (I’m told he sharpens his mechanical pencil every few seconds when he works). These new works translate his designs into laser-cut paper. Presented by Sicardi Gallery of Houston Texas, at The Armory Show.
“Shell Ashtray” by sculptor Nicole Wermers implies the humorous and tragic progression of sea shells. Presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery of San Francisco at The Armory Show. Note: This is NOT a functional object – the cigarettes (one stained with red lipstick) are part of the sculpture.
Rob Rhee creates lyrical frameworks from metal tubing – then ships them to gourd farmers with instructions to allow particular species of fruit to grow inside each. The “collaboration” between metal and nature is always a play of chance and hope. I’m told only about 1 in 6 attempts “work” to Rob’s satisfaction. Presented by JAG Projects at NADA Art Fair.
Though created in 2010, this candelabra by Geoffrey Mann still feels like it’s from the future (and so much cooler to see in person). It’s the result of 3D-scanning a silver candelabra – a process which “accidentally” also records the reflections and light flares as “real” objects. The final sculpture, a rapid prototype cast in bronze, makes light itself tangible. Plated in silver, it too is fully reflective. Presented by Sapar Contemporary of New York, at NADA Art Fair.
Jonathan Owen uses existing sculptures as his raw material. This REAL 19th Century marble bust was re-carved into a sort-of puzzle containing an autonomous sphere in a network of geometric stars. I’m not sure how I feel about the act of simultaneous vandalism and creation – a collaboration without permission. That question is one of the reasons why I love it. Presented by Ingleby Gallery of Scotland, at The Armory Show.
This 9-inch Lynda Benglis edition, cast in white bronze from a unique ceramic work, is my “most wanted” from all the fairs. Titled “Elephant Necklace”, it was produced by Lisa Ivorian-Jones for the New Museum Limited Editions, shown at Independent Art Fair. It’s equally beautiful from every angle – which makes photographing it endlessly amusing, and difficult to narrow down.
Last summer, Design Milk featured Alicja Kwade’s 10-foot wide assemblage of 9000 precisely arranged clock hands. That piece represented every hour in a year while this new edition’ed work holds only 12 hours.. or as I see it, an eternity. Presented by Whitechapel Gallery of London, at NADA Art Fair.
Sculptor Tobias Kaspar finds garbage on the street and casts it in bronze. Though not a new idea to “immortalize” trash, the decision to cut and polish a few of the sculptures adds a new level of beauty and intrigue. Presented by VI, VII Gallery of Norway, at Independent Art Fair.
The late Tony Feher’s sculpture may be the most contested this list, but for me it’s pure delight. It’s also impossible for me to explain or reason why I love it so much. This arrangement of tiny trinkets with an empty bottle is exactly what it appears to be, and yet produces an euphoria of hope, potential, nostalgia, curiosity and imagination, all compounded by the humble simplicity that’s a trademark of Feher’s work. Represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co of New York at Independent Art Fair.
All images photographed by the author © David Behringer