There are at least a half dozencontemporaryart fairs settling in all over Manhattan this week and, if past years’ efforts are at all predictive, most of these are worth your time, your gaze, and, even in the case of the $47 Armory Show, your money.
But if you can only handle one art-scene madhouse between now and Sunday, the fairest of them all is always the relentlessly rogue Spring/Break, a sprawling, rambunctious exhibition which kicked things off last night by taking over two abandoned floors of the Condé Nast building in Times Square.
Spring/Break is a curator-driven fair, and each individual or team has been given an empty office, or conference room, or reception area, or supply closet, or whatever else makes up a corporate building, and is granted free rein to fill the space however they desire. There is a theme–“Stranger Comes To Town”–but in most case it’s loosely applied.
As you can imagine, with works from more than 400 different artists on display in dozens of different spaces, your reaction as you enter any individual “gallery” will vary. For the most part, though, this is thoughtful, provocative, often wildly entertaining survey. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the many highlights:
• The Williamsburg-(and LA-)based music company Fall On Your Sword work their usual interactive magic with a lively installation that combines the tech of Dance Dance Revolution with a thumping remix of “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys. Get ready to move in this room.
• Kumasi J. Barnett’s wall of vintage comics that, after some cutting and pasting by the artist, have been reborn as the adventures of the Amazing Black Man.
• The strange and wonderful three minutes in heaven that is Bobby Anspach’s immersive installation, “Continuous Eye Contact.” Note that this is one-person-at-a-time deal, so there will be a line.
• The bright, brief, looping videos of Thai artist Kawita Vatanajyankur, who cleverly transforms her body into the tools of a woman’s household labor.
• BAANG’s amazing Rigidbody, featuring the smoothest, coolest piece of interactive VR art I’ve ever experienced, “Wind In the Woods” by Jane LaFarge Hamill.
• The fully-realized world of Jeffrey Augustine Songco’s “Society of 23,” which includes rainbow-printed Klan-ish robes, garb for what the artist calls the GayGayGay.
The Spring/Break Art Show is located at 4 Times Square (enter at 144 West 43rd Street) and will be open to the public from March 7 to 12, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.