Armory Week in New York has no shortage of offerings for every ilk of art lover. From blue-chip galleries showing their museum-quality works to young artists barely out of art school who are still finding their voice and audience, the works at the six major fairs represent a stunning range. Somewhere in the middle lies SPRING/BREAK, the youngest, funnest, more affordable and most claustrophobic of the fairs. Held this year in the former Ralph Lauren offices at 625 Madison Avenue, galleries, independent curators, and artists have embarked on ambitious installations to transform their offices and cubicles. This year’s fair is centered around the theme “in excess,” and this feast for the eyes did not fall short. Here are five outstanding works from SPRING/BREAK 2020.
Steffi “Super Future Kid” Homa’s exuberant, playful paintings of rainbows, kittens and cupcakes are a sugary delight, as is her installation, which includes 2,500 pounds of salt for the floor, a neon pink river, and toadstool beanbags. Entering this Candyland through a gingerbread house dripping with icing, even the most serious of collectors and critics can’t help but smile. Two for Me, None for You: A Narrative on Excess and Wishful Thinking, curated by Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, and Ché Morales, ushers us into a world where our most selfish childhood desires to hoard candy and refuse to share are indulged.
Kate Klingbeil’s intricate paintings and their equally involved installation is certainly a stand-out. Mixing Pieter Brugel the Elder, Hieronymous Bosch, and a little bit of outsider art, Klingbeil’s paintings are dense with figures and minute details that create a landscape of captivating vignettes. For Burrow, Klingbeil has turned her corner into an underground lair, covering the walls in order to absorb the works and the viewer into her world.
Jessica Lichtenstein’s immersive installation creates a pink forest where women grow on trees. Nude female figures fall like leaves from birch trees carved with messages. Commenting on the abundance of pornography and hypersexualization, Liechtenstein asks, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Paper cut-outs of women litter the floor like leaves in fall, making a powerful statement about the disposabilty of women in a culture that values sex above all else.
Takashi Horisaki plays with the feedback loop that is social media in his #instabonsai installation. Using the hashtag bonsai to source images, Horisaki creates ceramic and cacti sculptures inspired by those he finds on Instagram. He then posts his new works to the platform, commenting on the commodification of this ancient art and its use as a status symbol.
As part of the fair’s “in excess” theme, organizers encouraged participants to “go for Baroque.” Curators Anna Cone and Victoria Udondian’s Tableau Vivant took the suggestion literally. The group show with works by Cone, Udondian, Max Colby, and Kirstin Lamb offers a contemporary take on the style rich with deep colors and luxuriant materials. It is telling that this truly Baroque installation is somehow simpler than some of the other over-the-top booths at SPRING/BREAK, but it is no less interesting or rewarding.