Given the unholy hell that's been raining down upon us for the past month and a half, it was surprising to not have seen more trenchant political commentary. I skipped a few fairs, so maybe I missed it? Then again, perhaps dealers were not so keen on biting that hand that holds the pocketbook that buys much of the art. However, there was a strong showing of presidents, early and recent, and a vein of nihilism that you just know runs deeper than what's immediately apparent. Here's the best of what I saw.
At Armory: Ed Paschke, Geoconde, 1987, oil on canvas; at Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago
At Armory: Kang Hyungkoo, Lincoln, 2016, mixed media on canvas; at Arario Gallery, Chelsea, Seoul, and Shanghai
At Scope: Scott Scheidly, Punk Rock Lincoln, no date provided, acrylic on canvas; at Spoke Gallery, San Francisco
At Armory: Panos Tsagaris, January 11, 2017, 2017, gold leaf on newspaper; gallery name is missing from my notes (let me know if you know )
At Armory: Russel Young, Barack Obama, 2008, screenprint on paper, edition of 20; at Long Sharp Gallery
At Art on Paper: Brian Andrew Whitely, Trump Legacy Stone, direct tombstone rubbing in pigmented wax on Niyodo Kozo paper, 2016/17; edition of 100; at Center Street Studio, Milton, Mass
Below: The actual tombstone from which the rubbing was made, resting--appropriately enough--on fake grass. You may recall that on Easter Sunday last year, this gravestone appeared in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Although the story went viral, the sculpture remained there for only a few hours until the police carted it away. Whitely eventually got his work back, and master printer James Stroud had the brilliant idea of showing the stone and making an edition of 100 rubbings.
The tombstone was probably the most photographed object at the fair, and the comment I heard most about it regarded the open-ended date. "Too bad it's not 2017," said just about every observer.
Beyond the presence of the Presidents, there was that air of apocalypse.
Fairgoer at NADA
At Volta: Andrew Schoultz at Joshua Liner Gallery, New York