The SPRING/BREAK Art Show held its collectors preview last night, taking over the 22nd and 23rd floor of 4 Times Square. From March 1—6, art will trade hands within the very belly of the corporate beast. This year, over 100 curators have flipped a Don Draper-esque office situation into a total art labyrinthine. Corner offices with panoramic views of midtown Manhattan, sterile nooks and crannies, hallways, and landlocked reception desks are remade into exhibition enclaves. The rational grid of corporate space gives over to dissident play. By keeping overhead costs low for independent curators, the organizers of SPRING/BREAK spotlight emerging and mid-career artists: many of whom interrogate the values which get to be exchanged.
The 2017 show has its own reflexive exhibition premise: “BLACK MIRROR.” Visitors are encouraged to re-view visual culture (all of its historic dis-inclusions, reflections and distortions) through the prism of power and technology. Every generation has its crisis of reflection. Ours is one of exponential over-imaging—the corporatized promise of salvation through the selfie. How, then, does the artist image the self in a world of postidentitarian mobility when racial, class and gender imaginaries shape our world?
As with any art show, there are some sights not-to-be-missed:
1. Jason Peters’ site-specific installation titled “Extrospection,” presented by the curator and experiential designer Che Morales. You’ll be guided into a heavily curtained and darkened atrium. Get ready to face off with a large-scale, undulating structure (made up of illuminated plastic buckets pressed one into the other). This serpentine shape reproduces itself ad infinitum through mirrored reflections.
2. “The Den” curated by Marine Cornuet and Alex Sewell. This group show takes us back into the basement-den circa 1970: the suburban nest of American culture. Todd Bienvenu’s painted record sleeves are brushed in the way nostalgia feels.
3. “A Wonderful Unsure Atmosphere of Contemplation,” curated by Vivian Chiu, featuring the works of Victoria Roth and Amalia Mourad. These are exciting paintings, juicily formalizing the self in ways that aren’t immediately apparent.
4. “Flaneur,” curated by Rachel Dengiz. Tom Jarmusch (yes, his brother goes by the name Jim) sits quietly amidst his photographs of imploded and derelict sections of Cleveland, Ohio.
5. Lynn Sullivan curates “THEM,” filling an anesthetically lit space with inanimate, hybrid forms (from coconut shells to moving plants to car seats stretched and repositioned vertically). The works of Katherine Behar, Ellie Krakow, Dominic Nurre, William Powhida, and Danielle Webb hold each other in good company.
6. Catinca Tabacaru Gallery presents Greg Haberny’s “The Elephant in The Room Or: Stanley Kubrick Isn’t Dead.” You step off the elevator into Haberny’s entropic world. He’s cut up old artworks and sculptures, turning them into hundreds of hanging sculptures. Take note of the works pinned to the walls.
7. Rick Herron and Christopher Stout impressively curate a queer, generational dialogue around body, bondage, and intimacy through the works of Anthony Viti, Danny Coeyman, John Hanning, Peter Clough, and Vincent Tiley.
8. Kat JK Lee presents Jarrett Key’s Hair Paintings in the group show “Standard Standard.” Key uses their own body (hair on the head of a black body) as an abstract, mark-making tool.
9. Taja Lindley’s solo healing performance ritual, “This Ain’t A Eulogy.” Lindley recycles the energy of protest, rage and grief, surrounding herself in an undulating sea of black garbage bags.
10. “American Trilogy” by Phil Buehler has set up walk-in photographs, one that transports us to the Ferguson street where Mike Brown was shot and killed.
11. Marie Salome Peyronnel showcases special works by Alexandre Silberstein, Radouan Zeghidour, Albert Palma, Pauline Guerrier, and Sophia Narrett. For “Prieur universel,” Guerrier presses her painted body onto the canvas, leaving traces of prayer poses.
12. Daniel Horowitz’s “Civilization and Its Discontents,” curated by Ella Marder. Horowitz’s silver nitrated clocks thwart a sense of self as recovered through regimented time. He paints biomorphic, ghost like contortions of historicized, psychic impulse onto 18th century engravings.
13. “Fear Yield,” curated by Dylan Kerr showcases abstracted works by Loney Abrams and Johnny Stanish. Shredded and pulverized sheets of the Financial Times are mixed in with substances like chrysanthemum buds, rose petals, copper wire, and bee pollen—the stuffs, which promise to combat radiation.