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Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept (Whitney Museum of American Art). Alia Farid, Palm Orchard, 2022

Spring in New York City can feel very magical: pleasant temperatures, cherry blossom blooms, and sun – it’s a great time to be outside and feel the vibrancy of the city. It is also a great time if you’re an art lover, as there are multiple art fairs to visit during the month of May. Independent, NADA, TEFAF, Frieze, and others like 1-54 and Future Fair, are promising great selections by beloved artists. Their locations are fortuitously located near clusters of galleries in Manhattan, so that your art viewing can seamlessly continue once you’ve experienced the fairs: NADA on the Lower East Side, Independent in Tribeca, TEFAF on the Upper East Side, and Frieze in Chelsea. Pick one–or all four–to attend, and be sure to explore the surrounding neighborhoods (read on for some ideas!). I’m so excited by NADA’s return to NYC – it’s not to be missed! I’ve also highlighted the exhibitions and events I’m most excited to see this month, from the Whitney Biennial to Veronica Ryan’s stellar show at Paula Cooper Gallery. New York’s spring art season is shaping up to be bright, busy, and full of aesthetic surprises. FAIR DETAILS Independent: Spring Studios, 50 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013 Thursday, May 5 – Sunday, May 8 NADA: Pier 36, 299 South Street, New York, NY 10002 Thursday, May 5 – Sunday, May 10 TEFAF: Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065 Thursday, May 5 – Tuesday, May 10 Frieze: The Shed, 545 West 30th Street, New York, NY 10001 Wednesday, May 18 – Sunday, May 22 After a pause of four years, the NADA Art Fair is finally returning to its hometown of New York City and we are thrilled. NADA, an acronym for the New Art Dealers Association, is a collective of galleries and art professionals representing contemporary artists. If you want to understand what is going on NOW and what’s on the cutting edge, I would definitely attend this fair. We are particularly excited about what Nino Mier, the Pit, and in liu galleries are bringing with them from Los Angeles. NADA Executive Director Heather Hubbs said, “The return to in-person art fair viewing in Miami this past December was reaffirming, refreshing and a resounding success, and we’re thrilled to continue showcasing vital voices and unique positions in contemporary art.” So are we, Heather! WHAT TO DO AROUND THE FAIRS Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street – cinema/restaurant *nearby NADA Eastwood, 200 Clinton Street– restaurant with nice beer/wine selection *nearby NADA Printed Matter, 231 11th Avenue – a treasured shop and gallery with artists’ books and editions *nearby Frieze Mercado Little Spain, 10 Hudson Yards – an assortment of eateries offering the best of Spanish drinking and dining in NYC, and just a stone’s throw from The Shed! *nearby Frieze La Colombe, 601 W 27th Street – great coffee bar *near to Frieze Shukette, 230 9th Avenue – absolutely delicious Middle Eastern food near The Shed and Chelsea galleries (make a reservation :) ) *nearby Frieze 192 Books, 192 10th Avenue – delightful bookstore with a great selection of art books and an exquisite curated collection of literature in translation [affiliated with Paula Cooper Gallery] *nearby Frieze The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street – exhibition space showcasing the multifacetedness of drawing *nearby Independent Maman, 211 West Broadway – French cafe with lovely coffee and pastries *nearby Independent Bel Ami Cafe, 30 E 68th Street – perfect place to stop for coffee and a sandwich close to the Armory *nearby TEFAF Le Botaniste, 833 Lexington Avenue – vegan food in a stylish venue *nearby TEFAF

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 6-September 5, 2022). Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 6-September 5, 2022). Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Whitney Biennial Visitors to the art fairs in NYC this May should definitely visit the Whitney Biennial. There’s something special about events that occur semi-regularly; they’re something to truly look forward to. The exhibition’s co-curators, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, have built the Whitney Museum’s 80th installment, Quiet As It’s Kept, around ideas and concepts pervasive even before an intense period of pandemic, protest, and planetary collapse. As Edwards has said, this Biennial strives to capture “a sense of instability, a sense of precarity, a sense of uncertainty” in the present moment, but does so by building on the past, as “history became a framework, an instigator” for the curatorial direction. The impetus “to make a show that felt like the times and conditions in which it was occurring” drove the curators to create a Biennial that Whitney Director, Adam D. Weinberg, called “a celebration and a critique.” It is undeniable that the art on display is exceptional–both in conception and execution–the aesthetic draw is there. But a challenge for the Biennial has perennially been how to bring together disparate artworks and have it feel cohesive for the viewer. The two main floors do feel distinct, almost like separate exhibitions. The 5th floor’s bright, open layout allows for freedom to move around the smaller installations, while the darker, labyrinthine 6th floor creates an atmosphere perfect for viewing the video works. Be sure to see the pieces by Rodney McMillian, Matt Connors, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and James Little.


Ouattara Watts, Korhogo, 2000, mixed media on canvas, 108 x 119 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches; 274.3 x 303.5 x 8.9 cm; photo courtesy of Karma Gallery

Ouattara Watts at Karma [April 23–June 4] Known for his vibrant colors and dynamic forms, artist Ouattara Watts is bringing his large-scale works on canvas to the Lower East Side for his first solo exhibition with Karma Gallery. Originally from the Ivory Coast, Watts studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris before moving to New York City. Taking inspiration from his cross-cultural background, Watts constructs fantastical scenes and mystical landscapes that are filled with abstract shapes and references to Vodou divination symbols, geometric diagrams, and numerical sequences. He combines these traditional painting techniques with collages of photographs and found materials to create a personal lexicon of signs and symbols, while searching for the common bonds that define humanity, transcending nationality and locality.

Installation view: Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum, Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 W 21st Street; photo courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery

Veronica Ryan at Paula Cooper [April 2–May 28] Coinciding with her participation in the Whitney Biennial, Veronica Ryan also has an exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery. Both installations follow an immensely successful two years for the British artist, who has been the recipient of a number of prestigious accolades including a nomination for this year’s Turner Prize. “Along the Spectrum” features Ryan’s evocative sculptures, which are created by combining fabricated and found materials. Employing a variety of craft techniques, Ryan transforms these everyday objects into poignant statements on environmental and socio-political concerns. Fruits, seeds, pods, and husks are a recurring motif, alluding to her concerns with the environmental impact of global trade. They also serve as a metaphor for the artist’s own sense of dislocation. Born on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and raised in the UK, Ryan uses her forms to explore how objects–like people–hold histories. By interweaving pieces of highly personal effects (family photographs and medical care items) with objects of universal utility (brightly colored netting one buys with fruit), Ryan examines the experiences of home, memory, and loss.

Photograph by ABA

Kerstin Brätsch at Gladstone Gallery Looking Uptown, German artist Kerstin Brätsch is exploring the metaphysical in a new series of introspective drawings. In her latest exhibition Die Sein: Para Psychics I, now on display at Gladstone 64, Brätsch has captured a kaleidoscopic array of floral forms, tubular tendrils, and ambiguous shapes in colored pencil. These lively drawings break from the paintings and mosaics that have come to define her long career, perhaps best exemplified at Brätsch’s concurrent exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale. With the desire to destabilize the traditional notion of painting and authorship, her works often incorporate artisanal elements, such as stained glass and Stucco marmo. Conceived during a prolonged period of self-isolation without access to her traditional tools, these drawings were produced in a daily routine of mediation. By looking inward and visualizing her own psychic realm, she successfully materializes her own subconscious into art. While no discernible structure or portraiture is present, these works still capture an extremely intimate look into Brätsch’s inner psyche.


Follow @annebruderart on Instagram for our favorite selections from the fairs!


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