New York’s SPRING/BREAK Art Show has a new home, and its not the most obvious choice for the offbeat fair: 4 Times Square, the former home of Condé Nast.
Now preparing for its sixth edition, for the past two years, SPRING/BREAK took place at Skylight at Moynihan Station, the historic 34th Street decommissioned post office slated to become Moynihan Train Hall, a new station for Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road. The fair got its start in Soho, in the former St. Patrick’s Old School, which has been converted into condos.
“We’re interested in engaging iconic, atypical environments where contemporary art is often absent,” said fair co-director/co-founder Ambre Kelly.
“The narrative of SPRING/BREAK Art Show follows along trails of cultural molting,” added Andrew Gori, the fair’s other co-director/co-founder. “The migrations and travails of institutions—be they religious, governmental, or commercial—like most artists, are where our exhibitions roost.”
The fair is known for its unusual format, in which independent curators, not galleries, present artist’s work.
The building, which is owned by the Durst Organization, doesn’t have an art fair pedigree, but it did host the 2016 chashama gala for the Anita Durst-run curatorial non-profit. Dimly lit for the occasion, the space, including the dramatic Frank Gehry-designed cafeteria on the fourth floor, was a surprisingly atmospheric venue for a maze-like selection of art installations and performance pieces.
SPRING/BREAK will be located further up, on the building’s 22nd and 23rd floors, a perch that will presumably afford impressive views of Times Square.
The 2017 edition of the show is titled “BLACK MIRROR,” and takes its inspiration from art history (not the dystopian Channel 4-turned-Netflix show):
Consider the black mirror, a looking glass meant for aesthetic reflection—a way to isolate a subject—once used by Old Masters in landscape painting and portraiture. The apparatus was used for seeing the world in its most basic attributes, enhancing some features, obscuring others.
Likewise, what formal practices of artists today walk this line between showing/not telling or telling/not showing, the tight-walk dance between seven veils, showing just enough skin to be personal and throwing just enough shade to transcend?
Curators might consider the black mirrors of Today, dualities of the artist revealing too much or not enough of the self. The aesthetic black mirrors of creative process may be subject for examination—artworks made under pseudonym, underpainting counterfeits of your mentors, family photos taken expressionistically out of focus, collaged letters from a breakup. Additionally, modern black mirrors in the physical include our out-of-pocket looking glass, an Apple® a day, that Narcissus pond of 1’s and 0’s. Sext acts are a Voodoo doll of signifier/signified, our avatars bordering on occult, a world we wish into our devices a kind of crystal ball.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show will take place at 4 Times Square, 22nd and 23rd floors, February 28–March 6, 2017.
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