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New York’s Afternoon of Art Fairs

From thought-provoking to garish, modern to philosophical, New York’s recent art fairs presented a noteworthy spread of modern and post-modern art, against the backdrop of New York Fashion Week.

South Capriani Independent New York 

Cipriani South Street. ©Independent New York, Photo: Etienne Frossard.

The fall art scene took off with a roaring start alongside Fashion Week in New York City and while it was (almost) impossible to attend all the vernissages and VIP events taking place across the city this past week, we investigated a few art events in unique venues.  
First on the list was a visit to Independent at the swanky Casa Cipriani located in the meticulously renovated historic Maritime Building at the tip of Manhattan. Channeling the upscale European art fairs, Independent (founded 2010) succeeds only by the fact that it’s now located in Casa Cipriani which oozes elegance. The outdoor bar on the second floor balcony was teeming with service staff and two full bars! Inside, 32 galleries from around the world, representing 20th century “art” were spread out in the landmark designated but refreshed ball room. Overall, the selection and exhibits were uninspiring and graphically assaulting, garish and angry, begging the question of who designates these artists as collectible “artists”. However, two of the galleries had striking and extraordinary exhibits.  

Dormiveglia 1998
Francesco Clemente's Dormiveglia V (1998); oil on canvas. ©Vito Schnabel Gallery.

Vito Schnabel Gallery’s Dormiveglia is a 1998 series of nine monumental paintings by Francesco Clemente (b. 1952). The title comes from an Italian expression for the state in between sleep and waking, dream and reality. More than ten feet high, Clemente’s canvases depict fragmented goddesses at the horizon between sky and sea or land, merging with animal forms and the elements. Gorgeous! 

Gladiators 1928
Giorgio de Chirico's Gladiatori (1928).

Another surprise was Nahmad Contemporary’s lesser-known Gladiators series by Italian modern master Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978). The artist’s early Metaphysical paintings of eerily deserted city squares had a profound impact on the Surrealists, but from 1919 onwards, De Chirico turned away from modernism to embrace motifs from antiquity and traditional painting techniques. Groups of Roman gladiators frozen in combat became a major theme of his neo-classical work in the late 1920s. Stunning! 

Art on Paper Leah hewson
Leah Hewson's lifesize 'Kin Connection' at Art on Paper.

Nearby at another renovated pier in lower Manhattan was Art on Paper which never disappoints and whose exhibitors take inspiration from the medium of paper. Visitors were treated to any array of innovative paper-based artwork such as Leah Hewson’s lifestyle laser cut vinyl and honeycomb cardboard shapes in bright, cheerful colors which occupied the center atrium of the entrance.

Queen Elizabeth portrait

Deborah Azzopardi's 'Queen 2022' ©Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

There is a lot of décor-worthy art, and whether you're a collector or a newcomer to the art market, this fair gives one a newfound appreciation for the power of paper. Not to be missed was a print of the late Queen Elizabeth presented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery, a London-based Contemporary art gallery.

Ceramics at Steinway Towers
Vince Palacio ceramics on view in an apartment gallery of Gabriel & Guillaume.

The show stopper was the party for Gabriel & Giullaume in The Steinway Tower, the super tall skyscraper on 57th Street which incorporates a landmark building, formerly the Steinway piano showroom for years, with a staggeringly tall residential skyscraper located on a two-block section now dubbed “Billionaire’s Row”. The gallery owners focus on collectible design pieces from the 20th century, incorporating art and décor in their gallery. The novelty of their gallery in New York City is that they move it from one vacant apartment to the other in The Steinway Tower and re-decorate the space with the pieces they’re selling. Genius! It was like entering a deluxe apartment for sale, “staged” with jaw-dropping furniture and art, plus the solo exhibition of L.A. based artist Vince Palacios’ ceramics. Every now and then, even the most jaded art collector or journalist can be dazzled by the combination of a setting and its contents. Had a real estate agent been on the premises for that apartment, I bet someone would have made an offer!   

Isabelle KelloggIn addition to a career in communications and marketing focused on the luxury lifestyle sector, including co-authoring and lecturing a case study on French heritage jeweler Mauboussin with Harvard Business School, Isabelle continues to share her experiences about fine art, wine, travel, jewelry and culture as a freelance writer for internationally based digital publications.