Home Arts Tefaf mixes eras and materials for its eighth New York edition

Tefaf mixes eras and materials for its eighth New York edition

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After his Maastricht edition drew more than 50,000 visitors and members of approximately 250 museums in March, Tefaf New York (May 11-16) returns to the Park Avenue Armory to kick off the busiest time of the year for the city’s arts scene. Smaller than its Dutch sister, which this year had around 270 exhibitors showcasing an encyclopedic array of objects, the 91-stand fair leans heavily towards modern and contemporary materials in art and design.

After initially launching in the US with two annual iterations in New York, the fair eliminated its fall edition after the pandemic to focus on spring, when it coincides with modern and contemporary art auctions at Christie’s. , Phillips and Sotheby’s, and fairs such as Independent, Nada New York and Frieze York.

At Minjung Kim’s Emptiness in fullness (2003) Photo courtesy of the artist and Hyundai Gallery

“Showing 7,000 years of art, as we do in Maastricht, was difficult to achieve with around 90 exhibitors”, explains Hidde van Seggelen, chairman of the fair’s executive committee. He adds that the location’s positioning on the Upper East Side has been a major selling point for participating galleries. “Most of our dealers view the New York edition as being central to a large customer base, while Maastricht is a destination fair,” he says.

A particular strength of the New York edition of the fair is an intergenerational or pan-historical curatorial approach. Dealers juxtapose modern and contemporary pieces with items from centuries past, drawing timeworn themes and guidelines. Belgian gallery Axel Vervoordt, for example, will pair a late 12th-century Cambodian deity head in the Bayon style with an abstract, monolithic work by Anish Kapoor from 2002. Both objects – the stoneware head inspired by the Khmer ruler Jayavarman VII and Kapoor’s limestone and pigment work aim to evoke transcendence through the permanence of stone.

“Kapoor succeeds in giving the void a physical, tangible appearance, above the division between everything and nothing, male and female, inside and outside”, explains Bert Melkebeek, art historian and archaeologist of the gallery. same transcendent quality that is also immediately apparent – despite being made centuries ago – on the head of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia with the superb quality, a benign smile and downcast eyes in utter tranquility.

Intercultural resonances will also be at the center of the Tefaf stand in Gladstone, through an exhibition by Robert Rauschenberg Thai series of drawings from 1983, which retrace the artist’s travels through Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Japan. The works incorporate printed material from Thailand and Rauschenberg’s own photographs from Sri Lanka on gilt Japanese autograph boards. Gladstone, which recently announced its representation of the Rauschenberg estate, will simultaneously host an exhibition of its Spreads and scales series in its flagship space on West 21st Street.

Untitled (1965) by Shirley Jaffe Courtesy of the Shirley Jaffe Estate and Galerie Nathalie Obadia

Another Chelsea heavyweight, Pace, is aiming to make a splash at the fair with a solo stand dedicated to Louise Nevelson. Along with quintessential examples of his monochrome blackwashed wood sculptures, the gallery will present 11 mixed-media collages created between the 1950s and 1980s that illuminate a less familiar facet of Nevelson’s practice.

The predominance of stands dedicated to women artists (and organized by merchants) is another of Tefaf’s strengths, according to Van Seggelen. First exhibitor Nathalie Obadia will present abstract paintings by Shirley Jaffe; the Parisian and Brussels gallery’s timely display of the American artist’s electric gestures in color coincides with the Kunstmuseum Basel’s current solo exhibition of the late abstractionist. Seoul’s Hyundai Gallery, meanwhile, will highlight a very different approach to abstract painting: Minjung Kim’s textured compositions on mulberry hanji paper that bears the ghostly marks of a burning candle.

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