For a seventh consecutive year, The New Art Dealers Alliance – aka NADA – has been a part of the New York City Art Week conversation. From March 8 to 11, the Alliance has provided a unique platform at studio space Skylight Clarkson for fresh perspectives for the contemporary art world to articulate. Today, we tell you about our experience at the fair and what are the most remarkable, surprising and interesting booths we saw.
Entering the fair, one lands into a universe of multiple contributions to contemporary art. Fashionable, provocative and open-minded gallerists and curators set up individual shoppable booths across an open floor plan for ticket holders to unearth entertainment, protest, point of view and perspective on the world through art. Photography, drawings, paintings and mix media works joined to provoke traditional thought and artistic expression.

Art has the power to illustrate the comical world we live in. Roozbeh Golestani, from GOLESTANI Gallery, presented Arno Beck’s Untitled series of landscape illustrations of nature and celestial mountain tops typewritten on Japanese paper – most feature a busy lone standing tree tall among the flat plains governed by a single digitally illustrated cloud. The fuzzy projection on paper creates the illusion of a Mario Kart video game, and the lone cloud reminiscent of God’s Old Testament presence. In every landscape of life, there is a cloud looming over the scene, and at the same time, a silver lining waiting to be discovered.
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Arno Beck. Untitled, 2018
Berlin-based, Canadian artist Ambera Wellmann, represented by Montreal’s Gallery Antoine Ertaskiran, was another to make comments on the cultural climate. Wellmann’s featured paintings included a porcelain stallion gazing back at the viewer with devilish flirtation, a ceramic five-legged dog snarling his teeth with tenacity and fierce warning, and a blurred image of a nude female disengaged from her audience, suggestively spreading her legs with sexual liberation. With union, all three images intend to evoke feelings that develop critical thought towards cultural representations of women. Vulnerability, seduction and fragility are attributes expressed through her work, utilized to challenge definitions of the feminine heart.
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Ambera Wellmann
Committing a booth to a feminist initiative, SHRINE Gallery, local to the Lower East Side, takes the conversation to a political statement. A variety of coloured and sized frames hung dynamically on the L-shaped wall exhibiting a wide spectrum of photographs and illustrations by Miroslav Tichý, rescued from his archives. The artist exposed women by photographing their bare legs and drawing them provocatively dressed in corsets or even undressed. Just as Tichý saw women as muses to stir politics in his day, SHRINE Gallery argues the point that now, in these current days, women see that within themselves.
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Miroslav Tichý. Untitled, 1960s-1980s
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Miroslav Tichý. Untitled, 1960s-1980s
Equally provocative in appearance was Michael Benevento’s display of Jesse Benson’s Dad Paintings, a photographic calendar from recreations of Fred Lonidier work – developed after discovering a series of pornographic calendars next to a Catholic one. In one image, a topless woman with a beaded necklace comfortably lounges, her hands lifted behind her head, captured laughing in the face of the camera. The sensual scene is juxtaposed with a serene image of the Catholic Pope raising his arms with praise. In a second image, the Pope remains his stature with a cheesy smile next to a dolled up woman intentionally exposing herself with a shrinking smile directed at the camera.

While taking images of Lonidier’s photographic findings and framing them on aluminium frames, Benson creates his own calendar. The juxtaposition between secular and religious imagery leads a spectrum of response. Comical, disturbing and critical – the Church’s presence is clear as day, however, its influence within a liberal culture is questioned, Benson’s series observes.
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Jesse Benson. Dad Painting 10, 2017
Dubai-based Gallery Carbon 12 took the idea of portraiture in another direction by a showcase of oil paintings by Amir Khojateh. There is an abstract nature among the caricature paintings that meets a classicist approach to art achieved in the colour tones of his work. Crimson red blends with forest green and rosy pink to create an image titled Study after Ralf Kopf by Georg Baselitz. In the same manner, shades of grey and tints of black and white gather to portray The man without eyes, and in this series, Khojateh’s work with colour tones creates reality from abstraction.
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Amir Khojateh. Study after Ralf Kopf by Georg Baselitz
French gallery PACT presented portraits in a more direct approach in a showcase of Danny Ferrell’s work. Dreamy colours like lavender, pink, orange and marigold graze upon paintings of half undressed men, mostly accompanied by dogs. In one painting, titled River Moon, a tattooed-chested man sits in a field dressed in nothing more than a fedora and tight denim shorts. He sends his gaze towards his dog, holding him back as the pooch aggressively glares at the viewer. The juxtaposition between the small animal’s disposition and the soft demeanour of the man in the moonlight encompasses Ferrell’s intent to reconsider stiff gender perceptions.
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Danny Ferrell. River Moon
Also known for simultaneously acknowledging and reconstructing cultural identifications and stereotypes are the sculptures by Cajssa Von Zeipel. Showcasing at Company Gallery in New York, she presented two sculpted furniture chairs also acknowledged as a couple wearing large yellow puffers, red trousers and steel toe – clown-like shoes. Guests were invited to sit on the laps of these fashion forward-dressed sculptures, consequently resting on the laps of these sculpted humans. Von Zeipel’s work brings statements of culture into reality by making them larger than life.
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Cajssa Von Zeipel
More furniture pieces were presented at Fisher Parrish Gallery’s booth, from Brooklyn. Zach Martin’s artworks included a pitchfork chair, a lamp stand and a table piece, which conversed with Aaron Elvis Jupin’s drawing I’m Lucky to Have Met You, and Airbrush’s piece I’ve Been A Mess Inside. The explosive animation and surrealism of hung art pieces complemented the artistic yet practical furniture.
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Painting: Aaron Elvis Jupin. It's After Dark, 2017 | Sculpture: Zach Martin. Table and Lamp, 2017
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Painting: Aaron Elvis Jupin. I'm not what you see, 2017 | Sculpture: Zach Martin. Black Chair, 2017
Smaller-scale sculptures were presented by Melbourne’s Daine Singer gallery, as they shared works by resident artist Kate Tucker. Double-sided paintings of acrylic, calico and linen mediums made visible through the complex and imperfect layers of her work. The pieces displayed against handmade bronze stands sculpted so delicate that their moulding exposed her fingerprints. Tucker’s art is a statement of self- identification found within exploration.
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Kirsty Budge. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry or how to begin looking at your family like an anthropologist, 2018
Showcasing diverse art forms and positioning as an alternative to the ‘peacock art fairs’, NADA NewYork promotes the beauty of contemporary art found within a peace among multiple perspectives, objectives and presentations of the world. This year, politics, feminism and sexual orientation were loud statements spoken respectively and handled with care.
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