NADA New York 2017

There were changes at NADA New York, with a new location and shift from their usual schedule in May to coincide with Armory week. For their sixth edition this year, held at the light-filled and spacious Skylight Clarkson North in Soho West, the young fair feels more grown up, in a good way.

The changes proved to be a success. Walking through the fair, the new layout—in the shape of a large ‘U’—made it easy for visitors to navigate through the booths and not worry about missing anything along the way. The atmosphere was energetic, with plenty of happy chatter and vibrant curiosity. 

One work in particular, AES+F’s Inverso Mundus at the Transfer x Mobius Gallery booth had us completely captivated and we spent a good half an hour transfixed. The video piece, depicted a foreign, strange utopia, where beautiful women in couture dresses torture and bound men on Ikea-style structures; beggars swap places with the rich business men and women, with the poor giving to the rich; children and seniors face-off in a boxing match; policemen and thieves gently caress each other in a dazed reverie; and chimeras are beloved pets. Inspired by a series of 16th century engravings in the genre of a “World Upside Down”, Inverso Mundus feels extremely timely in our current world which at times can feel upended and unfamiliar. 

AES+F, the Russian art collective made up of Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev, Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridges, formed in 1987 with Fridges joining the group in 1995. Combining their expertise in conceptual architecture, multidisciplinary design and photography, their work—which on first glance may seem like a high fashion editorial, upon deeper inspection—is incredibly rich and layered with meaning and nuance. AES+F are masterful storytellers, weaving exquisite visual tapestries that question the state of the world, and our social and gender injustices.

There were many other works that caught our eye, including New Zealand artist Jess Johnson, who recently relocated to New York and had some of her drawings and video at the Jack Hanley booth. Johnson’s densely layered, graphical drawings of patterns, intertwining bodies and mythical creatures are a visual feast for the eyes.

Galería Agustina Ferreyra from San Juan, Puerto Rico, showcases the work of young artist Cristina Tufiño. Rendered with powdery pastels, Tufiño’s clay and porcelain sculptures exude a dreamy, warm quality that invites you in for a closer look. Thomas Kovachevich’s vibrant flower paintings set against black corrugated plastic are visually stunning at Callicoon Fine Arts. Fuminao Suenaga’s Search Results paintings at Maki Fine Arts are a playful nod to the analogue vs. digital, by painting Google image search results of famous artworks.

This year, NADA also teamed up with Kickstarter to for a series of talks and performances each day of the fair, check the program for more details.

NADA runs until Sunday, March 5 at Skylight Clarkson North, 572 Washington Street.