On Thursday night, Pier 36 on New York’s Lower East Side hosted one of the final openings of Armory Week with a nod to vacation. Visitors awaited the start of Art on Paper with rum drinks served in coconuts, and the spirit of the beach carried through by way of lobster rolls and oysters. The occasion for it all was a fair devoted to “paper-based art” as presented by 101 galleries, ten of which migrated over after the cancellation of Volta and its diffusion into both Art on Paper and Plan B.
Immediately eye-catching was a large-scale installation presented as part of the fair’s Projects program: Samuelle Green’s Manifestation 4, which allows viewers to drift through book pages arranged into a bulbous structure evocative of a coral reef.
Another much-photographed offering was an array of “Paintings and Drawings of Troubled People and Untrustworthy Mammals” by the writer Dave Eggers. Cheeky pieces from the series decorate the booth of San Francisco’s Electric Works, with depictions of subjects described as, among other things, “Alabama’s favorite nun,” “dolls who plotted against you,” and a monkey who “still has not forgiven Jill Stein.” The pieces were available for prices between $400 and $800.
A booth co-presented by the New York galleries Brooke Alexander Inc. and Owen James offered works by John Baldessari, Raymond Pettibon, and Ken Price, among others. “I like Art on Paper because it’s a format that can bring in lots of types of work,” said James. “It’s not just blue-chip, and it’s not just experimental. It’s approachable, so it has a collector base that seeks it out.” The Pettibon prints, a crowd favorite, were on sale for between $900 and $3,000.
Richard Levy Gallery from Albuquerque, New Mexico, sold an untitled work by Tim Itel for $15,000, two by Beaux Carey for $1,400 and $1,800, and several paper maquettes by Emmy Ozow for $1,700 each. Opera Gallery from New York sold Andy Denzler’s Study for Girl With White Shoes (2017) for $9,000 and, for much more, Henri Matisse’s Nu de plein Pied assis sure une Colonne (1940) for $170,000.
Cheryl Hazan was working on the sale of two paintings by Kazumi Yoshida for $12,000 each. Her namesake gallery in Tribeca had been slated to participate in both Art on Paper and Volta, where she planned to present a solo exhibition of new works by Deb Lawrence. Instead, those pieces found a spot in the corner of her booth. “It wasn’t easy for me or for [Lawrence],” Hazan said of the disruption. But a series of nine works by Lawrence sold to a collector who had noticed them in the gallery’s newsletter for Volta.
Other galleries affected by Volta’s closure were Accola Griefen Fine Art, C24 Gallery, Susan Eley Fine Art, Gallery Jones, Anna Laudel Contemporary, David Lusk Gallery, Mindy Solomon Gallery, and Sim Smith. Yet another, the Seattle-based studio e, set up shop upstairs near the VIP lounge and tables where guests sipped from their coconuts. The gallery decided to show at Art on Paper before Plan B had been announced, and Michael Doyle, a gallery associate, said the fair “felt like a life-raft. It’s a little weird to be up on the mezzanine, but we’re going with the flow.”