On Thursday, with one of the busiest weeks in New York’s art world nearing its close, the New Art Dealers Alliance opened its ninth edition of NADA New York at a new location, the 40,000-square-foot former Dia building, at 548 West 22nd Street.
Conveniently located in the heart of the Chelsea—next door to Hauser & Wirth’s magnificent Mark Bradford solo exhibition—NADA was bustling throughout the day. Though, at 88 exhibitors, it was slightly smaller than last year’s fair, which brought 120 galleries to Basketball City at Pier 36, the roster included numerous closely watched enterprises, including Charles Moffet and Shulamit Nazarian, as well as the fair’s ever-popular NADA Projects section. Among the more well-known galleries, were stunning presentations from galleries as far flung as Shanghai, Vancouver, and Paris.
Below, see the standouts at the 2023 edition of NADA New York, which runs until May 21 at the 548 West in Chelsea.
Ánima Correa at Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Not far from the entrance to NADA is a series of paintings by interdisciplinary artist Ánima Correa, whose work mines the discomfiture and looming paranoia embedded in our tech-addled world. The compositions on view, courtesy Los Angeles–based Hunter Shaw Fine Art, primarily hail from an ongoing series juxtaposing obsidian figures used in the divinatory practice of scrying with phone screens depicting iconic music videos (the above is derived from iconic 1998 pop song “Blue” by Eiffel 65), along with other symbols alluding to current culture. The effect is seductive, surreal, and unsettling in equal measure.
Kambel Smith at SHRINE
Tribeca-based SHRINE gallery’s brings together a series of sculptures by Kambel Smith, a 32-year-old self-taught artist with autism, who produces intricate sculptures of major landmarks and favorite places in his hometown of Philadelphia. As gallery owner Scott Ogden explained, Smith’s sculptures are produced freehand without measurements over many months and are made almost entirely out of cardboard. The title of this presentation, Autisarian City, is a reference to Smith and his family’s reframing of people with autism as having “super-human abilities,” or Autisarians. Together, they run a nonprofit that works to shift negative perceptions of autism.
Pat McCarthy at Entrance
Step into Entrance gallery’s booth and you’ll be transported to the world of artist, zine-maker, and pigeon flyer Pat McCarthy. The works here, spanning from printed zines to miniature bird-houses and hatched egg sculptures, all in some way express McCarthy’s passion for raising pigeons on New York’s rooftops.
The most striking are McCarthy’s “zine quilts,” large-scale works made up of miniature versions of his zine, Born to Kill, sewed together with dental floss. There is a delightfully tactile and handmade quality to each of the works; McCarthy makes everything himself down to the frames and plinths.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I like to show things that I’ve never seen before,” gallery owner Louis Shannon told ARTnews, adding that McCarthy’s work will figure in a group show at the Brooklyn Museum this fall.
Yvette Mayorga at David B. Smith Gallery
It’s impossible to miss Denver-based gallery David B. Smith’s presentation of multidisciplinary artist Yvette Mayorga. The booth is hot pink and the works explode out from the wall juxtaposing layers of piped acrylic paint that evoke cake icing with Rococo gold framing and details.
As visually alluring and seductive as they are on first glance, the works hold layered critiques of immigration, first-generation experiences, income inequality, and surveillance in an age of unparalleled decadence and wealth. The longer you look, the more unnerving details like the slide in Voyage to the Pink Castle, the booth’s stunning centerpiece, become.
“A lot of people get drawn to the color or the materials, but then you spend more time with it, or you read the title, and you start to understand what it’s actually about,” Mayorga, a Chicago-based artist, told ARTnews.
Mayorga’s first solo museum exhibition is currently on view at the Momentary, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art through October, and she will open another exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in September.
Alejandro Garcia Contreras, Christine Rebhuhn, and Aris Azarmsa at Swivel
At the always-engaging Swivel Gallery, one will find a trio of artists united, according to the gallery, by a “punk” ethos and an attraction to dissonance.
Aris Azarmsa’s large-scale paintings appear like pixelated images blown up beyond recognition, but as you move closer each reveals itself as obsessively re-created montages of films that reflect his mental state, from Taxi Driver to Wizard of Oz. Meanwhile Christine Rebhuhn’s sculptures blend austere metals with delicate and fragile organic figures to create darkly dystopian pieces with hints of hope.
But the most grabbing, to my mind, was Alejandro Garcia Contreras’s Mirror Universe Portal, a burned-and-blackened mirror surrounded by a ceramic frame that evokes fire and melting candle wax. It’s a startling and evocative maximalist work; just don’t get lost staring into its depths.
Sarah Davidson and Daniel Giordano at Wil Aballe Art Projects
At Vancouver’s WAAP, Canadian artist Sarah Davidson draws on their experience as a nature guide to produce a series of dramatic works that pull from the history of nature drawing while queering it at the same time. The works blend pastels, oil paint, ink, and watercolor to create layered compositions of biomorphic figures and fragments of nature. Amid the natural forms, the works are littered with eyeballs, a way of looking back at the viewer, and a reference (and response) to science’s history of “objective” categorization of nature, Davidson told ARTnews. Davidson’s works thrillingly return chaos back to nature.
Al Svoboda at april april
It would be easy to pass by april april’s presentation of New York–based painter Al Svoboda. At first glance, there isn’t much on the walls beside a small shelf. But within the shelf are 17 wrapped abstract paintings the size of snapshots. Start talking to someone at the gallery and they will offer to take out a choice one for you to view up close. The shelving is about creating “a privacy for a medium that is otherwise hypervisible,” explained april april’s Lucas Regazzi.
Meanwhile, the paintings retain the improvisational quality of a snapshot. According to Regazzi, Svoboda lets the paint guide him as it arrives on the canvas, revealing an image as much as making it. The idea is to create an “aspiration” toward meaning, while acknowledging the failure of image-making and language to actually do so. The sum effect is an intimacy with the work antithetical to the chaotic fair experience.