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Holding true to its name, SPRING/BREAK Art Show gives fair-goers a vacation from the typical gallery-driven experience during Armory Arts Week. The brainchild of Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori, this show is completely curator-driven. Occupying three stories of Nolita’s Old School, nearly 40 emerging and mid-career virtuosos are provided a sprawling environment as their figurative playground.
With unpredictable and imaginative exhibits around every corridor, the overall atmosphere is organized chaos — perhaps a reflection of SPRING/BREAK’s 2014 theme: PUBLICPRIVATE. This concept challenges the hundreds of participating artists to examine the inescapability of self in the 21st-century through practices like social-media over-sharing, surveillance monitoring, real-time updates, selfie compulsion, digital gluttony, and how engaging with or avoiding public exposure impacts the creative process. Visitors survey this idea alongside participating curators as the line between observation and interaction begins to blur.
One might find this sort of oversaturation dizzying, but unlike rows of monotonous art fair cubicles, the experience is amplified because of its unusual nature. Wandering through the halls I encountered an entire room camouflaged with projections of animal blood and a saucy red-head (Sean Fader) fitted to fulfill all of my adolescent fantasies as he invited me to whisper my wishes in his ear while rubbing my hands through his chest hair.
Some noteworthy mini-exhibitions include:
“The Monstrous Self” curated by Benjamin Sutton, featuring the work of Andrew Chan, Caroline Wells Chandler, Valery Estabrook, Rebecca Morgan, and Sigrid Sarda
Sutton captures the theme PUBLICPRIVATE as he profoundly considers the honesty and forthrightness of self-portrayal and documentation via social media, and how our culture-wide penchant for voyeurism has enhanced our desire for “real” imagery among the vast cesspool of available staged, scripted, photoshopped, and blatantly fake content online. Word to the wise: go on an empty stomach.
“Out There” curated by Chris Bors, featuring the work of Chris Bors, Carl Gunhouse, Scott Hug, Trong Gia Nguyen, Jacob Rhodes, and Hrvoje Slovenc
Bors takes a particularly intimate approach to his prominently placed second floor entry presentation, as he couples pieces relating to personal obsessions, sexuality, faux violence, religion, and political apathy.
“Luminous Objects” curated by Tali Wertheimer, featuring a durational meditation performance by Lia Chavez
Throughout the entirety of SPRING/BREAK, from 12 – 8pm each day, Chavez will engage in prolonged theta-state meditation. She is going without food intake or bathroom breaks all for the sake of art. In this ongoing state of relaxed alertness, she will experience vibrant mental imagery, visions of light penetrating the seemingly infinite black plane often identified with deep rumination. Throughout the performance she will share her visions in real time through social media.
“Conscious/Consciousness: All Rising Boats Lift Tides” curated by Rachel Garrard and Patrick Meagher, featuring the work of Rachel Garrard, Patrick Meagher, Liz Nielsen, Devin Powers, Panos Tsagaris, and Ali Van
The artist is present, and thank goodness for that. Curators and exhibiting artists Garrard and Meagher are keenly aware of their surroundings — with her work on one end of the room and his on the other, they establish a gradient of content, analyzing motifs like seeing the body as a physical vehicle for transcendence, higher consciousness, and everything in between.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show runs March 6 – 9, 12 – 8pm, 233 Mott Street.