The Spring Break art show is a barometer of New York’s grassroots art scene and the creativity bubbling below the surface of the overall commercial art world. This year’s theme, HEARSAY:HERESY, pokes at the recent concern over truth, fact, and conspiracies. The topic pushed a whole series of participants to explore various medieval-inspired themes, which was hinted at in the fair’s original call for submissions. The mood overall seems to capture the fragmented nature of reality nowadays and the dark ominous undertones that it all suggests.
Some use design and architecture to frame their presentations — one booth curated by David Behringer, and featuring art by Chambliss Globbi, has a real 15th-century table at the center, while Cade Tompkins Projects, featuring artists Bob Dilworth and Nafis M. While, even recreates an arcade of pointed arches that evokes stripped Tuscan churches. Others fully embrace embroidery, tapestries, and other woven works, including Steve Locke’s Jacquard works at Rivalry, Anne Spalter’s AI-generated plague tapestries, Michael Sylvan Robinson’s “To Ward Off Late Stage Capitalism” sculptural garment, and Macauley Norman’s spider-like works at The Castle of the Spider’s Web — and these are only a sampling of the dozens of works in this vein. A few even use decorative bread, combining the romance of medieval bread making with a more recent pandemic one (Bianca Abdi-Boragi’s excellent chair and table made of bread is a showstopper at the Spelling Afterlife presentation by curator Taylor Hansen Hughes, and Adriana Gallo’s bread sculptures at Blessed Bodies, curated by Abby Cheney and Hanna Washburn, are a delight).
The 2021 Spring Break art show continue at 625 Madison Avenue (Midtown, Manhattan) until September 13, 2021.