Saltz: 20 Things I Really Liked at the Art Fairs
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Saltz: 20 Things I Really Liked at the Art Fairs

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The Art Show (also known as ADAA); Held March 6 through 10; Park Avenue Armory; 72 exhibitors

Photo: Courtesy of the Estate of Martin Wong and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

1. Martin Wong's It’s Not What You Think, What Is It Then?

PPOW Gallery

This artist, who died young in 1999, is way overlooked. And much better than people realize. The intricate brickwork makes the painting look like a labor of love, a piece of flat sculpture, and a wall from the artist’s memory.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $200,000.

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The Art Show

Photo: Courtesy of Acquavella Galleries

2. Edgar Degas' Henri Rouart et sa Fille Hélène

Acquavella Galleries

Father and child against a window (or another painting) in a space that reads almost as bas-relief that flattens out, then opens up again inside your mind.

Did it sell? A deal is in the works.

Price: $8 million.

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The Art Show

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures

3. Louise Lawler's Marie + 180

Metro Pictures

Since we’re on Degas, a well-known Pictures Artist riffing on him (Lawler’s work typically involves rephotographing other work and warping or resizing the image) triggers pictorial memories of one of the most peculiar pieces of modern sculpture ever made. Here, blown up way larger than life, it still doesn’t lose its strangeness.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $150,000.

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The Art Show

Photo: Courtesy of James Reinish & Associates

4. Charles Burchfield's Untitled

James Reinish & Associates

Look into that mysterious thicket of trees and see space disappear, a square shape take form, the borders of the watercolor fall away a little, and you’re in a visionary state of mind.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: Undisclosed, but “between $50,000 and $300,000.”

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The Art Show

Photo: Courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

5. Jannis Kounellis's All or Nothing at All

Cheim & Read

An A for effort. Plus it’s always nice to think about an artist hogging an entire art-fair booth, to the point of closing it up.

Did it sell? Talks are under way with an American museum.

Price: $500,000.

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The Armory Show; Held March 7 through 10; Piers 92 and 94; 214 exhibitors

Photo: Robert McKeever/© Gagosian Gallery

6. Andy Warhol's Camouflage

Gagosian Gallery

This booth gave me the feeling that the Armory comped the space to Larry; and that he had the Warhol Foundation ship something to the piers, which he then put up for sale. God bless the megadealer.

Did it sell? Who knows? Gagosian is like the Kremlin during lockdown.

Price: “We don’t comment on that.” Same as it ever was.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Courtesy of John Berens and Artsy

7. Tom Duncan's Dedicated to Coney Island

Andrew Edlin Gallery

A homegrown modern version of Calder’s Circus. This animated rendition of a Coney Island of the mind entices, and wowed crowds. Me included.

Did it sell? “We’re following up with a few interested parties, including one museum.”

Price: $300,000.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Claire Iltis/Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia

8. Peter Attie Besharo's Untitled (Target 1-9)

Fleisher/Ollman Gallery

An artist new to me who, from the looks of this fantastic abstract-diagrammatic image, may have been abducted by aliens. The thing I would have bought from all three fairs, if I bought art. Or had money.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: Between $8,000 and $10,000.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery

9. Desirée Holman's Outer Space, from the series “Destined to Disappear”

Jessica Silverman Gallery

I really like the weird handmade aura aspect of this thing that isn’t abstract exactly and not representational but that packs a great sense of irony. Good up-and-coming gallery, too. More, more.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $10,000.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

10. Zanele Muholi's Zimaseka “Zim” Salusalu, Gugulethu, Cape Town, from the series “Faces and Phases”

Yancey Richardson Gallery

Intense portraits of African lesbians who are out and in danger at all times. Pretty powerful.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $4,200.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Leo Koenig Inc., New York

11. Nicole Eisenman's Big Head

Leo Koenig

Instead of being some Greek colossus or noble Roman god, Eisenman’s big plaster head feels surreal, sculptural, and strange in ways that keep us on edge. And happy.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: Undisclosed.

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The Armory Show

Photo: James Prinz/Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

12. Nick Cave's Untitled, from his “Soundsuits” series

Jack Shainman Gallery

Whoa! A flying, knitting-covered, toy-bedecked creature from another imaginary realm. What’s not to like?

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $150,000.

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The Armory Show

Photo: Farzad Owrang/Courtesy of Honor Fraser Gallery

13. Meleko Mokgosi's Modern Art: The Root of African Savages

Honor Fraser

A heady deconstruction of African-art labels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that makes you realize that labels speak volumes.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $70,000.

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The Independent; Held March 7 through 10; 548 West 22nd Street; 49 exhibitors

Photo: Courtesy of Galerie Susanne Zander

14. Margarethe Held's Nr. 253: Eine Griechin, Beim Zeichnen Zuschauer

Galerie Susanne Zander

Maybe the best overall booth I saw this week. All work by mediumistic artists trying to reach “the other side.” This fantastical spirit being looks more than convincing to me.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: €6,100 ($7,906).

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The Independent

Photo: Courtesy of Galerie Susanne Zander

15. Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton's series of five ectoplasm photos

Galerie Susanne Zander

You have to love a photographer trying to take pictures of ectoplasm eruptions on people’s faces. Pre-porn mystical money shots?

Did they sell? Yes.

Price: €6,000 ($7,776) each.

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The Independent

Photo: Bruno_Leao

16. Paulo Nazareth, From the series “Imagens que ja existen no mundo”

Mendes Wood

You walk from Brazil to the United States and make drawings along the way and I’ll follow you anywhere. For a while, at least. Want to see much more of this artist.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: Still in negotiation.

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The Independent

Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London

17. Anna-Bella Papp's For David

Modern Art

One of an array of sixteen little clay landscapes or paintings or metaphysical maps, all laid flat. Each reads as a world, design, or tile. Wonderful Morandi-like internal space. Want.

Did it sell? All sixteen did.

Price: $6,800 each.

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The Independent

Photo: Eric Tschernow/Courtesy of the Artist and Klosterfelde

18. Ulrike Heise's Untitled

Klosterfelde

These objects are found pieces of animal architecture formed when desert worms secrete in the sand. Or something like that. The idea of going somewhere and having your body emit substances that turn into your home strikes me a bit like art.

Did it sell? No.

Price: Undisclosed.

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The Independent

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp

19. Leigh Ledare's An Invitation, Saturday July 23, 2011

Office Baroque Gallery

The backstory of this photo-collage makes the thing turn twisted. Famous German couple has a need for her to be photographed naked. This is the result. Caged birds do sing, albeit with identities hidden.

Did it sell? Yes.

Price: $15,000.

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The Independent

Photo: Courtesy of White Columns Gallery

20. Magdalena Frimkess' Ceramic bowls

White Columns

The pots are made by her husband, Michael Frimkess; the smaller ones, by Magdalena herself. She paints them. They give off love however they’re done, and are a total delight. Another want.

Did they sell? Yes.

Prices: From $350 to $750 apiece.

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