Review and photos by Greg Smith
NEW YORK CITY – It was kind of a homecoming – perhaps more of a revival after a long and difficult campaign – when the Salon Art + Design fair returned to the Park Avenue Armory from November 11 to 15 for its tenth anniversary . Not all were present, but there was a strong sense of relief among those who entered through the imposing and heavy doors of the armory; an energy that has crept into the air and radiated outward from vendors, show attendees and beautiful things.
This is the second major fair to be held in the armory in two years, following the Art Show hosted by the Art Dealers Association of America the previous week. These November shows took place at the dawn of the post-Covid era, when travel restrictions eased and international resellers were able to start shipping their cases with confidence that they could meet them from the other side of the ocean.
The show’s executive director, Jill Bokor, said if the restrictions had been relaxed three days later, she would have lost 11 more dealers – it was almost a 35-dealer show. But she and Sandy Smith, the president and CEO, were steadfast in their commitment to produce this 2021 edition regardless of the number of booths and that amounted to 48 dealers and nine partners, down from just seven dealers per. compared to 2019 and all European. .
âWe had no idea what to expect,â Bokor told us. “We expected the gate to be half of 2019, but everything was better than anyone expected.” Nine thousand people attended the show, down only ten percent from the last edition.
It was an opportunity for Bokor to get out of the normal framework of the show and invite new galleries. More antiques have entered, tribal art, Japanese crafts, and a few galleries with new artists on their rosters have debuted, but Salon Art + Design’s high style never falters as it leaps with unassuming boldness. shame through contemporary, vintage and historical production periods.
âIt wasn’t just about being successful in terms of sales,â said Paul Donzella of Donzella Gallery, âIt was so great to be back in the armory and have a fair. You could feel that during the whole editing, everyone was very excited, and once the doors opened, it was the same with the audience. The energy was really good and the sales were really strong. I think most of my colleagues have done well.
Among his sales, Donzella counted a rare pair of Gio Ponti’s âTriennaleâ armchairs, circa 1954. many years in the 1950s. You might see a pair come onto the market every three years. These had original labels, which I hardly ever saw, and I sold them to a collector in Italy.
Newcomer to the Culture Object exhibit, whose gallery is on West 38th Street, shaped a stash of contemporary ships as he invited attendees to step behind the veil in a colorful wonderland. Gallery owner Damon Crain said his booth favorites were the plastic-coated neon âAnthropophoraeâ ceramic works by Maxwell Mustardo, an artist from New Jersey. Crane sold all of the artwork from his Mustardo booth and more in his gallery.
American design was in the spotlight with Lobel Modern, which sold the majority of its stand. Owner Evan Lobel said the field of quality American design is shrinking, and while other galleries can fill the void with contemporary art and design, he has found it rewarding to dig in and research the best examples of his stable of twentieth century American icons. , which includes Paul Evans, Tommi Parzinger, Philip and Kelvin Laverne and Karl Springer.
âI looked everywhere to find the best pieces from the designers I specialize in. In a market where these pieces are increasingly rare, it paid off at the show,â said Lobel.
Lobel’s sales included a welded-in sculpture-top coffee table by Paul Evans which he said was one of the best examples of this form of the New Hope artist he had ever seen. A long splashback by French designer RaphaÃ«l, which covered much of the back wall of the stand, has found a new home. The cabinet featured accordion doors in Beka Volcanic Lacquer with a bronze finish.
Japanese ironwork was first presented by Onishi Gallery, which represents a number of notable goldsmiths who have won the prestigious title of National Living Treasures in this country. A small group of vessels by Sako Ryuhei used the 17th-century Mokumegane technique, a process of laminating thin sheets of alloys of various metals that, when worked, produce a topographic texture.
Throckmorton Fine Art had one of the most diverse booths in the exhibition, as it exhibited three great Latin American photographers alongside pre-Columbian artwork, Chinese jade, and antiques. A 4th century obsidian eyed Teotihuacan onyx mask stood in front of a group of Andy Warhol lithographs from his “Shoes” series. Behind were gelatin silver prints of Flor GarduÃ±o and Graciela Iturbide, whom Spencer Throckmorton called the most powerful women in Mexican photography.
The American crafts of Arthur Espenet Carpenter and Wharton Esherick were found with the Converso Gallery in Chicago. The gallery donated Esherick’s âSeiver Residence Sofaâ, one of only three freestanding sofas the artisan has ever produced. Philadelphia patrons Lawrence and Alice Seiver became quick clients for Esherick in the mid-1950s. Alice Seiver once wrote: âI would tell Wharton what I needed. But I never told him what it should look like, and I never asked when I would. Esherick’s limitless designs for the Seivers have resulted in some of the purest commissions he has ever created.
In the same vein, works by other American furniture artists were presented on the stand of the Modern Gallery in Philadelphia. Owner Bob Aibel said he had strong sales among his George Nakashima designs. A sculpted maple “Drop” side table by Miriam Carpenter stood alongside a handsome “Ellipse II” desk by Jere Osgood, both representing different styles of the contemporary school. After graduating from RISD in 2006, Carpenter cut his teeth designing furniture for Mira Nakashima for seven years. She is currently the subject of “Miriam Carpenter: Shaping the Ethereal” at the James A Michener Art Museum until March 2022, her first solo museum exhibition, where a “Drop” table is on display.
âThere was a little smaller audience,â Aibel said, âBut I felt like the people who made the effort to come were mostly very serious. We had a lot of serious conversations about things and we’re really happy.
Aibel considers Carpenter a rising star. âI really believe she has the potential to be one of the biggest,â he said. âShe is incredibly talented, her ability to design is only exceeded by her ability to make very complex parts. She’s on her way.
A range of Jean ProuvÃ©’s famous âStandardâ chairs followed the modifications made by the French designer to this work over time at the Dobrinka Salzman gallery. ProuvÃ© created the first âStandardâ chair in 1934 and modified it in both construction and materials over the next 20 years. In the 1950s, ProuvÃ© began experimenting with aluminum, creating the sculptural feet that would prove to be definitive. At other times, when metal was scarce during WWII, wood was used. Other considerations changed the design, including its wish for the chair to be shipped flat.
Among the bouquet of lamps from Tiffany Studios with Macklowe Gallery was a Peony table lamp. Tiffany produced the design in a time of horticultural frenzy when upper-class Americans, including her associate and friend, Harvard professor Joseph Rockman, traveled to remote areas of China and Japan to bring back peony cultivars. who had never left these places before. On this shade was the Japanese peony Candy Stripe, which legend says Tiffany used the Aqua Regia process to produce while dissolving a piece of gold to create a shimmering ruby ââcolor.
âPeople thought the look of the fair had changed and in a very good way,â Bokor said. âIt was the first time that a lot of people had been to New York in a long time. All of the dealers said they missed the New York market, so they were excited to be back.
Bokor will spend the next year figuring out how she might adjust to her new dealers alongside her longtime European galleries who haven’t been able to commit this year but aspire to be back in 2022.
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