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September 9-11, 2022   Javits Center

2021 Show Guide

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future as spectrum

curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi

Emerging from a year of environmental catastrophes caused by climate change, a racial reckoning and insurrection at the US Capitol—highlighting deeply entrenched systemic racism in the US—and a global pandemic that continues to spread and take lives, questions about the future seem unavoidable. Using the challenging and monumental experiences of 2020 as a catalyst, the works of art assembled for future as spectrum help us imagine futures from a multitude of perspectives. Through interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration, some works propose environmental stewardship innovations. Other works highlight the varying degrees of communication, care, and mutualism that can be nurtured when organisms or communities come together. Some artists envision possible futures of race in America through earthly and cosmic imagery, while others propose futures where archaeologists are propelled forward by looking back on the collapse of human civilization.

Artists often inspire us to imagine realities beyond our current conditions, challenging us to envision alternative futures. The 2021 Focus section presents the work of artists looking into the future—be it tomorrow, next year, or 100 years from now—and help us envision a spectrum of possibilities.

The Totality of Electromagnetic Phenomena [Maxwell’s Equations]
Andrea Galvani The Totality of Electromagnetic Phenomena [Maxwell’s Equations] 2019 CURRO

Andrea Galvani (b.1973, Verona, Italy)
CURRO, Guadalajara
Booth #F14

Andrea Galvani’s neon sculptures use mathematical equations and scientific graphics as keys to unlocking the future. His work points towards the future of innovation, environmental stewardship, and cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration.

the splits
Jennifer Rose Sciarrino the splits 2020 Daniel Faria Gallery

Jennifer Rose Sciarrino (b.1983, Toronto, Canada)
Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto
Booth #F12

Jennifer Rose Sciarrino draws from science fiction and feminist writers of critical theory, such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Donna Haraway, to imagine a future where organisms come together in varying degrees of communication, care, and mutualism. In this series of alabaster sculptures, she interprets scientific imaging and illustrations of biotic matter—such as seeds, cells, bacteria, and yeast—intertwining them in unexpected relationships.

Azadeh Elmizadeh (b.1987, Tehran, Iran)
Laurie Kang (b.1985, Toronto, Canada)
Franz Kaka, Toronto
Booth #F26

Franz Kaka presents the works of Azadeh Elmizadeh and Laurie Kang, artists who imagine a future where cultural boundaries open to offer opportunities for invention. Elmizadeh’s work examines how contingency, uncertainty, and translation can be strategies used to undermine prescribed cultural boundaries. Kang’s sculptural assemblages examine architecture and construction sites as analogues to living bodies. Composed of vinyl construction bags sourced from Seoul and cast materials that reference cooking, fermentation, and digestion—Kang’s sculptures emphasize the cyclical process of building, breaking down, and rebuilding.

Six Hundred, Twenty Nautical Miles
Didier William Six Hundred, Twenty Nautical Miles 2021 James Fuentes

Didier William (b.1983, Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
James Fuentes, New York
Booth #F3

Didier William’s mythological and surreal landscapes take a historical look at the Haitian Revolution and examine the contemporary implications of the battle of Vertieres—which took place nearly two centuries ago and resulted in Haiti’s independence from France. For the artist, diasporic identity is deeply concerned with—and in many ways dependent upon—generational memory that gives form and material to tradition, trauma, aesthetics, values, and language. William’s fusion of mysticism and identity politics present a new roadmap for understanding selfdom.

Sheree Hovsepian (b.1974, Isfahan, Iran)
Miranda Fengyuan Zhang (b.1993, Shanghai, China)
Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton
Booth #F23

Halsey McKay Gallery will present new knit and woven textile works by Miranda Fengyuan Zhang and photo-based assemblage works by Sheree Hovsepian. Hovsepian’s work emphasizes the performative and bodily implications of line and shape. Zhang uses leftover industrial threads from remote Chinese factories to juxtapose contemporary experience with a tradition that harkens back to the origins of object-making. Both artists yield sublime results from the simple materials of light, stone, wood, and string.

William Villalongo (b.1975, Hollywood, Florida)
Susan Inglett Gallery, New York
Booth #F8

William Villalongo deploys his signature cut-paper technique to explore the history and possible futures of race in America. By collapsing time and space through earthly and cosmic imagery, the artist calls attention to the fluctuating role of the Black figure through the centuries while projecting possibilities for the future. Emphasizing the diaspora, deep time, freedom, beauty, and transformation, he draws parallels to natural metamorphosis to suggest an evolution of Black identity.

The Mothership Connection (Diptych)
William Villalongo The Mothership Connection (Diptych) 2021 Susan Inglett Gallery
Ways of Gods
Carla Jay Harris Ways of Gods 2020 Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Carla Jay Harris (b.1987, Indianapolis, Indiana)
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Booth #F24

Carla Jay Harris’s Celestial Bodies (2018–ongoing) is a series of photo-based prints that reimagine ancient omnipresent gods as heroic and peaceful Black protagonists inhabiting the spaces where heaven meets earth. Through mythmaking, Harris has been able to tap into a sense of belonging that extends from a connection to universal cultural concerns and narratives. Her figures are contemplative and meditative, and though they exist outside of reality, we as viewers and humans look to them for inspiration.

Sara Anstis Dog 2021 Galerie Fabian Lang

Sara Anstis (b.1991, Stockholm, Sweden)
Galerie Fabian Lang, Zurich
Booth #F6

Sara Anstis’ paintings explore “humor, personal mythologies, misunderstandings, and (mis)anthropomorphisms.” She also references Greek mythology, in particular the gods Eros, of love and sex, and Thanatos, of death. Her feminine figures, set alongside a plethora of otherworldly scenes, lay claim to desire. Though independent works, the paintings in the 2021 Focus section form a fantastical narrative, creating new mythologies through which the artist envisions the future.

Grace Lynne Haynes (b. Los Angeles, California)
Ludovic Nkoth (b.1994, Yaounde, Cameroon)
Luce Gallery, Turin
Booth #F20

Grace Lynne Haynes examines the African American female experience and its relationship to aesthetics, the African diaspora, and feminism. Haynes utilizes a very specific pastel color palette to present softness and femininity in an attempt to redefine feminism. Similarly, Ludovic Nkoth’s works are an intimate exploration into the artist’s personal identity, his relationship to family history, and the cultures that shaped his upbringing. His paintings imbue a sense of immediacy and boldness of color that suggests both passion and a sense of discovery.

Simón Vega (b.1972, San Salvador, El Salvador)
Theo Michael (b.1978, Panorama, Greece)
MAIA Contemporary, Mexico City
Booth #F17

Simón Vega and Theo Michael both employ playful approaches to a speculative future. Michael’s works point to a possible future where archeologists look back on the collapse of human civilization. His mosaics echo excavated antiquities but from the future, depicting scenes referring to a new societal order. Vega explores a metaphorical comparison between space exploration and the effects of modern colonialism, commenting on the Cold War’s effects in contemporary Central America. He creates a multidisciplinary visual imagery where spaceships are made of found and repurposed materials, popular domestic objects, and live plants, recalling street vendor carts commonly found in Latin America.

Kajahl (b.1985, Santa Cruz, California)
Maia Cruz Palileo (b.1979, Chicago, Illinois)
Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago
Booth #F2

Kajahl and Maia Cruz Palileo’s paintings blur the boundary between the fantastical and historical––the figures represented in the paintings are disconnected from their historical context and reimagined through hybrid narratives. Palileo’s gestural, dream-like landscapes investigate ideas of identity, history, migration, and belonging while bridging research on Spanish colonialism with the Filipino-American War. Displaying a mixture of factual documentation and pure fantasy, Kajahl re-imagines the 17th–19th century European sculpture works known as Blackamoor. The new works presented in the 2021 Focus section will explore how the artists combine fact and fiction into a keen alchemy through which unrealized futures materialize.

And Yet My Mask Is Powerful Part 1
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme And Yet My Mask Is Powerful Part 1 2016-2018 Proyectos Ultravioleta

Basel Abbas (b.1983, Nicosia, Cyprus)
Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b.1983, Boston, Massachusetts)
Proyectos Ultravioleta*, Guatemala City

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of media, probing at a contemporary landscape marked by a seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless “present,” one that is shaped by the politics of desire and disaster. The artists will present a single channel video work, At those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other (2019), alongside new works on paper and a series of video collages. The videos remix lines from Edward Said’s book After the Last Sky to create a new script that reflects on what it means to be constructed as an “illegal” person, body, or entity.

José Castiella (b.1987, Pamplona, Spain)
Keita Miyazaki (b. 1983, Tokyo, Japan)
rosenfeld*, London

Japanese sculptor Keita Miyazaki and Spanish painter José Castiella offer startlingly different scenarios of a post-apocalyptic world. Both artists reflect on the excesses of contemporary society to create futuristic scenes where new forms of humanity emerge. Inspired by the tsunami of 2011, Miyazaki combines car parts, origami paper, and other elements to create sculptures that invigorate previously functional materials with a new life. Castiella’s paintings imagine new organisms after the fall of our industrial society. The works are infused at once with a critique of our contemporary moment and a speculative sense of optimism about what will emerge next.

Cisco & Baaeétitchish (Wendy Red Star), Walter Bone Shirt, Akbaléaashíiupashku (Lakota), 1880s, University of Montana, Missoula, Apsáalooke (Crow), 1890, Toledo Museum of Art, “In The Spirit Of Green Skin”
Wendy Red Star Cisco & Baaeétitchish (Wendy Red Star), Walter Bone Shirt, Akbaléaashíiupashku (Lakota), 1880s, University of Montana, Missoula, Apsáalooke (Crow), 1890, Toledo Museum of Art, “In The Spirit Of Green Skin” 2021 Sargent's Daughters

Wendy Red Star (b.1981, Billings, Montana)
Sargent's Daughters, New York
Booth #F21

For the 2021 Focus section, Wendy Red Star will present A Float for the Future (2021), which reimagines the traditional Crow Fair Parade for an altered world. Central to the presentation is a paper-mache Crow Fair Parade Car adorned with a larger-than-life honor bonnet conceived by Clive Francis Dust, Sr., known in Wendy's family and the Apsáalooke community for his creativity as a cultural keeper. Surrounding the car will be a new body of work created from images of parade cars from past Crow Fairs fashioned in ornate fabrics. Referencing the colorful saturation of her community, Red Star offers us a celebration of past and present as an answer to the question: how do we move forward?

Sharmistha Ray (b.1978, Kolkata, India)
Dannielle Tegeder (b.1971, Peekskill, New York)
Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago
Booth #F7

Founded by Dannielle Tegeder and Sharmistha Ray, Carrie Secrist Gallery will present the first public gathering of “Hilma’s Ghost,” a feminist artist collective that seeks to address existing art historical gaps in abstraction through sustained methods of praxis, research, and pedagogy. The immersive environment created for “Hilma’s Ghost” incorporates the artists' ongoing investigation into the concept of systems and what the medium of painting means in the expanded field. Centeral to the booth will be a gathering place where a series of salons with additional special guest experts will be exploring topics through real time ritual practice such as “Automatism and Art” and “Spirituality and Abstraction.”

To find solid ground
Simphiwe Buthelezi To find solid ground 2020 SMAC

Simphiwe Buthelezi (b.1996, Benoni, South Africa)
SMAC*, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg

The materials in Simphiwe Buthelezi’s work make reference to her involvement in traditional Zulu craft and cultural practice, including the Incasi (a woven straw mat), beadwork, mud, and ash. By posing the question, “What does freedom look like?”, Buthelezi uses her practice to unpack freedom as a nascent possibility, an ever-unraveling process. The Incasi is at the center of this exploration. For Buthelezi, the straw mat is both domestic and spiritual; commodified and traditional; artifact and archetype. Buthelezi’s intervention of the Incasi offers introspection and empathy into woman’s labor practices, in the context of our patriarchal society where women’s bodies often do not possess their own autonomy through bearing the brunt of gender based violence.

Marie Watt Antipode 2020 Marc Straus

Marie Watt (b.1967, Seattle, Washington)
Marc Straus, New York
Booth #F5

Marie Watt weaves together mythologies and histories of Native American traditions with commentary on international politics and popular culture. Secondhand blankets and textiles are embedded with their own histories and stories––and it is because of this quality they become fundamental materials for Watt’s work. Some of her works incorporate Indigenous knowledge and Iroquois proto-feminism through the use of language and text. Influenced by matriarchal structures of certain Native American tribes, the rise of social activism throughout the 20th century, and the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Watt’s practice speaks to a rich history that inspires collective reckoning.

Jeffrey Gibson (b.1972, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Alison Saar (b.1956, Los Angeles, California)
Tandem Press, Madison
Booth #F10

Jeffrey Gibson and Alison Saar examine racial and cultural identities in order to re-envision the present and dictate a new future. Gibson’s practice re-orients the place and status of Native art within contemporary culture, offering a unique representation of broader Indigenous and queer identities. Saar’s work is unapologetic as she emancipates and activates her characters; in her world, they do not succumb to outside forces but rather are in charge of their own story. Together, Saar’s figures embody Gibson’s declaration in POWER! POWER! POWER! (2020) offering alternative possibilities for what may lie ahead.

Crew 181
Janet Biggs Crew 181 2017/21 Cristin Tierney Gallery

Janet Biggs (b.1959, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York
Booth #F11

Cristin Tierney Gallery presents a selection of video and photography by Janet Biggs, including a single-channel video made while she was a resident at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. The video combines footage from the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge, whose rovers compete to carry out various tasks, with a performance of drummer Jason Barnes at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology. The video is set to a soundtrack by Barnes, who lost an arm in an accident and wears a prosthetic with two drumsticks: one he controls, and one programmed with AI. The project explores the complicated link between man and machine and suggests both the possibilities and the limitations of robotics while shining a spotlight on the creativity of human researchers.

Empathy Now: Conserve the Remains of Sublime Ecosystems
George Bolster Empathy Now: Conserve the Remains of Sublime Ecosystems 2020 Ulterior Gallery

George Bolster (b.1972, Cork, Ireland)
Ulterior Gallery, New York
Booth #F13

George Bolster’s group of jacquard tapestry works suggests a guide for the future evolution of human beings. These works are based on digital images shot at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in California. Using a weaving machine and binary code, Bolster reconfigures the digital image into a physical object. In researching the possible existence of extraterrestrial life forms, he began to envision a future for art and culture beyond borders—perhaps beyond the earth itself. Bolster’s process also functions to remind us of the distance between fiction and reality.

Marcelo Cidade (b.1979, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Cinthia Marcelle (b.1974, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Vermelho, Sao Paulo
Booth #F1

Marcelo Cidade’s and Cinthia Marcelle’s work relates to the history of minimalism while addressing important contemporary issues. Cidade openly criticizes the Brazilian government in works like Pequenos delitos (Small offenses) (2007), a work comprising 25 drawings depicting numerous handshakes. Cidade reverts the gesture of trust, suggesting instead a transgression of moral principles. Marcelle presents a series of photographs, entitled Capa Morada (tecidos + pessoas) (2003), produced during a residency in South Africa. In this work she attempts to make herself invisible by covering her body in fabrics of the same color as the background of the cityscapes she photographs. Her camouflage symbolically refers to the artist’s own feeling of displacement whilst living abroad.

Helen Evans Ramsaran (b.1943, Bryan, Texas)
Adrienne Elise Tarver (b.1985, Rahway, New Jersey)
Welancora Gallery, Brooklyn
Booth #F22

Helen Evans Ramsaran and Adrienne Elise Tarver use human ritual and the built environment as frameworks for their work, often embedding it with a sense of the mystical or ethereal. Ramsaran’s use of bronze, a material inherently infused with strength, speaks to cross-cultural creativity, and celebrates the passage of life. Tarver's work addresses the complexity and invisibility of black female identity in the Western landscape, from the history within domestic spaces to the fantasy of the tropical seductress. Their work investigates the future; an exploration of the endurance, permanence, and resonance of symbols, imagery, ideas, and omens through generations.

The First Stone
Kambui Olujimi The First Stone 2019 Anna Zorina Gallery

Kambui Olujimi (b.1976, Brooklyn, New York)
Anna Zorina Gallery, New York
Booth #F4

Anna Zorina Gallery presents Kambui Olujimi's When Monuments Fall(2021), a series of paintings that examine the precarious position of Modernist monumentality and its temporality. The work intersects with national conversations around the recontextualization, amendment, and removal of monuments. By draping the statues, Olujimi creates the moment of anticipation before a statue is uncovered—a moment full of promise, potentially commemorating the achievements and values cherished by a community. The tarped statue is an abstracted mistake, awaiting its erasure and estrangement. The cycle of projection, aspiration, and redaction sets the context for this work.

* Denotes Armory Online Exclusive Exhibitor

Photo credit Orlando V Thompson II

Wassan Al-Khudhairi

Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM), where she recently organized the exhibition Stories of Resistance. At CAM, she has curated exhibitions with artists Shara Hughes, Ebony G. Patterson, Derek Fordjour, Stephanie Syjuco, Bethany Collins, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Guan Xiao, Hayv Kahraman, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and SUPERFLEX. Prior to her position at CAM, Al-Khudhairi was the Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she organized the first large-scale exhibition of the Museum’s contemporary collection, Third Space / shifting conversations about contemporary art. Al-Khudhairi was the curator for the 6th Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan and co-artistic director for the 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea. Serving as the founding director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, Al-Khudhairi oversaw the opening of the Museum in 2010 and co-curated the first presentation of the Museum’s collection, Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art and curated Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab.

Al-Khudhairi is the recipient of the 2021 VIA Curatorial Fellowship Grant and a 2021 Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellow. She holds a BA in Art History from Georgia State University and an MA with Distinction from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.