by Jeffrey Keefe
Now in its fourth year, SELECT Contemporary Art Fair (on now through 17 May 2015) is one of the fastest growing events to emerge amidst NYC’s widely praised Frieze Week. Since its inception, SELECT has provided a platform for galleries to market mostly emerging artists, while also devising new and unusual ways to showcase and initiate work. It’s been a welcome addition to the cultural jolt that Frieze Week has become, and it’s smaller fairs like these that give people the opportunity to experience the spectacle that is the city’s bustling art scene without hauling all the way to Randall’s Island.
SELECT is operating out of CENTER 548—the former (and future) home of the Dia Foundation. As 2015 will be the final year of the renowned building’s existence before plans for a new and sprawling art center unfold, exhibitors at the fair were urged to present works that harkened the history of the Dia Building and its long-standing position as a harbor for projects that might not otherwise be realized. For Chelsea’s C24 Gallery, Robert Montgomery’s large-scale LED light installations seemed a fitting choice. Illuminating the roof and the entrance to the fair, Montgomery’s “Recycled Sunlight Pieces” stands within reach of works by original Dia Foundation artist, Dan Flavin, as bright (and yet dark) reminders that perhaps nothing really matters here on earth, or at the very least that everything matters equally.
As part of the fair’s Special Projects performance series, multidisciplinary artists Sylva Dean and Me present something ethereal. The performance consists of three seemingly distinct pairs of performers—some wearing sculpted milk cartons, some wearing simply milk—moving nimbly through the space to the melody of a harp. Through their work, Sylva Dean and Me explore what it means to be present and connected by presenting snippets of the flow of life unfolding in the moment.
Responded to a growing trend in the art world, SELECT dedicated an entire floor to Brooklyn-based galleries. One such gallery is Gallery 254, which presents paintings by Saudi artist Mashael Fal. Bold and captivating, Fal’s paintings aim to inspire a new perspective of Arabian women and to celebrate a side rarely noted in the West. Most prominent at Fal’s booth is her painting “Frida in Saudi,” a large oil-on-canvas depicting a veiled and mesmerizing Frida Kahlo.
SELECT Contemporary Art Fair is on now through 17 May 2015 at CENTER 548 (548 West 22nd St, NYC).
Images by Jeffrey Keefe