HomeLifestyle‘The Art Show’ Showcases Meticulous Curation And Raises Over $1 Million For...

‘The Art Show’ Showcases Meticulous Curation And Raises Over $1 Million For Henry Street Settlement

Her lips pursed and her eyelids slightly drawn, a woman gazes directly at the viewer. The city skyline in the background is undermined by her powerful presence, commanding the composition which hints at a painterly photograph.

New York Beauty (1992) by Geoffrey Holder immediately drew me into the James Fuentes booth at last night’s glitzy Benefit Preview of the 33rd edition of The Art Show organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and benefiting Henry Street Settlement, one of New York’s leading social service, arts, and health care organizations. On view through November 6 at the Park Avenue Armory, the show features curated exhibitions of historical and contemporary works.

Fuentes’ presentation Geoffrey Holder: The Pleasures of the Flesh, curated by Hilton Als and in collaboration with the Holder family, underscores the critical importance of curation at art fairs. The exhibition, on view at the Lower East Side gallery through December 18, re-informs art history about a consummate, unrivaled polymath. The painter, photographer, choreographer, director, costume designer, dancer, actor, and composer born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is known to many for one aspect of his multifaceted career.

Holder rose to prominence as a principal dancer for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet before shifting to film in the maritime-themed 1956 B-movie Carib Gold. His cinematic profile quickly expanded with his 1973 role as the villainous Baron Samedi in the Bond film Live and Let Die. Others may recognize his visage as the pitchman for 7 Up. The Pleasures of the Flesh reframes Holder as a masterful portrait painter and turns our gaze to his captivating subjects.

It’s a delight to encounter such a meticulously curated show that amplifies the importance of art fairs in rewriting art history. Moreover, last night’s Benefit Preview in support of the Henry Street Settlement, which also celebrated the ADAA’s 60th anniversary, raised more than $1 million for the 130-year-old charity. Over more than three decades, The Art Show has collected over $36 million for the Henry Street Settlement.

The keen eye of Als, an associate professor of writing at Columbia University and a Pulitzer Prize winning art critic, elevates The Art Show to the highest standards of the global art world. Als edited the exhibition catalog for Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994-95) and his book credits include The Women (1996), White Girls (2014), and My Pinup (forthcoming, 2022).

The biggest-yet Art Show showcases a vast array of works by artists across genres and styles.

Sarah Peters’ Augur (2022), a bronze with silver nitrate patina sculpture, beckons us to the Nathalie Karg Gallery booth on a journey to reimagining the past with the Boston-born, Queens-based multimedia artist. An auger was an Ancient Roman religious official who observed natural signs, especially the behavior of birds, interpreting them as an indication of divine approval or disapproval of a proposed action.

We’re transported back to the Brazilian and Latin American art scene through the symbolic work of Antonio Henrique Amaral featured at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash booth. Best known for his series of paintings of bananas that have been mutilated by forks and ropes, Flying (1991) depicts contorted daggers flying below various moon phases as three hyper-stylized ratlike creatures with fierce fangs skulk to the viewer’s left.

We wander into the divine political playfulness of Yoko Ono’s Painting to Be Stepped On (1966-1988) at the Galerie Lelong & Co. booth. While preparing for a 1989 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Ono’s live-in companion at the time, interior decorator Sam Havadtoy, convinced her to recast her old pieces in bronze.

“I realized that for something to move me so much that I would cry, there’s something there. There seemed like a shimmering air in the 60s when I made these pieces, and now the air is bronzified,” Ono told Paul Taylor for The New York Times at the time. “Now it’s the 80s, and bronze is very 80s in a way – solidity, commodity, all of that. For someone who went through the 60s revolution, there has of course been an incredible change. . . . I call the pieces petrified bronze. That freedom, all the hope and wishes are in some ways petrified.”

Take your time exploring this edition of The Art Show which shall inform new and unique art historical discoveries.

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