THE SALON ART + DESIGN
At New York’s Park Avenue Armory
Copyright Vladimir Kagan November 18, 2014
The Salon + Design Fair at New York’s elegant Park Avenue Armory is the premium show of its kind. It is a concentration of 20th Century and contemporary art and designs, an exhibit assembled by Sanford Smith, the dean of impresarios for modern art exhibits. It was an inspiring show that featured 50 galleries from nine countries.
Unlike next month’s Art Basel Miami, which will be a sprawling exhibit spreading over thousands of feet in Miami’s Convention center and will overflow into off-premise spaces in every nook and cranny, Salon was a tightly vetted fair like its sister, The Paris Biennale which brings together a handpicked collection of galleries from Europe and the United States. I was privileged to be invited to the elegant opening of the show and my good friend Ashlee Harrison, who was managing the public relations, arranged for a limo to pick me up.
As so my many friends at the show wanted to know what I liked, these were my favorite finds:
Joseph Walsh was in my opinion, the most creative artist in the show. He creates furniture out of thin air. He swooshes quick light images and captures them in solid form. This creative craftsman is all of 35 years old, self-taught, living and working in Dublin. He is modest and self-effacing.. His work defied convention as his shapes explore the fluidity of bent laminations. He magically transforms rigid materials into fluid forms that are reminiscent of soft flowing seaweed as it undulates back and forth in a tidal sweep… ”Joseph, you are a genius”
Joseph Walsh's Luminoria 1 table at Todd Merrill Gallery - N.Y.
Joseph Walsh and me at the Amory opening
My friend, Zaha Hadid is always ready to surprise and enchant us. This time she has designed a lyrical acrylic iceberg table that refracts light into myriad shadows. The limited edition was instantly sold out…“Love your work Zaha”
Zaha Hadid's Liquid Glacial Table was the hit of the show at David Gill Gallery - London
Another of my all time favorites is Sebastian Errazuriz. His uncanny sense of humor always tickles the imagination; from a nude image of him in a casket, to cabinets that hold nothing, to poignant paintings whose messages hits you square between the eyes. This time he treated us to Venus DeMilo encapsulated in a latticework bookcase….”What next Sebastian?”
Sebastian Errazuriz's Venus Caged at the Salon 94 - N.Y.
You probably know, I love birds. I found these two bronze specimens in separate galleries. Were I in the market for some sculpture, these certainly would be on my wish list.
Peacocks in bronze (I neglected to get the artist's name) Galerie Dutko - Paris
Pelican in bronze by Daniel Daviau - Galerie Dumonteil - Paris - Shanghai - N.Y.
Wendell Castle is a whiz with wood. Back in 1980 he surprised us all with a collection of non-functional furniture. Simple everyday items of clothing and utilities found in our homes and reinterpreted in delicately carved wood. The delicate table with a red tablecloth is one of a series of Trompe l’oel creations that he made for his exhibit at the Burchfield Penney Art Center…“Wendell, you are my hero”
Carved Table with Cloth by Wendell Castle at Lillian Nassau Gallery - N.Y.
The bronze furniture designed by Ingrid Donat was quite amazing, incorporating robust mechanical elements that delighted and intrigued the audience. I had admired her designs some years earlier at a Design Miami show. Ingrid happens to be the mother of Julian Lombard, who is the co-founder of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
A bronze chest of drawers reminiscent of an ancient treaure chest by Ingrid Donat at Carpenters Workshop Gallery -Paris - London
Ingrid Donat on the left with my friend Elle Lake-Ewald and me.
And then I found surprises in beautifully crafted tables, sculpture, and a number of fifties and earlier designs that are lasting examples of modernism in the 20th Century.
Africa Mask by Dan-Bassa - Lucas Ratton Gallery - Paris
Bianco by Agostino Bonalumi 1981 a Milanese sculptor at Robilant + Voena Gallery - Milano/London
A giant jack "Balance" delicately balances on one point and becomes animated when touched or agitated by a breeze. Israeli sculptor Iftah Geva - Geva Goldner Gallery - Israel
A classic Rieetvelt chair in mint condition at Galerie UlrichFledler - Berlin
I have often been asked, “What inspired you to design your early furniture?” I never had a ready answer. In retrospect, it might have been this classic leather and teak chair by Denmark’s Finn Juhl. It was truly one of my early inspirations.
Finn Juhl's iconic arm chair that was one of my early isnpirations - Hostler Burrows Gallery - N.Y.
I found a pair of exquisitely restored freeform sofas that could easily have been attributed to me, but were created by an unknown Italian craftsman back in the 50’s.- Bernd Goeckler’s Gallery - N.Y.
Unfortunately the show closed on Monday night… I was too late in getting this article out to you… Look for it next year… same time – same location.
I have often expressed my dislike of modern art as contrived, meaningless, sensationalism and for me, lacking the alure of art. But admittedly, it is all in the eyes of the observer... what is one persons million dollar choice is anothers worthless trash.
This painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat was quoted at over five million - I offered the gallery owner $50, and I am not even sure if I would actually hang it.