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Brooklyn Street Art

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Spring / Break 2017 : This Years’ Times Square Show in Corporate Office Space

Posted on March 1, 2017

Braving the crowds at the 2017 Spring/Break show means meandering the floor plan of former corporate offices and encountering the daydreams of artists who usually work as temps here. After traversing the un-grand lobby and showing your ID, this high-flying glass and steel Times Square fantasy flips the lights on the funhouse as soon as the doors open to Greg Haberny’s elevator bank installation of hundreds of rough wooden sculptures dangling overhead while a hardcore soundtrack rams you through the glass doors to the reception area.

Greg Haberny. Detail. Curated by Ambre Kelly . Andrew Gori . Catinca Tabacaru. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This curator-focused show never allows you to be bored, ensuring an alternate-world full of possibility, often delivering on its promise, sometimes fooling you. Like a beehive of compartmentalized activities and scenarios playing out in a fractured psyche, you find comedy, fluid sexuality, bejeweled fantasies, a satiric art-factory performance, D.I.Y. cardboard set design, light illusions in closets, wide photographic vistas, costumed performers, photo shopped hyperfantasy, Basquiat photos by his ex-roommate, and fully immersive environments like a live barbershop delivering dramatic haircuts with multi-screened secret surveillance in the backroom – tracking movements and conversations here and on the street below.

Alexis Adler’s photos of her room mate Jean-Michel Basquiat. Curated by Jane Kim. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo by Jaime Rojo)

While the aesthetic/mythic/pop culture influences are Diluvian and flattening our traditional hierarchies in this information age, shows like this also highlight our level of distraction – and test your ability to edit. It’s not as libertine or scummy as you would expect from a Times Square show in a what looks like a former den of lawyers, but then Times Square is not the flawed and blinkered glam and muck and whirl that it once was. Although who knows what lurks behind those brightly Disneyesque and moldy fur costumes…

Here is a pile of laundry from one perspective. From another it is an anamorphic portrait of activist Hellen Keller. Noah Scalin. Curated by Dawne Langford. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Noah Scalin. Curated by Dawne Langford. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ask Jane Dixon, whose “Male Nourished” paintings of men and their dicks fill an office and overlook the action on the street below. She says she is rather celebrating men’s continuous love affair with their genitalia and portrays them as nearly obsessive relationships.

Jane Dickson. Curated by Michelle Loh. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dixon knows these scenes better than most since she and husband Charlie Ahearn made their own Times Square home movies out the window and overlooking the street action in this famous nexus when gangs beset passersby, drugs were not delivered to your door via text message, arcades were dark  rooms full of pinball machines, and hookers and Johns were just “locals”. Dixon is also an alum of the famous “Times Square Show” mounted with 100 artists in 1980 in a massage parlor on 41st and 7th Avenue. The show later became regarded as a turning point in New York low/hi art and uptown/downtown culture with a list of young artists who became well known in certain circles; Tom Otterness, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf, Nan Goldin.

Jane Dickson. Curated by Michelle Loh. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For a moment you can forget the high rents that have driven most of these artists out of Manhattan and into the crowded lofts of Brooklyn, Queens, even Jersey. Quirky, searching, forcefully unique and hoping for a break. The excitement among these 150 curators and 400 artists is palpable on opening night and you want these visionaries to succeed, and indeed they do through this dark lookingglass. Many themes continue out to the street, and for a few boisterous moments this chaotic labyrinthine in fluorescent glow mimics the streets below.

Lee Quinones takes a US propaganda ad which he salvaged from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and adds modern military bombing of Babylon as a backdrop. Curated by Sara Driver. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lee Quinones. Detail. Curated by Sara Driver. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A barbershop in the front, a surveillance room full of screens in the back. Curated by Eve Sussman . Simon Lee. Barbershop. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cate Giordano creates an apartment of papier mache. Curated by Suzanne Kim. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Michael Zelehoski. Curated by Che Morales. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

David Kramer. Curated by Ambre Kelly . Andrew Gori. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist, writer, publisher and jazz saxophonist Noah Becker does a self portrait against a backdrop of Basquiat. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Carole Vobe playfully displays that great leveling force of death. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tamara Santibañez and a monochrome hand-drawn teen bedroom from the 1980s. Curated by Justin De Demko. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Check out Spring/Break 2017 March 1-6.