by Anna Kamensky
This year Clio Art Fair has a brand new ground floor location on West 35th street. The fair is more visible, open, and larger than ever. Clio immediately draws attention from passersby and takes advantage of its new layout, which allows for a greater variety of work than in the past.
What sets Clio Art Fair apart, and what they continue to stress, is the fact that the artists are not represented by a gallery. This gives collectors, curators and artists a way to connect when they may not have previously had the opportunity. It is again, a breath of fresh air from the typical art fair scene.
This edition of Clio highlights the different ways in which the art world is processing the current state of the country and world. Some artists decided to tackle today’s issues with a sense of humor, while others strived to transport us to another world completely.
In Citizen Grey’s series Amplified Division via #FakeNews, the artist displays hypothetical tweets from historical leaders, having them comment on current events. While social media can have an inherently light tone, the piece has somber undertones. Grey creates a conversation connecting the past, present and future. Displayed behind plexiglass, the pseudo phone screen frames further highlight the deep-rooted connection between technology and our consumption of news and current events. The anonymity of the artist’s identity adds to the intrigue of the piece as the viewer can’t immediately assume anything about his/her views.
Other intriguing work includes Ed Williamson’s skull paintings and Sivan Sternbach’s ceramic balloons. Williamson’s small canvases are colorful and loud, daring the viewer not to react to the words, such as “Not Your Negro,” and “Rule 1. Don’t Be Racist.” With obvious ties to Damian Hirst and Guy Richards Smit’s skull watercolors, the paintings are still visually pleasing while blatantly representing death and destruction. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Sivan Sternbach’s ceramic balloons can almost pass for celebratory opening night balloons, and can be unavoidably connected to Koons’ balloon animals; they are less flashy and therefore more intriguing. In something so simple is something visually arresting; the heaviness of a ceramic masquerades as the light airiness of a balloon. Sternbach’s Blah Blah Blah reflects the constant chatter and background noise of an art fair. But how does one sort out the meaningful from all the nonsense?
Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash creates otherworldly artwork with his mixed media tapestries. Through painted and woven cardboard, Akirash layers the pieces adding depth and creating a luscious dark atmosphere. His expert combination of materials and transformation of cardboard has the look of a woven textile. The combination of elements that are simultaneously shiny and appealing, and harsh and repulsive transports the viewer to another planet, dimension, or space, all of which are a welcome break from the everyday.
Overall the spring 2018 edition of Clio Art Fair allows for a more creative exhibition with its layout and additional space. The variety of art highlights some of the best of what independent artists have to offer. The future of Clio is bright.
CLIO ART FAIR
March 8-11, 2018
335 West 35th street
New York NY 10001