With pursed lips and slightly drawn eyelids, a woman looks straight at the viewer. The city skyline in the background is subjugated by her powerful presence, commanding a composition that hints at scenic photography.
The beauty from New York (1992) by Jeffrey Holder immediately drew me to the James Fuentes booth at last night’s glitzy Benefit Preview of The Art Show’s 33rd edition, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and benefiting the Henry Street Settlement, a of New York’s leading social service, arts and health organizations. On display through November 6 at the Park Avenue Armory, the show features curated exhibitions of historical and contemporary works.
Presentation by Fuentes Geoffrey Holder: The Pleasures of the Flesh, curated by Hilton Als and in collaboration with the Holder family, highlights the extraordinary importance of curating art fairs. The exhibition, on display at the Lower East Side gallery through December 18, reimagines art history for a consummate, unsurpassed polymath. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the painter, photographer, choreographer, director, costume designer, dancer, actor and composer is known to many for one facet of his multifaceted career.
Holder rose to prominence as a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet before transitioning to film in the 1956 nautical-themed B-movie. Caribbean 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 face as the host of 7 Up. The pleasures of the flesh reframes Holder as a masterful portraitist and directs our gaze to his fascinating subjects.
It is a pleasure to come across such a meticulously curated show that reinforces the importance of art fairs in rewriting art history. In addition, last night’s Benefit Preview in support of the Henry Street Settlement, which also celebrated ADAA’s 60th anniversary, raised more than $1 million for the 130-year-old charity. Over three decades, The Art Show has raised over $36 million for the Henry Street Village.
The keen eye of Als, associate professor of writing at Columbia University and Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, elevates The Art Show to the highest standards in the global art world. Als edited the exhibition catalog for Black Man: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American ArtT at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994-95) and his books include The women (1996), White girls (2014) and My Pinup (forthcoming, 2022).
The largest ever Art Show showcases a vast array of works by artists of various genres and styles.
Sarah Peters Harbinger (2022), a bronze sculpture with a silver nitrate patina, draws us to the gallery booth of Nathalie Karg on a journey to reimagine the past with the Boston-born, Queens-based multimedia artist. A Sverdel 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 are transported back to the Brazilian and Latin American art scene through the iconic work of Antonio Enrique Amaral presented at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash booth. Best known for his series of paintings of bananas that have been mutilated by pitchforks and ropes, flying (1991) depicts twisted daggers flying under various phases of the moon, with three hyper-stylized rat-like creatures with ferocious teeth lurking to the viewer’s left.
We wander into the divine political playfulness of Yoko Ono Step picture (1966-1988) at the Galerie Lelong & Co. booth. While preparing for a 1989 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Ono’s companion at the time, interior decorator Sam Havadtoi, convinced her to recast her old works in bronze.
“I realized that for something that would move me so much that I would cry, there was something out there. It looked like shiny air in the 1960s when I made these pieces, and now the air is bronzed,” Ono told Paul Taylor about New York Times at this time. “It’s the ’80s now, and bronze is very ’80s in a way—solidity, commodity, all that. For someone who lived through the revolution of the 1960s, of course there was an incredible change. . . . I call the pieces petrified bronze. That freedom, all hopes and desires are somehow petrified.”
Take the time to explore this edition of The Art Show, which will inform about new and unique discoveries in art history.