The Art Newspaper’s picks of what to see at the ADAA’s Art Show

We share a few of our favourites from the fair as it opens to the public today

by The Art Newspaper  |  2 March 2016
The Art Newspaper’s picks of what to see at the ADAA’s Art Show
Joseph Cornell, The Crystal Cage (Portrait of Berenice), encased circa 1943; revised until 1960s

Richard L. Feigen & Co: Joseph Cornell, The Crystal Cage (Portrait of Berenice), $3.8m

The centrepiece of Feigen stand is an impressive, sprawling valise construction by Joseph Cornell, with elements collected by the artist over the span of 20 years. The Crystal Cage (Portrait of Berenice) was assembled between 1943 and sometime in the 1960s, and tells the story of a fairy-tale girl named Berenice, “almost his own Thumbalina- or Alice in Wonderland-type figure,” said the gallery’s president Frances Beatty. Like Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valises, the work can be displayed however the owner chooses, and is comprised of collected ephemera, in this case souvenirs of the fictional Berenice’s life: everything from post cards, diary entries, and event tickets to photographs and newspaper articles. The sketch of her life is intentionally vague: she’s precocious and interested in science. She made her parents move into a pagoda in Connecticut so that she might better use her telescope from within. The work is one of the artist’s three valise works and was included at the Royal Academy’s Joseph Cornell show last year, which explains the $3.8m price tag—an outsized price for the normally modest Cornell. — Dan Duray

Wolfgang Laib adding milk to one of his Milkstones
Sperone Westwater: Wolfgang Laib, Milkstone (1981), $120,000

Don’t breeze past Sperone Westwater’s stand dedicated to the artist Wolfgang Laib—you just might miss one of the more compelling pieces. The booth features an impressive 1981 Milkstone, one of Laib’s earliest series, started shortly after he left his work as a doctor. The work, available for $120,000, consists of a white marble slab with a slight divot that can hold around a quart of milk. The colour gives it a vibrancy beyond normal marble and the meniscus of the milk gives the stone a slight curve and a living quality. The only downside is that under the bright lights of the Armory drill hall, the milk on the reflective marble does tend to evaporate. Don’t be surprised if you see one of the gallery staff sneak a carton out of the desk to refill the trough. — Dan Duray

Salon 94, Marilyn Minter, Photos on the Floor (1976), paintings range from $40,000 to $160,000

Want to see Marilyn Minter as you’ve never seen her before? Head to Salon 94’s stand. The US artist is best known for her slick, confrontational images of women’s mouths stuffed with pearls and caked with gold. Here, she tackles a decidedly less glamorous subject in an equally unnerving way. Between 1976 and 1978, Minter created photorealist paintings of drab interiors. Each is a close-up captured at an odd angle, with not-quite-domestic detritus scattered off centre (one highlight: a spill of mysterious brown liquid across a linoleum floor). The works were not shown publicly until 2014, but a selection is due to be included in Minter’s travelling retrospective, scheduled to open at the Brooklyn Museum this autumn. A majority of the works, priced between $40,000 and $160,000, sold at the ADAA’s preview on Tuesday, according to the gallery. — Julia Halperin

PPOW: Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy (1999), $100,000

It is difficult to walk by PPOW’s booth, with a solo presentation on Carolee Schneemann, and not notice the centerpiece: Meat Joy (1999), a collage of photographs from the artist’s eponymous 1964 performance at Judson Church in New York. Mounted on canvas with crayon and paint, the work’s chaotic, visceral brushstrokes in vivid colours evoke the spirit of the group performance, which Schneemann has compared with “an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh as material”, making use of such objects as raw fish, chickens, sausages, paint and ropes. —Victoria Stapley-Brown

Betty Cunningham Gallery: Bill Traylor, Mexican Lady (1939-42), $125,000

A wonderful display of work by the American self-taught artist Bill Traylor is on the stand of Betty Cunningham Gallery. Traylor, who was born a slave in Alabama in 1854, was discovered by the painter Charles Shannon in front of a blacksmith shop in 1939, where the 85-year-old was drawing with a pencil stub. Shannon encouraged Traylor with art supplies and financial support. He also taught Traylor, who was illiterate, how to draw his name but most of his work remains unsigned. The graphite on cardboard work Mexican Lady (1939-42), priced at $125,000, is one of the few to bear Tralor’s signature and shows the artist practicing his writing with a string of Ts incorporated into the woman’s dress. — Gabriella Angeleti

Anthony Meier Fine Arts: Jasmin Sian, if I had a little zoo: I miss Gus the mopey polar bear in the Central Park zoo, works range from $10,000 to $18,000

Tucked in the back corner of the fair is a paper menagerie by the New York artist Jasmin Sian, who delicately cuts out brown paper bags into filigree doilies on which she has drawn miniature scenes. As well as the usual urban wildlife like pigeons, or a friend’s pet parakeet named Fennel, Sian has dedicated a piece to one of the city’s best loved and sorely missed former residents: Gus, the Central Park Zoo polar bear, who died in 2013. The San Francisco gallery has been working with the Philippines-born artist for more than 15 years and this latest zoological series is two years in the making. The Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, who has a show on at Friedman Benda gallery in New York, was spotted in the booth admiring the “absolutely beautiful” works. “And I thought cutting bread was hard,” he said.  —Helen Stoilas

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