Contributed by Fay Sanders and Bob Szyantyr / In a shift befitting this year’s theme, !WILD CARD!, the Spring/Break Art Show departs from its past trajectory of more-and-bigger spectacle, year after year. Building on the “Secret Show” of this past spring, which returned to the Old School where the fair began, the organizers asked artists for this year’s show at 625 Madison to revisit past themes with a mix of nostalgia, homage, and cheekiness.
Though the artists and curators again had to meet the challenges of defunct office space, inconsistent lighting, and black-and-white checkered floors, every year their strategies seem to serve the work better, with less and less selfie-encouraging frustration. This year there was a palpable retreat from the big, bright, quick, and dirty, perhaps because seasoned participants have learned what to expect from the whirlwind, which usually lasts about a week from install to de-install. This show, like its early iterations, provided room for quirk, charm, and quality to set the tone. We spent some time on the 10th and 11th floors with the artists, the work, and the curators, trying to decode some of the trends in the emerging painting world. Here are some of the pieces that we couldn’t stop thinking about.
“!WILD CARD! SPRING/BREAK Art Show,” 625 Madison Avenue, New York, NY. Through Monday, September 11, 2023.
About the authors: Fay Sanders has exhibited with The Hole, The Lodge LA, La Loma Projects, Tchotchke Gallery, and Field Projects and has held solo exhibitions at Smith College and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. In 2022, Sanders was a visiting artist lecturer at Smith College and Sarah Lawrence College. A graduate of the Brooklyn College MFA Program and a Tufts/SMFA alumna, Sanders currently works in Queens, NY.
Bob Szantyr has shown with Auxiliary Projects, Trestle Gallery, Field Projects, P.A.D., 601Artspace, The Sphinx Northeast, and Latchkey Gallery in New York. He has also shown internationally at Galerie Jan Dhaese and the Cultural Center of Mechelen in Belgium, Ladislav Sutnar Gallery in the Czech Republic, and Kurant and Galleri 2 in Norway. A graduate of the BFA program at New York University and the MFA program at Brooklyn College, Szantyr currently works in Queens, NY.