Art and About in May

by James Gaddy, 04/16/2013

« »
  • print

Art and design aficionados rejoice: The two-week extravaganza of art and design that hits New York City each May has expanded even further and promises to be more exciting than ever. This year marks the debut of NYCxDESIGN, the citywide celebration of creativity and innovation running May 10–21. A key event of NYCxDESIGN is Frieze New York, now in its second year in New York City. The longtime British expo will be held on Randalls Island from May 10–13, with 180 galleries from 32 countries—including Galerie Kamel Mennour (France), Project 88 (India), Goodman Gallery (South Africa)—participating along with some of the best galleries in the United States. For noncollectors, seven new commissions, by Liz Glynn and other up-and-comers, will be on view near three audio works by Trisha Baga, Charles Atlas and New Humans and Haroon Mirza. Fair-goers should visit for transportation information. Note: retailer Joe Fresh is also offering free shuttle rides to and from Frieze. For more details and to sign up, visit

Frieze Art Fair
"Untitled" (2012), by Mark Bradford on view at Frieze Art Fair. Courtesy, White Cube

Running concurrently that weekend are a number of design exhibitions that can't be missed: The 2013 Design Awards Exhibition at the Center for Architecture acknowledges the best buildings of the year, while the inaugural Collective .1 Design Fair at Pier 57 will exhibit selections from 25 top galleries from around the globe. And Brooklyn's notable impact on design and culture is showcased in BKLYN DESIGNS, at St. Ann's Warehouse, where 35 hand-picked Brooklyn-based designers—Bower Studios, Christopher Coleman and Noble Goods, among them—will display their work. West Elm will be on hand to select a collaborator for the upcoming season.

BKLYN Designs
BKLYN Designs. Courtesy, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce/Auster Agency

The second weekend of NYCxDESIGN will focus on the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which fills the Javits Center floors with the latest offerings from hundreds of furniture and housewares companies. This 25th edition of the fair runs May 18–21 and has a special focus on materials: watch as Tom Dixon and others build pieces in real time in collaboration with manufacturers using laser-based production. 

International Contemporary Furniture Fair
Courtesy, International Contemporary Furniture Fair

At the Tunnel, the popular satellite design fair WantedDesign will run May 18–20, with booths and exhibitions featuring famous pieces from Italian legend Cappellini: Marcel Wanders' Tulip chair, Nendo's Ribbon stools and Jasper Morrison's Bac chairs. Stalwarts like Bernhardt Design will be there as well, along with a selection of 20 emerging international designers. For a more conceptual perspective, check out After the Museum: The Home Front 2013 at the Museum of Arts and Design, which asks New York–based designers like Project Projects and Keetra Dean Dixon to imagine innovative proposals for contemporary art and design museums in the 21st century. Special events include evenings with collectors like Iris Apfel and site-specific work by artist Item Idem.

"24K," by Ben Blanc. Courtesy, WantedDesign

For dedicated followers of fashion, two revealing exhibitions this month are worth their weight in thread. Punk: Chaos to Couture opens May 9 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and traces the effect that the DIY attitude—not to mention the music of Lou Reed, the Ramones, Iggy Pop—had on the runway and the twin cities of London and New York. At the Museum of Chinese in America, Front Row: Chinese American Designers celebrates the rise of designers such as Anna Sui, Yeohlee Teng, Vera Wang and Vivienne Tam in 1980s New York. 

Chinese American Designers
Outfit (2013), by Philip Lim on view at Front Row: Chinese American Designers. Courtesy, Museum of Chinese in America

For purists, the David Zwirner Gallery on West 20th Street looks back on a seminal five-year period of the venerable artist Richard Serra. Drawing on works made between 1966 and 1971, the show illustrates the beginning of the artist's innovative, process-oriented experiments with nontraditional materials—like vulcanized rubber, neon and lead—in addition to key early examples in steel.

The Museum of Modern Art offers a Pop Art counterpoint to Serra's heavy machinery with a show of two early-career pieces by Claes Oldenburg. The Street, which comprises objects made from cardboard, burlap and newspaper, is an immersive panorama of a gritty and bustling city; while The Store is brightly painted sculptures and sculptural reliefs shaped to evoke commercial products. (Also on view are Oldenburg's architectural structures Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing.) Meanwhile, opening on May 23, the Whitney Museum of American Art celebrates one of the original British Pop artists, David Hockney, whose new work, The Jugglers, is his first video installation and was filmed using 18 cameras to create a colorful multiscreen composite image.

One of Hockney's disciples, Elizabeth Peyton, has shows at two galleries this month. At Gavin Brown's Enterprise, through May 13, the painter shows a new group of portraits, including one of Barack and Michelle Obama embracing, along with small but finely tuned watercolors. Uptown, Michael Werner gallery organizes Klara 13 Pictures, a show revolving around portraits of one of Peyton's most frequent subjects: the artist Klara Liden. Over the course of the show, and through a wide range of processes and materials, the portrait that emerges most clearly is of Peyton herself.

A much broader portrait of the times opens May 17 at the International Center of Photography. A Different Kind of Order: The ICP Triennial includes 28 artists from around the world selected by the museum's curators based on the old-fashioned virtue of being interesting. The results are often ambiguous, like Rabih Mroué's blurry Blow up 4, but never dull. Much of the work in general focuses on economic, social and political instability in photography as well as film and video.

Busted, a collection of portraits installed at various locations along The High Line in Chelsea, adds a jolt of humor to the raised park. Nine artists were invited to use as their inspiration the dedicatory sculptures on the ancient streets of Rome. The results—from George Condo, Mark Grotjahn and Ruby Neri, among others—create an engaging and fun non-digital interactive environment.

"Human Statue (Jessie)" (2011), by Frank Benson on view in BUSTED. Courtesy, the artist/Andrew Kreps Gallery

Briefly Noted
Maya Lin: Here and There
Pace Gallery (Midtown location)
If all you know of Maya Lin is her Vietnam Veterans Memorial, you're missing out: These wall installations are made of marble, wood, silver and steel and represent aerial views of waterways. The rivers are made of recycled silver and steel pins, and the wall forms the surrounding land.

Richard Hughes
Anton Kern Gallery
Through May 18
The British artist's third one-person show at the gallery turns the space into a stage for dancing sculptures, made from lampposts, thin garden walls and broken statues scavenged from the English countryside.

Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna, 1897–1907
Neue Galerie
Opening on May 23
Long overshadowed by his Wiener Werkstätte cofounder Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser nonetheless produced a highly acclaimed, wide range of Viennese classics, as evidenced by the wardrobes, armchairs, posters, textiles and furniture assembled here.

Sebastian Black and Jacob Kassay
Room East
Opening on May 5
Two of New York's most interesting artists under 30—both have a discerning sheen that gets tougher the closer you look—share the bill at the buzzy downtown gallery.

Show #13: Desaturated Rainbow
Field Projects
Through May 18
This traveling exhibition focuses on how contemporary New York and Los Angeles artists use color on each coast, including LA-based Alison Blickle and Wendell Gladstone with NYC artists like Micah Ganske, Norm Paris and Colette Robbins.

related venues/(8)

  1. 1
    Center for Architecture
    536 LaGuardia Pl.
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10012
  2. 2
    St. Ann's Warehouse
    45 Water St.
    Brooklyn – DUMBO
    NY 11201
  3. 3
    Museum of Arts and Design
    2 Columbus Circle
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  1. 4
    Museum of Chinese in America
    215 Centre St.
    Manhattan – multiple locations
    NY 10013
  2. 5
    GBE (Gavin Brown's Enterprise)
    620 Greenwich St
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10014
  3. 6
    Michael Werner
    4 E 77th St
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  1. 7
    International Center of Photography
    250 Bowery
    Manhattan – NoLIta
    NY 10012
  2. 8
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011

check-in date

check-out date