There’s no shortage of art fairs in the springtime, but only one in New York City caters to works exclusively in the $100 to $10,000 range. We asked art advisors Anne Huntington and Susi Kenna to provide some collecting tips as well as their favorite pieces from the upcoming Affordable Art Fair, which returns to NYC at 7 West 34th Street from April 18 to 22.
Anne Huntington is an art advisor and curator based in NYC. She is the founder of AMH Industries, a charity auctioneer, a collector, and is involved in various art and culture institutions. She previously worked at Phillips de Pury & Company.
The Affordable Art Fair is a fantastic entrée into the world of collecting. There, you can spend an entire afternoon looking at art, and collecting is fun and personal. Start to notice where your eye focuses; see how you naturally respond. Remember that collecting is a creative process. Do you like color, portraits, photographs, large scale, or small scale formats? Starting a collection may seem daunting (and it can be), but use this uncertainty to figure out what you’re certain about. This is the time to experiment, trust yourself, ask lots of questions, do research, and see, see, see. You may not even realize you’re starting a collection. But over time, trends will come alive.
I’m immersed in art every day in my work with clients who are both new and seasoned collectors. Each experience is different and rewarding. I love getting to know the artist’s process and backstory—it’s always a dynamic dialogue.
This Burt Glinn photograph is an exciting addition to any collection. Capturing Warhol with Sedgwick and Chuck, it depicts a quintessential moment and the vibrancy of the era. Having Magnum Photos as the provenance adds weight, and Glinn was the first American member of Magnum Photos. The iconic, historical, and pop cultural subject matter coupled with the provenance make for a sound purchase.
This detailed work at Cicada Aboriginal Art Gallery speaks beautifully on personal and universal levels. The abstract forms suggest various meanings that are united in Pitjara’s references to the traditional ceremonies of Aboriginal women. This work transcends generations on the canvas, and the forms remind me of Fred Tomaselli’s ecstatic fantasies.
Dale May’s Storm Troopers at Samuel Owen Gallery brings us back to Star Wars with the three omnipresent Storm Troopers in formation on a stark red background. The Lego Storm Troopers, ready for battle and set against a bright, monochrome background, evoke a loaded wit. This is a fun highlight that resonates with many of us.
Susi Kenna is the founder of The Creatives Agency, co-founder of Curateam, Director of Contemporary Art for luxury travel company Excursionist, and creator of artseenwithsusi.com.
At the School of Visual Arts Gallery, these three works by soon-to-be SVA grads Eric Mistretta, Yuhi Hasegawa, and London-based Anna Barlow blur the lines between the real and the imaginary. They activate our senses of sight, taste, and touch, as well as presenting non-literal narratives through their distinct (and colorful) visual vocabularies.
Eric Mistretta’s mixed media work, including the candle, paint, smoke, and pencil of When You Were THIS Big, strikes a curious balance between comedy and tragedy, sculpture and painting, colloquialisms and common materials. Mistretta says he’s excited to be included in the fair. “Dan Halm, our curator, told us the booth is very big," he says, “so if everything works out, I’ll try and start a dance party.”
Kyoto native Yuhi Hasegawa aims to create an “elaborate fantasy world that can only exist in paintings.” His portraits, such as Untitled, are rooted in his imagination and constructed through a process of trial and error with his paintbrush. His spontaneous method of creating images is his way of exploring primitive human qualities and their correlation with the inner-meanings of innate and acquired behavioral traits. Realized through an ongoing process of layers upon layers of revisions, each oil painting serves as a record of Hasegawa’s personal exploration of why he is drawn to paint and how he reacts and responds to it in real time.
Anna Barlow’s ceramic sculptures of ice cream are as layered as her process. Fascinated by the many ways that food is consumed across cultures—ritualistically, traditionally, and individually—Barlow‘s “visually edible” creations intend to stir more than just her viewer’s appetite. Sculpted in clay, porcelain, and glaze, each work is crafted to appear lifelike. They take interest in the beauty of the way our minds form fantasy objects and therefore reflect our true selves, desires, and inner wants. Referring to this piece, Barlow states that “indecision and greed come into play, extra portions of cream and cherries are added, and sauces and flavors intermingle. The result is this bizarre, mutated, unbalanced shape, which while strange, is appetizing and beautiful in its own way.” Her realistic approach seeks to draw the viewer into a memory or a “fantasy of desired indulgences"—responses that are bound to happen when coming across a mouthwatering masterpiece with a title as suggestive as Mr. Much Too Much.