Sean Kelly Gallery (here): Frank Thiel’s large scale studies of textures and surfaces are consistently engaging, every crack and hole getting Aaron Siskind-like attention. Their challenge is that they sometimes feel like perfect art fair art – just right for a buyer who needs to fill a big wall with something not too controversial. This one dissolves into a quiet shimmer of shifting light blue, and then sharpens back to examining the tiny lines and imperfections of each tile. Priced at €32000.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash (here): Apparently Justine Kurland has sold her van, forcing her to look inward of late, rather than to set out on the road. Her newest pictures revel in domestic details, this one juxtaposing the crinkled shininess of aluminum foil with the angled black rods of a stovetop. Executed in platinum, the image is soft and subtle rather than hard and machined. Priced at $4500.
Sfeir-Semler Gallery (here): This set of late 1940s era portraits of Lebanese students and teachers finds Akram Zaatari continuing his investigations of Middle Eastern archives. Arranged into a set, with echoes of big bows and the same table and chair, the images are a study of poses and identities, seen through a time-shifted cultural lens. Priced at $30000 for the group and already sold.
Galerie Gisela Capitain (here): This two-piece work by Barbara Bloom upends the simple concept of photographic mirroring. In one image, Bloom has made a photograph of an antique mirror, and across from this print, she has hung an actual mirror in a similar frame/mat, placed so that the photographic mirror and the actual mirror are opposite each other. The result is a strange combination of reflections, or perhaps better a reflection of an image of a reflection. Given that the pair doesn’t multiply endlessly to infinity, it’s conceptually smart and subtly mind bending. Priced at $27000.
Maisterravalbuena (here): Maria Loboda’s newest photographs give traditional fortune telling rituals from Central Africa a modern twist. Handbags are spilled across carpeted floors, revealing a haunting mix of domestic (keys, pills, a toothbrush, a Metrocard) and symbolic (animal bones, wings, bird’s feet) items, intermingling the mundane and the spiritual. Priced at €7000.
Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (here): Florian Auer’s sculptural photographs are yet another example of new printing techniques enabling unexpected artistic directions. This work was made from a c-print on fabric, which was then covered in epoxy etc. to create the glossy hardened form. Crumpled and gathered, it seems to ripple across the wall. Priced at $4300 and already sold.
Chi-Wen Gallery (here): This booth was a solo presentation of Chien-Chi Chang’s powerful portraits from his now deservedly famous 1990s project The Chain. Documenting pairs of prisoners chained together, the images are filled with poignant expressions and human details, the chains creating moving relationships and interactions between the subjects. Priced at $10000 each.
Hunt Kastner (here): This grid of works by Basim Magdy was recently presented in the Ocean of Images show at MoMA. Flared colors and chemical spots interrupt a selection of industrial imagery, resulting in a sparkling array of process-based degradation. Priced at €50000 for the set.
Parafin (here): Nancy Holt’s 1968 booth-filling typology of Western graveyards was another of my highlights from this year’s fair. Considered with a conceptual eye, the sites seem like artistic interventions in the landscape, the controlled edges and fences a method of responding to the broad openness of the surrounding space. Their variations and improvisations are like sculptural land art. Priced at $250000 for the set of 60 modern prints.
Gallery Luisotti (here): This booth was dedicated to the early 1970s black and white work of John Divola, with a healthy sampler of his classic Vandalism series on view. While many of the images from that series document Divola’s interventions with silver spray paint, this one makes smart compositional use of a standing wooden slat, misaligning the stripes and creating an angled shadow underneath. Priced at $15000.
Frith Street Gallery (here): This vertical array by Dayanita Signh actually encompasses 5 interchangeable images in each wooden box. Mundane office chairs and desks are seen with an eye for balance and proportion, discovering tactile geometries in everyday arrangements. Priced at £75000 for the set.
Andrew Kreps Gallery (here): This new work by Roe Ethridge continues to probe the uneasy borderland between commercial and fine art photography. His straightforward model shot with reflections in her orange sunglasses seems to both celebrate and undermine the slickness of advertising. Priced at $18000.
Matthew Marks Gallery (here): While Thomas Demand first showed images from his Dailies series several years ago now (here), he has continued to make images in the open-ended project. This stack of processed cheese and metal tongs is an excellent new addition to his ongoing investigation of small overlooked subjects, its edges and thicknesses well matched to the abstractions of his intricate paper constructions. Priced at €35000.
Taka Ishii Gallery (here): Unexpected flares of rainbow light color Yosuke Takeda’s recent landscapes. These delicate evergreen boughs have been turned an improbable fiery orange, like magic filtering through the forest. Priced at $5000.
Galerija Gregor Podnar (here): This work by B. Wurtz takes sculptural photography in a surprising direction. 35mm strips have been cut into individual frames and hung on thin strands, creating cascading lineups of transparent fashion shots that twist and turn with just a breath of wind. Priced at $10000.
The Box (here): As part of a much larger conceptual project, Howard Fried took sets of photographs of his mother’s wardrobe after she died. Each item was shown on a model, on a hangar, and close up, creating separate perspectives and impressions that seem to telescope in and out. Seen together, the threesomes break down the residue of personal connection with a sense of searching clinical attention. Priced at $6000.
König Galerie (here): This new work by Annette Kelm continues her investigation of extremely minute changes in pose and perspective. The artist Lucie Stahl stands behind a set of red window blinds, her face increasingly obscured by the slats. It’s a meticulously slow progression, which extends our sense of looking far beyond normal limits. Priced at €28000.
Anton Kern Gallery (here): While Anne Collier has a show up in New York right now (here), this excellent diptych isn’t included. It’s another of Collier’s bitingly gender-activated photographic finds, a “Sexy Woman” with two dangling cameras and a thong. Priced at $36000.