Photography Highlights from the NADA New York 2022 Art Fair

Between the closed off years of the pandemic and various other upsets and reschedulings, it’s been quite a few years since we last visited a fair put on by the New Art Dealers Association (NADA). In fact, this 2022 edition of the NADA New York fair is the first for the organization here in the city since 2018, and we have to go back one more year, to 2017, to find our last survey of the notable photography in the booths (here).

But in times of tumult and chaos there is opportunity, and as seen in this year’s fair, many of the galleries who are members of NADA have clearly been busy building up and retooling their programs – this fair had the energy and vibrancy of the old days, but with an encouraging freshness that signals these galleries have started over and are moving on.

What we found even more promising than the overall mood was that very few if any of these galleries have seemingly dug back into history, looking for undiscovered photographers worth re-evaluating. Instead, they are showing recent and new photography, with a renewed emphasis on work by women and people of color, perhaps with a handful of somewhat older images as context. None of the images we have selected in our fair summary below come from before 2000, and most come from the past decade or the past few years. The fact that much of the photography on view at the concurrent Independent art fair was vintage or vintage-leaning (report here) feels like an interesting, and quite visible, contrast of styles and approaches.

As is our custom, the slideshow below gathers together singular photographs found at the fair, starting with the booths toward the far left of the entrance, and generally winding our way back to the far right. Each image is supported by linked gallery names, artist names, prices (as available), and a short discussion or commentary.

Nino Mier Gallery (here): This recent nude by Polly Borland finds the artist turning the camera on herself for the first time, and exploring the sculptural qualities of her own flesh. Like Jenny Saville’s nudes under glass, Borland’s nude twists our expectations, with an unexpected upside down perspective of elbows, breasts, and folds of skin. Priced at $14000.

Bonamatic (here): For roughly the past decade, the artist duo of Jonas Georg Christensen and Peter Olsen have made painted interventions on public buildings and then photographed their results with crisp precision. Unlike the emphatic mark making of graffiti, these visual interruptions are subtle, often responding to the geometries of the architecture. Here a dark painted rectangle covers several of the raw concrete blocks at the bottom, rebalancing the geometric proportions. Priced at $2500.

Over the Influence (here): The Chinese characters across the noise of artist John Yuyi read “I love I”, a personal declaration indicative of her self-reflexive art practice. In this work, her head and hands become isolated in a surreal sea of enveloping red, but she still finds away to define her identity. Priced at $4500. Our review of her 2021 photobook Airplane Mode can be found here.

Entrance (here): Nick Sethi’s recent works take colorful images of India and amplify them a few more notches with decals, stickers, and other embellishments. Here flowers carried on a head are turned into a mysterious face, with flaming eyes floating in the sky. Priced at $8000. Sethi’s 2018 photobook Khichdi (Kitchari) was reviewed here.

DOCUMENT (here): Using images drawn from Google’s book and manuscript scanning operations, Andrew Norman Wilson has uncovered a parade of inexplicable anomalies, leftover fingers, and other errors, some of which have been algorithmically erased, leaving behind even more confusing remnants. Here a latex covered finger holds down a page, the hand (and its potential backstory) now the subject instead of the text. Priced at $3000.

DOCUMENT (here): As just one of her areas of photographic interest, Sara Greenberger Rafferty has been exploring the potential of images embedded in glass for the better part of the past decade. This work takes sequential photographs of a disembodied hand holding a lens and extends them out into thin strips. As the hand rotates, the colored glass bars take on the properties of film strips, with individual frames stepping from one to the next. Priced at $50000 for the set of 27 strips.

DOCUMENT (here): In his continued exploration of the possibilities of studio-based portraiture, Paul Mpagi Sepuya has often employed dark cloths and drapery to isolate body parts and cameras from their surroundings. In this work, he uses a thin sheet of linen to provide a kind of perforated scrim, with lenses poking through to interrogate us, upending the usual transaction of a photographic portrait. Priced at $14000. Reviews of Sepuya’s 2019 and 2017 gallery shows in New York can be found here and here.

Patel Brown Gallery (here): This magenta-hued still life by the Jamaican photographer Dainesha Nugent-Palache turns a tabletop arrangement of glass orbs and rock balls into a cosmic melody. Her saturated color palette amplifies the mood, introducing a slice of seething mysticism. Priced at $2400.

Misako & Rosen (here): Motoyuki Daifu’s most recent series finds him paying unlikely attention to the wet stains made by urinating urban dogs. This booth was a solo presentation of these large works, where Daifu has transformed forgettable splashings on lampposts into a serial study of expressive gesture, each improvised drip captured in a different tint. Priced at $7000.

FIERMAN (here): This 2001 Polaroid from Dietmar Busse comes from his series My Life as a Flower, where the artist has re-imagined himself decorated with patterns of floral petals. The booth also featured related (and more recent) works from Busse using meticulously controlled patterns of darkroom chemicals to create exuberantly painterly floral self-portraits. Priced at $6000.

Larrie (here): This nighttime image of a New York city garbage truck by Daniel Arnold certainly has a dystopian edge. Between the dripping murk, the pooled water, and the simmering lights, the scene mixes the rough underbelly of the city with an entirely unlikely sense of almost beauty. Priced at $6000.

Denny Dimin Gallery (here): Sheida Soleimani’s work uses constructed still life arrangements to wrestle with issues surrounding the politics and culture of Iran, her home country. This image
brings together the arm of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, clusters of cherry tomatoes (which Israel claims to have invented), and images of clouds (referring to recent droughts in Iran and subsequent claims that Israel had stolen the clouds). Without a guide, some of Solemani’s references will be hard for many to unravel, but when carefully pieced together, her pictures and their backstories resonate with incisive intelligence. Priced at $10500.

Eli Ridgway Gallery (here): Terri Loewenthal’s layered, multi-colored landscapes aren’t multiple tinted exposures, but apparently single exposures meticulously crafted in camera. Her results have an almost Cubist aesthetic, where we see the same rocky scene from various vantage points simultaneously. Priced at $9500.

Bitforms Gallery (here): LaJuné McMillian’s self-portraits are stills of digital movement, where forms seem to continuously swirl in and out of legibility. In this image, the pink and blue marbling seems caught for a split second, while her mysterious dark shape pushes through the surface, creating bright color distortions. Priced at $8000.

Moskowitz Bayse (here): This booth was a solo presentation of the photographs of Rachel Browning. In each image, she makes an intervention in the landscape, where construction materials are inserted and aligned to make a level measurement. Browning makes these installation in riverbeds and rocky washes, along tree trunks, nestled in leaf piles, and in other unlikely locations, including this clump of cacti. Her works smartly combine a conceptual echo of John Pfahl’s altered landscapes and a more practical (and almost absurdly precise) DIY aesthetic. Priced at $3600.

Towards Gallery (here): A number of photographer’s have employed strategies for incorporating physical traces of a place into a photograph made of that same place, searching for ways to bring immediacy and context to their pictures. Maria Trabulo tests these same ideas with works pairing archival images of the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon with dust gathered from the very same storage areas. In this work, Trabulo has applied the dust to the surface of the print like an encroaching drift of sand, embellishing and obscuring the surface at the same time. Priced at $5000.

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Read more about: Andrew Norman Wilson, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Daniel Arnold, Dietmar Busse, John Yuyi, Jonas Georg Christensen & Peter Olsen, LaJuné McMillian, Maria Trabulo, Motoyuki Daifu, Nick Sethi, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Polly Borland, Rachel Browning, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Sheida Soleimani, Terri Loewenthal, Bitforms Gallery, Bonamatic, Denny Gallery, DOCUMENT, Eli Ridgway Gallery, Entrance, FIERMAN, Larrie, Misako & Rosen, Moskowitz Bayse, Nino Mier Gallery, Over the Influence, Patel Brown Gallery, Towards Gallery, NADA New York

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