Walking the steps into the The Salon Art and Design show I really did not know what to expect. We are 2 days past the presidential election and Manhattan has felt uneasy, like a city in mourning even though the country had selected one of our own as president-elect. But once we passed thru the magnificent doors of the Park Avenue Armory, seeing the large crowds that greeted us, walking thru a Viennese turn of the century suite by Josef Hoffmann at Yves Macaux or the feeling of Paris 1930 with pieces from Jean-Michel Frank and Paul Dupre’-Lafon at L’Arc En Seine any uneasiness went away. It was replaced by the excitement of walking thru the best of art and design to be seen in New York.
Contemporary was King at this edition of the Salon show. Close to half of the 55 exhibitors presented 21st century works and many were exclusive to today. As with any period there are hits and misses and this show was no different. But unlike our election which became negative I want to only focus on the positive. Pierre Marie Giraud from Belgium presented a solo exhibition of the glass artist Ritsue Mishima. The unique organic glass shapes Mishima creates in Murano are exquisite and represented the best of contemporary design at the Salon show. Other contemporary highlights include Christopher Duffy’s tables of resin wood and glass at Sarah Myerscough Gallery in London, Roberto Rida’s wonderful mirrors and furniture at Bernd Goeckler in New York and the very special chairs of Alex Hull and table from Glithero Studio at Fumi Gallery also in London.
In addition to the design, contemporary art was also well represented, highlighted by Vic Muniz piece Three Flags at Vivian Horan. Mel Bochner and Michelangelo Pistoletto were represented at Horan and Turin’s Mazzoleni gallery. But it did not end with contemporary artists. London’s Offer Waterman Gallery was a standout with pieces from Henry Moore, Leon Kossoff and one of the stars of the night William Turnbull’s sculpture Horse. British artist Frank Auerbach was well represented at not only Offer Waterman but at Richard Green. Auerbach who is finally getting the attention he deserves in the US saw his painting Head of Gerda Boehm soar to sell over 10 times its estimate at the David Bowie auction today at Sotheby’s.
Twentieth-century design was not to be overlooked. As always French design was well represented from art deco to mid-century, but a pair of chairs by Ico Parisi at Gate 5 Gallery were part of other standout designs. The chairs produced by Cassina were awarded the Campasso D’Oro for industrial design in 1955. Nilufar Gallery in Milan presented great examples of design from Gio Ponti and Martin Eisler. Modernity in Stockholm presented rare pieces from Danish designer Peder Moos including an organic shaped stool and armchair.
The addition of antiquities this year added a dimension to the show that stood out and presented the importance of integrating design and art whether ancient or contemporary together. Axel Vervoort mixed 20th-century design from Pierre Jeanneret and Vladimir Kagan with ancient artefacts. It represents the truly modern approach of collecting today. Ariadne galleries presentation of antiquities sat perfect among the 20th century and contemporary booths and it Anthropomorphic Stele 1st century head from South Arabia
was the single outstanding piece in the entire show. If it sat in a contemporary presentation you would have thought it was created yesterday.
While in a taxi heading downtown after the show the reality of the past couple days sank back in, stuck in traffic by Trump Tower then driving past protesters of the election. But shortly after that came upon the Christmas windows at Lord and Taylor on 5th Avenue and realised the holidays were coming upon us. If in New York this weekend I highly recommend stopping by the Armory to visit the Salon show and lose yourself in the important art and design on view. Then enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. It will help the healing process and put a smile on your face.
Words: Jerry Kaye Photo Gina Hanson