A line of several hundred shivering, elaborately dressed art enthusiasts stretched down the block outside the Independent art fair Thursday night in SoHo, as the final phase of New York's Art Week (Feb. 28–March 6, 2016) opened with a bang and more than a few outraged collectors. “But I’m VIP!” wailed one woman in a geographically untraceable accent as she was turned away at the door.
That collector, along with scores of other art lovers, can take heart: There are so many fairs (at least eight) and so many thousands of works of art on view that it was almost impossible to see, let alone appreciate, everything on offer. Instead, pay attention to these. Be they from under-the-radar artists, prime examples of an emerging trend, on offer at a surprisingly reasonable price, or, in more than a few instances, just simply compelling, these 10 pieces are worth putting on your agenda—and on your walls.
Carolee Schneemann at P.P.O.W. Gallery, ADAA
Schneemann, a pioneer of feminist and conceptual art, has been firmly in the art-historical canon ever since her seminal performance pieces in the 1960s. For whatever reason, though, the price of her artworks has remained relatively low, and it’s still possible to buy artifacts from some of her most important works. This documentation of her 1964 performance Meat Joy is on sale for $60,000. P.P.O.W.
Joshua Abelow at James Fuentes Gallery, the Armory Show
Abelow’s been a low-key fixture on the art scene for some time but is now beginning to catch on. His striking, large-scale pencil drawings are reminiscent of Matisse (except as far as anyone knows, Matisse did not draw a series of images imagining himself as a woman) and were “selling briskly” on the first day of the fair, said James Fuentes, the owner of his eponymous gallery. This one, Self Portrait As a Woman, has a price tag of $2,500 and is still available. James Fuentes
Joanna Malinowska at Canada Gallery, the Independent
Did you love that Hudson Bay blanket you grew up with? Yes? Well, fun fact, it was originally meant to be traded to Native Americans for beaver pelt, a colonial history that Malinowska's booth alludes to, at least elliptically. Her work straddles anthropology and art history in a clever way, and happily, it’s nice to look at, too. Her diptych 4 Point Hudson Bay Blanket is on sale for $20,000. Canada Gallery
Alice Boughton at Howard Greenberg Gallery, ADAA
Alfred Stieglitz might be known as the father of American photography, but many of the photographers he championed remain far less famous. Boughton (1866–1943), who was exhibited in Stieglitz’s first Photo-Secession show, was known among her contemporaries for her gauzy portraits of the city’s cultural elite. She’s not exactly a household name, which means that even shallow-pocketed collectors can buy this platinum print, Nude on a Dune from 1906, which is on sale for $6,000. Howard Greenberg Gallery
Jesús Rafael Soto at Cortesi Gallery, the Armory Show
Famous in Venezuela (where a museum is dedicated to his work), well-known in Europe (he lived in France), and virtually anonymous in the U.S. (you can’t have everything), Soto (1923-2005) was an immensely important kinetic sculptor. His Untitled (double vibration in yellow) from 1966 features delicate metal spines suspended on nylon strings, which react gently to the faintest nearby movement. The work is on offer for $165,000. Cortesi Gallery
Unknown Artist, Delmes & Zander Gallery, the Independent
Outsider Art, which generally refers to artworks by people who didn’t (usually) intend for their artworks to be sold, popped up in multiple booths at multiple fairs this week. Several booths included works by the famous outsider artist Bill Traylor, but some hidden gems were also for sale, including this hand-painted collage from the 1870s, Obsession, which is double-sided and sells in the range of 14,000 to 18,000 euros ($15,400 to $19,800). Delmes & Zander Gallery
Eugene von Bruenchenhein, Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, the Independent
Another outsider artist is the self-taught Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983), who lived in Milwaukee and remained in total obscurity until after his death, when his art was “discovered” by a friend of the family who arranged for the Kohler Arts Center to acquire a huge body of his work. Many pieces are still on the market, but every one of his works at the Independent fair were bought (range: $2,000-$8,000) at the preview. Fleisher Ollman Gallery
Christine Rebet, Bureau Gallery, the Independent
The backlash against splashy abstract paintings by young overpriced artists seemed to result in a preponderance of smaller, more intimate works on paper across the fair. The Paris/New York-based Rebet works as an animator, and her lively ink-on-paper drawings are some of the better examples of this return to a small scale. Her Reverse Party, drawn from a still from a film she animated herself, is on sale for an entirely reasonable $3,000. Bureau Gallery
Allan McCollum, Galerie Thomas Schulte, the Armory Show
Conceptual artist Allan McCollum isn’t exactly a hidden gem—he’s been known for his work with shapes, materials, and experimentation since the 1970s. Even so, his recent work, unique shape spinoffs made from ash, are particularly compelling and are doubly notable for their (relative) affordability. Thomas Schulte brought eight of these shelves to the Armory and sold six in his first day. Two shelves remain, each on sale for $25,000. Galerie Thomas Schulte
Evan Holloway at David Kordansky Gallery, the Independent
Holloway, a Los Angeles-based sculptor who came on the scene nearly 15 years ago, is at his best with his delicate, colorful floor works. Several of these occupied David Kordansky’s booth at the Independent, and all of them sold almost immediately in the range of $20,000 to $55,000, including the above Everyone, a plaster, paint, and graphite sculpture. David Kordansky Gallery