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Off the Wall

Bizarre sculpture abounds at NADA's first NYC art fair

by Perrin Drumm in Culture on 10 May 2012

In our second look at NADA's first annual art fair in New York City, we take a step back from the white gallery wall and focus on some of the more colorful, sculptural showings. Materials like hair, blood, crystals, broccoli and fake fur had us and everyone else gawking. Here, a selection of three-dimensional standouts.

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Among the 60 galleries occupying the four floors of NADA NYC, Galerie Hussenot easily lured buyers into their booth with Ciprian Muresan's sculpture of a Barbie-type doll splaying her legs out over the Empire State Building. On the opposite wall was Muresan's suspended sculpture comprised of a skull, a cane and a cuckoo clock sprouting a foam-wrapped spring and dangling numbers. The piece is open to various interpretations, but it's certainly a new direction for the artist whose previous work includes pencil sketches and carefully executed installations with clear references to religion, politics and other power structures.

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Ten Haaf Projects had some similarly confounding work on display by Andrew Gilbert, who delighted onlookers with his frightening yet funny soldier sculpture made from traditional craft items like hand-carved masks, as well as everyday objects, including a broom which acted as a stand-in for a flag pole or, possibly, a bayonet. Beside this piece was a smaller sculpture made from a head of broccoli and two potatoes with painted-on eyes. We visited Gilbert's personal website for more information, and found only a drawing of "The Temple of the Algerian Parsnip".

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Ron Athey's "Foot Washing Set w/ Blonde Hair Towel" at Invisible Exports was constructed with some surprising items. In addition to a wig and some wool, Athey used crystals and, apparently, blood—so that's not red paint covering the spiky-looking brush.

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Diane Simpson went unconventional in her use of materials for "Muff", shown at Corbett vs. Dempsey. Working with faux fur and fleece, Simpson said it was inspired by "the formality and elegance of traditional Japan with the influence of Western funkiness". The kimono-like sleeves hang from a polished wood handle and the structure, depending on what angle you view it from, looks completely flat or situated at a permanent 45-degree angle. Simpson also played with angles with "Cape", a hanging sculpture similarly inspired by women's clothing, this time from the structured forms used in hoop skirts.

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David Adamo's wooden installation at Ibid Projects was transported from a cathedral where it was previously on display. For the last few years Adamo has focused on everyday wooden tools like axes, bows, arrows and baseball bats, which he whittles into oblivion. He saves the wooden shavings as a testament to the object's former life and to the art-making process itself. Now that Adamo seems to have mastered smaller items he's moved onto very large wooden beams.

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Michael DeLucia also shreds his sculptures, but instead of using wood alone he attaches found posters to OSB (oriented strand board) panels and scrapes them to smithereens, revealing intricate linear patterns and a new texture. The side view of the raw, ripped-up paper had collectors marveling.

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