FIAC 2018 Highlights

After combing through hundreds of previews for FIAC, I wanted to share an exclusive look at some of my favorite pieces by both emerging and established artists. The fair will be open to the public starting October 18. Enjoy!

Xu Zhen
Under Heaven, 2018

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Oil on canvas, aluminum | 31 1/2 × 23 5/8 × 5 1/8 inches

Xu Zhen’s provocative aesthetics relies on both conceptual and pop strategies. Ironically mirroring post-Mao China’s journey into consumerism, he has since transformed himself into a brand with the creation in 2009 of his art corporation MadeIn Company. His Under Heaven series uses cream piping bags filled with oil colors, evoking the luscious icing on a birthday cake. Fragrant and fragile, joyful and decadent, this subconscious blur of decipherable imagery and extraneous elements alludes to economic growth as a sumptuous, moveable feast – a metaphor for the globalized hedonism in China.


Jenny Holzer 
Selection from Survival: Savor Kindness…, 2015

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Sodalite Blue bench | 17 × 42 × 20 inches

Inscription: "SAVOR KINDNESS BECAUSE CRUELTY ALWAYS IS POSSIBLE LATER"

Holzer's benches allow the viewer to see our destructive patterns in our own lives and feel them within ourselves. Her bench series uses her own text to produce a complex viewing experience fraught with emotional tension and modernist ambiguities and involving the viewer in the production of meaning. That respect for the viewer and for the complexity of a viewer's experience over time differentiates her work from the facile products of more recent all-text artists.


Tauba Auerbach

Trans Split-Slice II, 2013

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Woven canvas on wooden stretcher | 60 x 45 x 1 3/4 inches

Auerbach’s Weave series, an ongoing body of work consisting of woven canvas monochromes, is the product of the artist’s interest in topology: the mathematical study of shapes and spaces. The viewer is presented with an orderly visual field that is repeatedly and frustratingly disrupted by oscillating areas of recession and projection, shadow and light, negative and positive space.


Christian Marclay
Vertebrate, 2000

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Altered acoustic guitar | 11 x 26 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches

During the past few decades Marclay has established himself as one of the primary links between the worlds of contemporary art and music. Taking his cue from both music and noise, he has produced a remarkable body of work exploring the space between what we hear and what we see. Known for his sculptures, including altered, unplayable, and distorted musical instruments, Marclay has “always used found objects, images, and sounds and collaged them together [...] to create something new and different with what was available.”


Robert Longo
Study of Ripped Flag Flying, 2018

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Ink and charcoal on vellum | 19 x 15 1/2 inches

Robert Longo considers world events through the lens of American media with large-scale charcoal drawings. The painstakingly rendered works are visualizations of power, protest, desperation, futility, and aggression that together create a searing portrait of our time.


Roni Horn
Key and Cue, No. 1584, 1994/2007

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Solid aluminum and cast black plastic | 50.5 x 2 x 2 inches

Since the late 1980s, Horn has made a series of sculptures in which lines from Emily Dickinson’s poems and letters appear. These sculptures are made of solid plastic letters embedded in aluminium bars. They are propped against the wall so that the letters are legible from the front and back, but from the sides appear as a series of black or white lines.

Horn is drawn to the ‘heightened sensibility’ manifested in Dickinson’s poetry. The poet’s sensitivity to visible and invisible events and things resonates with the artist’s similarly sharp attention to the world around her. 


Ivan Navarro
Murmur, 2018

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Sculpture, neon, aluminum, mirror, one-way mirror and electric energy | 33 x 33 inches

Recognized for his suggestive use of fluorescent lights, Iván Navarro makes works rich in both art-historical and social references. Though his use of light bulbs invites comparison to Minimalism, particularly the art of Dan Flavin, Navarro’s work is conceptually quite different. The idea behind his light constructions came in 2003, when Navarro saw a star-shaped mirrored lamp in Chinatown that created the effect of an endless recession into the wall, leading Navarro to devise the standard format for his illusions—using a one-way mirror against a normal mirror, with a light placed between the two.


Tony Matelli
Weed 435, 2018

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Painted bronze | 21 1/2 x 10 x 8 inches

Weed 438, 2018

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Painted bronze | 12.5 x 18.5 x 10 inches

Occupying marginal areas such as wall corners, fissures in the floor, and gaps around the edges, Tony Matelli's Weeds are hyper-realistically rendered in painted bronze. Often seen as symbols of disregard or surrender, the weeds here are a celebration of the mundane and vulgar over the rare and precious. Permanently rebellious, the plants are nagging reminders of our fallibility and vanity, performing as unlikely heroic symbols.


Liliana Porter
Breaking News, 2018

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Wall installation with metal and painted figurine | 4 x 5 x 1 inches

The Task, 2018

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Figurine, holes, and painted wooden shelf  | 2 1/3 x 10 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches

One of the most cited Argentinean artists in contemporary culture, Porter has long questioned the boundary between reality and its representation. She is a master at distilling life and art to simple profundities through humorous juxtapositions of incongruous objects. According to the artist, "These “theatrical vignettes” are constructed as visual comments that speak of the human condition. I am interested in the simultaneity of humor and distress, banality and the possibility of meaning.”


Matthew Angelo Harrison
Dark Silhouettes: Adaption Between Fixed Points #2, 2018

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African wood and bone with acrylic resin, Plexiglas and industrial modeling clay
Sculpture: 24 1/2 x 10 x 6 1/2 inches | Overall: 50 1/2 x 10 3/4 x 7 1/2 inches


Matthew Angelo Harrison's work combines found objects made from organic materials such indigenous African wood and bone with synthetic ingredients like acrylic resin, Plexiglas and industrial modeling clay, which he then molds, cuts, prints, and sculpts with state-of-the-art machinery. 

For his “Dark Silhouettes” series, Harrison suspends or “encapsulates” dissections of vintage African sculptures in subtly tinted resin blocks. Harrison then slices through or burrows holes into some of the blocks and stacks others, producing unique forms that evoke diverse places and times. Before he has done much research into its meaning or origin, the artist entombs the ready-made and alters it in ways that respond freely to its color, shape and texture. He relies on unconscious associations and “finds an aesthetic match with something mechanical” 


Daniel Knorr
Depression Elevations (TV Skylight Channel Blue), 2018

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Pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant | 23.62 x 23.62 x 5.12 inches

“Depression Elevations,” is a series of sculptures from resin casts of holes in Los Angeles city streets. To the artist, topography relates to a the social fabric as a landscape. "Our act of driving shapes the road into that landscape. I focused on these found objects because they are witnesses of our time and left behind as objects with no value."


Mona Hatoum
Hot Spot (stand), 2018

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Stainless steel, neon tube and rubber | 67 11/16 × 32 11/16 × 31 1/2 inches

In the words of the artist: "Hot Spot has a very beautiful, delicate aspect to it because the neon is very fragile but at the same time it feels dangerous […] I made the first Hot Spot in 2006, when it felt to me like the whole world was up in arms and that conflict was no longer isolated to certain borders in the Middle East. It was affecting the whole world."


Theaster Gates
Whether Weather Withers, 2018

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Bronze | 60 × 39 inches

"I want to seduce you with an object and I don’t even want you to know of my social agenda. The object will be like a key."

Theaster Gates makes work focused on racism and poverty in America, and works to make change in downtrodden communities across the country. His practice is grounded in African-American history and culture, and in his own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Slavery, industrial exploitation, and the Civil Rights Movement feature prominently in his sculptures, installations, and performances, into which he incorporates such materials as shoe shine stations and fire hoses.


Sanford Biggers
Harlem Blue, 2013

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Antique quilt, additional textile, fabric treated acrylic, spray paint | 88 × 88 inches

Sparked by one of his collectors donating her own quilts, Biggers has been working magic on found textiles, repurposing, patchworking, and turning them into geometric feasts that are as provocative as they are beautiful. His use of found textiles and sculptures comment on American cultural and political narratives in order to combat what Biggers refers to as "historical amnesia," encouraging dialogue and reviving collective memory.