New York’s newest art fair, Future Fair, intends to serve as a change agent — toward “an art market where people are collaborating and co-curating,” said Rachel Mijares Fick, who co-founded it with Rebeca Laliberte.
The fair, which holds its first in-person edition at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea, is compact, with 34 galleries — and just 16 large booths, as presenters have been paired (in two instances, tripled) and encouraged to combine forces, on logistics or on a joint artistic offering. “You could be on an awkward date,” said Benjamin Tischer, of New Discretions, quickly adding that his booth-sharing, with the Istanbul gallery The Pill, was going just fine.
The Pill has the fair’s standout: the fast-rising French painter Apolonia Sokol’s lucid, generous seminude portraits of women, cis and trans, of various races; all of them are people she knows. Her art wears its plural feminism with ease. Tischer is showing ceramic vases scrawled with splendidly neurotic verbiage by the New York artist Cary Leibowitz, plus paintings of glassware and distorted faces — a little spooky, a little kitschy — by Jacopo Pagin, an Italian artist with whom Tischer bonded over Instagram.
Other highlights include Richard Beavers Gallery, from Bed-Stuy, continuing its rise with a magisterial presentation (with Ilèkùn Wa) of paintings by Marcus Jansen that address financial predation in the South Bronx. Elijah Wheat Showroom, in Newburgh, N.Y., has strangely winning dry-erase board works (and a neon sculpture that emerges from a toaster) by Clive Murphy. Works in Tammy Nguyen’s exquisite “Seasons of Revolution” paintings, in which Southeast Asia’s vegetation overwhelms techno-statist development schemes, stand out at Hesse Flatow.