Prints, drawings, photographs, and other works of art on paper are considered among the most approachable, affordable forms of fine art, but paper can also deliver surprises.
Take Samuelle Green’s sculptural art created out of paperback books destined for the recycling bin. At the Art on Paper New York fair in 2019, Green exhibited Manifestation 4, which ArtNews at the time described as evoking a coral reef.
For Art on Paper’s return to the fair schedule on Sept. 9—in sync with the Armory Show—Green will create an undulating construction of paperback book pages that conjures up a river that, as it flows, sweeps up furniture along with it, says Kelly
the fair director.
“It’s a work of paper, but it’s not defined by paper,” Freeman says.
As with the Armory Show, Art on Paper, a modern and contemporary paper-based art show now in its seventh year, has moved from its usual March timeframe to September, although it will still be held at the East River’s Pier 36 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The fair is put on by AMP, which runs other regional fairs, including Art Market San Francisco and Market Art and Design, which was held earlier this month in Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Art on Paper is scaled back a bit this year—to 75 galleries from about 100—to allow more space for visitors to view the art and to create bigger areas for food and beverage, and for talks, Freeman says.
This slightly more intimate event also includes fewer international galleries, because of Covid 19-related travel restrictions, but that allowed Freeman to reach out to more domestic dealers, including
Beatriz Esguerra Art,
which has locations in Bogota, Columbia, and Miami, and
Fine Art in New York.
As has been true “this whole year, you have to take the good with the bad,” she says.
Art on Paper was happy to move its event along with the Armory Show to the fall for the opportunity to hold a 2021 fair, Freeman says. The Independent art fair also will run from Sept. 9-12 this year in its new location at the Battery Maritime Center at Manhattan’s southern tip.
AMP views the focus on paper for its annual New York City fair as “a curatorial starting off point” for participating galleries, allowing them to show a cross-section of work. A gallery, for instance, could choose to display a study of sculpture that’s done on paper alongside the sculpture itself.
“Every gallery has artists who work exclusively on paper, but they also have artists who maybe [use paper as] a certain part of their oeuvre that they don’t often get to show,” Freeman says. “It creates these very unique little moments booth to booth. They feel more like exhibitions than art fair booths.”
The result is an accessibility that makes it easy for first-time fair goers or novice collectors wary of galleries to walk into a gallery space to maybe just ask, “what does this have to do with paper,” she says. “It’s nice to have something to break the ice.”
Prices of paper-based art also tend to be more accessible to collectors than other forms of fine art, with many pieces available for less than US$10,000. What’s available will vary dealer to dealer, and some “I could only dream to afford,” Freeman says. But the range allows visitors to “do a treasure hunt and find something that works for them,” she says.
One of the featured exhibitions this year will be a recreation of street artist
’ ESPO’s Art World, a storefront gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., into an immersive space—a print-making studio within the fair walls. Powers will be selling “very limited” edition prints each day and visitors will be able to get a screen print for free on any flat surface they can bring into the booth, from a paper bag to a t-shirt.
“It’ll be a fun way for people to celebrate the art of printmaking, learn a little bit more about it, and have access to this truly world-class artist who will be hanging out in the fair and making beautiful things for us,” Freeman says. “And it feels so New York.”
Another installation at the fair will feature Rebecca
large-scale, colorful installations. According to Duane Reed Gallery, which is showing her work, Hutchinson uses harvested plant materials and “domestic castoffs” including used clothes and table linens to make paper that she shapes.
The fair this year also will feature several female dealers, including two long-time participants—the Ellen Miller Gallery in Boston and Tamarind Institute from Albuquerque, New Mexico—who are collaborating on a single booth this year.
director of Tamarind, have become friends through the fair, and have a similar approach to how they work with artists and the stories they tell with their exhibitions, Freeman says.
The collaboration first came about because Gaston initially wasn’t sure she could travel to New York (although she now can), but the result—another example of “the good that comes with the bad of Covid”—gives them an opportunity to create “new conversations among the artists they work with,” Freeman says.
Art on Paper will open to VIPs at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, at Pier 36, 299 South St., New York, N.Y., and for an opening preview from 6-9 p.m. Fair hours continue Sept. 10-12.