The purpose of my trip to Governors Island was to see NADA House 2021. I’ve been attending NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) shows at Art Basel in Miami for years and really believe in what they are doing. At a NADA show, I always find new artists to keep my eye on, and their venues are always cool.
“The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is a not-for-profit collective of professionals working with contemporary art. Its mission is to create an open flow of information, support, and collaboration within the arts field and to develop a stronger sense of community among its constituency. Through support and encouragement, NADA facilitates strong and meaningful relationships between its members working with new contemporary and emerging art.” (govisland.com)
NADA House is the New Art Dealers Alliance’s third off-site exhibition on Governors Island, featuring work by over 100 artists from 66 galleries, non-profits, artist-run spaces, and curators, across 57 rooms in five neighboring turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival houses at 403-405 Colonels Row.
Roberta Smith wrote a great review in the New York Times.
“Archive Fever is an immersive collage installation by Rachel Libeskind that continues the artist’s ongoing project “The Secret Life of Photographs,” an homage to Aby Warburg’s 1924–29 map of images, “Mnemosyne Atlas.” Libeskind has been accumulating and subsequently deconstructing the “usefulness” of photographs as artworks, journalistic tools and objects of intimacy. Sourced from both print and digital ephemera, the subjects are as sprawling as human life, from suburban architecture and family photos to astronomical bodies and horticulture. The resulting nonlinear mural has neither beginning nor end—the viewer may step in or step out at any point within the story.” (NADA House)
“Working in relation to his lenticular photographs and virtual reality installations, Willy Le Maitre uses immersive digital photography to present expanded and exploded views of the ever-forming world. In this new work “Twins”, Le Maitre applies continuous panoramic scenes to translucent material which enshroud a pair of standing pods. The printed image acts as a membrane to the form that effectively turns the panoramas inside out. The two ambiguous, pod-like figures anchor perspective points; relative to one another and to the beyond, they both encapsulate in their interior voids.” (NADA House)
“Adam Parker Smith’s “Sarcophagus” is presented in the form of a camper’s sleeping bag translucently colored to elicit an ethereal sunset. Standing in place of the coffins used in burial practices of antiquity and influenced by contemporary loss, Adam Parker Smith’s sleeping bag reverses a geocentric perspective on death. This futuristic capsule provides a roost for the dead to mourn the living, a site of hibernation where one can reflect on both the horrors and joys of reality here on earth. This sculpture is the debut of a larger series of “Sarcophagi” from the artist.” (NADA House)
“Magenta Plain presents a site-specific installation by Brooklyn-based artist Nikholis Planck. Planck’s Ovoids are mounted and strung across a hallway corridor around architectural details as “floating cosmic droplets”. The Ovoids are miniature paintings in the round executed in in Planck’s molten treatment of painting in his perfunctory fashion the “wooden-eggs” are gessoed, scrawled upon then dipped in hot wax. Finally, the artist renders oil paint in a gamut of checkered motifs, anatomical features, botanical studies, and ornamental designs. As with all of Planck’s paintings which investigate the medium’s permanence, relevance and potential ingenuity, the wax acts as a bugger to the permanent, seemingly on the verge of melting away, with the surface slipping off itself”. (Magenta Plains at NADA House)
“Ignacio Gatica presents Ledgers a group of collected watches. Once used as propaganda for US presidential campaigns, the watches will be hacked to tick at specific times that reference moments when US foreign intervention dramatically shifted the way we perceive the present.” (NADA House)
“An amphora, a funerary urn, plastic forks, and water bottles, formed from cast beach plastic in a fossilized jumble. Future archeologists misunderstand the function, they misplace the objects and the century. Who can possibly remember what went where, when it all gets buried together, impossible combinations of form and fancy.” (NADA House)
“DOCUMENT presents Andrew Norman Wilson’s photo-based works from the following bodies of works. “The Scanops,” 2012 are a collection of “anomalies” from Google Books the artist collected while being employed at Google: images in which software distortions, the imaging site, or the hands of the Google employees doing the scanning are visible. “The Kodak” works, 2019 are prints which illustrate the tools that show the technologies of Kodak, digitally rendered: a printing station from 1982, and Steven Sasson’s first prototype of the digital camera, the Promethean device which would demolish one image-making paradigm and erect another.” (DOCUMENT)
“Willie Jinks was a self-taught Black artist from Atlanta, GA, whose hobby shop was a small backyard shed that eventually expanded to encompass his entire home and yard. During a prolific life, Willie Jinks (1921-2012) created kinetic whirligigs, complex assemblages and paintings depicting memories of growing up in rural Georgia, animals, fantastical creatures and recreations of funny stories he’d heard from friends using only found materials and enamel paint from a local hardware store.” (NADA House)
“Michelle Rosenberg collects dirty and abandoned brooms and brushes discovered throughout the city. These materials embody the activity of cleaning, the untold stories of domestic labor, and mass produced disposable culture. Reconfiguring the found bristles in various optical compositions, the sculptures are transformed into renewed objects of desire.” (NADA House)
In room A of house 403, I saw Mike Goodlett’s work for the first time. I had not heard of him before, and am sure glad I had the chance to see it. Sadly, just about a month after I visited the show, Goodlett passed away. His art is fantastical and his paintings in particular are bold, bright and otherworldly. Perhaps my favorites in a show packed and packed with highlights. So sorry to learn of his passing.
“Mike Goodlett’s works act as vessels for desires, personas, and experiences, suggesting the explicit through their whimsy and form. Sculptures forged from plaster, concrete, enamel, and spray paint bloom from below, while delicately rendered drawings present sensuous and playful communions. The window adornments— created particularly for this space—fuse with the venue, binding Goodlett’s fantastical productions to the mysterious charms of their antique residence. For many years, Goodlett’s oeuvre has resided in an old Southern farmhouse, hidden in the woods of rural Kentucky. The parallels between the historic buildings of Governor’s Island and Goodlett’s studio are indeed uncanny. Though far from home, the artist’s works engage with this resonance, illustrating a portal between these two curious shrines.” (NADA House)
“The sculptures on view at NADA House are from a series Kunitani calls “Porn Site.” The pink neon lights form words that Kunitani culled from category headings on porn websites. These words are laid flat on glass shelves installed in the staircase, making the words viewable from any direction. When a viewer looks up at the neon, the words are readable. However, the letters start to deconstruct into pink neon clusters as they ascend the staircase, and become mere forms by the time the viewer reaches the second floor. Then, the lights present themselves as formal sculptures. These sculptures transform the ordinary staircase into a “conceptual porn site” only when the words activate the connection within the audience’s mind and imagination. Once the pink neon sculptures become abstract again, the staircase also returns to a normal staircase.” (NADA House)
The NADA House exhibition is on view every weekend, Friday through Sunday, 11am–5pm until August 1, 2021.