1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Is Full of Good Art and Tough Questions

Artnet News | Ben Davis:


1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is one of the highlights of this frantic New York fair week. It’s pleasant and manageable, featuring just a smart handful of 16 international galleries showcasing works of art that can somehow fit into the category of “African art.” It nestles comfortably into Pioneer Works, the airy kunsthalle that is the symbol of the Williamsburg-ization of Red Hook. 

1:54 director Touria El Glaoui with an installation by Conrad Botes at Bennett Contemporary
Photo: Ben Davis

That doesn’t mean that 1:54 can escape the dilemmas of such a catch-all project, which smacks of the infamous line, (falsely) attributed to Sarah Palin: “Africa is a country.”

But don’t let that turn you away. There are now “Asian” art fairs, and “Latin-American” art fairs, and “Middle-Eastern” art fairs, each of these a messy proposition in its own way, but each, through its untenable generalization, forcing open the space for some interesting voices. That Africa has joined the fray means something significant, even if it doesn’t escape all the obvious difficulties…


Read full article via source: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/154-contemporary-african-art-fair-299080