Shahzia Sikander, Promiscuous Intimacies, 2020, Patinated bronze, 106.7 x 61 x 45.7 cm (42 x 24 x 18 in.), Edition of 5 with 2 AP’s, signed and edition stamped – at Sean Kelly, New York
Usually at this time of the year Park Avenue Armory shines with the extraordinary treasures shown during TEFAF New York. This year, the fall season in New York is inevitably quite different, with no fairs at Armory and less events and exhibitions around. Back in March, TEFAF in Maastricht was one of the very last European fairs happening in person, but they were eventually forced to close early due to coronavirus cases spreading and negative comments by dealers blasting the fair for allowing the risk of infections. Now, even the prestigious and long-running European Fine Art Fair in New York has gone virtual, and their quality this time was secured by a top-notch vetting process.
Each of the 300 exhibitors had to choose only one item to present–an artwork, design object, or exquisite jewel–resulting in a quite agile and very elegant online display you’ll be able to enjoy until Wednesday, November 4. Here are 10 stand-out treasures and treats we would love to have–also to sweeten this bitter fall.
10. A Female Response to the Overt Male Representation of Historical Monuments
It may look to some as strange antiquity, but this sculpture of two intertwining female deities’ bodies are instead a contemporary powerful image of a syncretistic embrace between cultures, identities and religions. This highly iconic but provocatively eclectic artifact challenges any previous idea of politically or religiously charged monuments.
Agreeably, the gallery text describes: “This bronze sculpture, with its sinuous entanglement of a Greco-Roman Venus and an Indian Devata, demands that we understand ‘tradition,’ ‘culture,’ and ‘identity’ as impure, heterogenous, unstable, and always in process, disrupting taken-for-granted national, temporal, and art historical boundaries.” This work encapsulates the practice of the Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander (b.1969), materializing a concept she first sketched for a banner for the MoMA in 2000, and further developed with her NYC Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers. Her work aims to elaborate a woman’s response to the overt male representation of historical monuments through anti-monuments where confident, multicultural women are the new protagonists.
If you’re in New York, you’ll be able to see this sculpture included in Shahzia Sikander’s exhibition at Sean Kelly, Weeping Willows, Liquid Tongues, opening November 5th.