The Best Booths at a Tepid TEFAF New York

2 weeks ago 92

Can New York sustain as many art fairs as its calendar currently has? As New York Art Week dragged into its second week yesterday, I—and I’m sure I’m not alone—began to wonder. With Frieze and its satellites behind us, this week brings Independent and TEFAF New York, which both opened to VIPs Thursday.

With a 1 p.m. start-time, TEFAF, the US iteration of the Dutch fair in Maastricht, was bustling and crowded by the start of its second hour. Perhaps that might have more to do with the fact that aisles were so narrow that navigating them was an obstacle in itself, or the fact that TEFAF’s booth architecture feels so intrusive that you forget you’re standing in one of New York’s architectural gems, the Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory.

And that doesn’t even begin to get us to what is actually on view. While TEFAF prides itself on presenting objects from antiquity to today in all forms—visual arts, design and furniture, and jewelry—this edition appeared lackluster. Add to that the fact that the fair’s floral arrangements, a signature of TEFAF, were also rather drab, lacking in the abundance of tulips that marked the fair’s arrival in 2016, where the flowers defied gravity and the champagne and oysters were flowing. (There were oysters Thursday but they too lacked the panache of the days of yore.) But as the day drew to a close, I did receive a few self-reported sales reports from galleries, so there’s that.

Below, the best of what’s on view at the 2024 edition of TEFAF New York, which runs through Tuesday, May 14.

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