Ceramics take centre stage at Spring Break’s ‘secret’ New York pop-up

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The Spring Break Art Show, a curator-led fair that specialises in outlandish, do-it-yourself aesthetics, has returned to its original venue—a former Catholic school in Little Italy—for a pop-up iteration, Secret Show (until 20 May), during New York’s Frieze Week. It features works by 100 artists who have been involved with the fair since it launched in 2009. Spanning four rooms over two floors, the show hits familiar notes for the fair’s brand, from wobbly figuration and untameable colour to off-kilter representations of everyday life. Small-scale ceramics are especially prevalent in the not-so-secret exhibition, infusing the busy installations with fresh injections of camp.

Megan Bogonovich, Untitled Piece 4, 2023 Courtesy the artist

Two large tables boast a veritable garden of charmingly weird botanical vessels by Vermont-based artist Megan Bogonovich. Each piece, priced at or below $1,800, straddles the line between flora and fauna, seemingly ready to squirm or seethe at any moment. Takashi Horisaki’s motorised ceramic bonsai trees spin in the window just a few feet away, glinting away in a plethora of glazed pastels. Cheekily titled the #InstaBonsai series, Horisaki’s sculptures range in price from $700 to $9,550.

Perched on another windowsill is a planter in the shape of a miniature trash bag by Brazilian-American artist and educator Marianna Peragallo. It is stationed across from a suite of irreverent clay sculptures depicting debaucherous hot-tub mavens and art-themed laptop computers by New York-based Russian artist Dasha Bazanova. A satirical food pyramid by multidisciplinary artist Johannah Herr, displayed on a seafoam-green plinth, prods viewers to consider the scourge of industrial agriculture. The object lives alongside faux-propagandist collages and instructional didactics that are part of Herr’s larger I Have Seen The Future project, which reimagines New York’s 1964 World’s Fair with the hindsight of 2023.

Marianna Pergallo, 4-Gallon Hefty, 2022 Courtesy the artist

Cigarettes are everywhere at Spring Break’s pop-up, a nod to the analogue days of creative counterculture that feel so distant in the age of the vape. Mary Gagler’s slumping ceramic butts, Thomas Martinez-Pilnik’s yarn and monkscloth Ciggys, all for sale for under $1,500, update Claes Oldenburg’s 1960s foam sculptures for the Millennial set. New York-based artist Taylor Lee Nicholson has contributed a winningly chunky installation of cigarette butts, beaten-up “dad hats” and de-skilled floral tableaux. The individual cigarette butts she made from a combination of papier-mâché and ceramic are available at the fair’s front desk for $35 a pop.

  • Spring Break’s Secret Show, until 20 May, the Old School, 233 Mott Street, New York

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