Joan Mirviss and Barbara Israel made clever use of the street-level windows in their stands, Israel using hers to display a cast iron figure of a kneeling boy with roosters in the manner of Paul Romain Chevre, a Belgian-born artist who completed several public monuments in Quebec. The garden antiques specialist sold a carved marble figure of Ceres, a cast iron retriever attributed to Wood & Perot of Philadelphia, plus furniture, urns, planters, finials and an armillary sphere.
Fresh from Asia Week and her March 16-April 22 gallery exhibit of work by contemporary ceramist Kondo Takahiro, whose remarkable porcelain pieces glisten with his signature “silver mist” glaze, Mirviss has been on a selling spree. Meanwhile, her Winter Show installation, “Kazari: Beyond Decoration,” explored the sophisticated patterning found in a range of Japanese art media. The New York dealer sold paintings, prints, porcelain and stoneware to a range of clients at the Winter Show.
Review and Photos by Laura Beach, Antiques and The Arts Weekly | April 29, 2022
NEW YORK CITY – The Winter Show. In Spring? And that was just the beginning.
As bad timing would have it, the post-Thanksgiving Omicron surge forced the belle of American antiques shows to find, in short order, new dates and a new venue, swapping late January in the Park Avenue Armory for April 1-10 at the former Barneys department store at 660 Madison Avenue at 61st Street. It is the kind of disruption we have come to think grudgingly of as “creative destruction,” with change, however uninvited, unleashing innovation.
In the case of the 68th Winter Show, owned by charity sponsor East Side House Settlement, innovation included a dramatic new floor plan and a refigured cast of roughly 60 exhibitors, many of whom juggled complicated demands on their schedules and inventory to be in New York. Citing conflicts, another nine exhibitors – most of them Americana dealers committed to the adjacent Philadelphia show – participated in the fair’s virtual component only. Programs were divided between January and April, some via video conference, others in person. A polished Winter Show website functioned better than ever, with vetted merchandise on display at Barneys also posted online. Dealers, demonstrating their increasingly sophisticated use of digital media and their expanding mailing lists, worked overtime to turn out clients.
Much credit goes to Winter Show executive director Helen Allen and her team for their swift action. As Allen explained of her hunt for a new venue, “We culled 20 possible places and were in close conversation with our dealers. Location was important. After we started talks with Barneys, I held a Zoom walk-through for exhibitors, who took a tremendous leap of faith to be here.”
Allen and her colleagues had only eight weeks to design and build the Winter Show. “I had a very distinct idea of what the site needed to accomplish and how it should look. It was important for the fair to be dynamic and engaging, but also easy to navigate.”
Building the show entailed ripping out counters and shelves left behind by Barneys, patching walls and floors, painting, enhancing electrical systems and adding wireless internet service. Allen remarked, “It was a Herculean task to get this building in shape, but the results have been well received. The consensus is that the space is welcoming and inviting with lots of light, the galleries look spectacular, and there is good traffic flow. We learned as we went and tweaked as necessary.”
Designed by Ralph Harvard, Levi Higgs, Andrew Oyen and Mark Ferguson of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, Corey Damen Jenkins, Young Huh and Keita Turner, street-facing display windows incorporating exhibitor-supplied art and antiques beckoned passing pedestrians in beguiling ways.
Spread over six floors, with one floor reserved for a spacious café and another for programs, the show featured booths of every size and shape. Visible from the fair’s entrance was the expansive stand of Bernard Goldberg, front and center with early Modern American art and design.