8 May 2016 Art Observed: AO On-Site – New York: 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, May 5th – 8th, 2016
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair opened its second edition at Pioneer Works in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook this weekend, presenting over 60 artists from 27 countries to cement its reputation as the premier platform for the representation of the multiplicity and diversity of contemporary African art. Referencing the fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent, 1:54 is a vital addition to the selection of fairs across the city during Frieze Week, presenting myriad perspectives on the contemporary art context through a ambitious, yet focused lens.
This year, 1:54 has emerged with an increased momentum and visibility. The issues of African and Diasporic history, globalization, and commercialization, has positioned the fair as both a unique voice through which a close inspection and appreciation of the art on view, and its broader social contexts, becomes necessary. This could be seen from the moment visitors entered the Pioneer Works space, confronted with Performa Project Space’s project by artist and curator David McKenzie who performs his text-based work This ship would set sail, even anchored as it was. Conducted at intervals throughout the fair, McKenzie uses screen printing techniques to explore its impact on his multi-disciplinary, physical performances.