Steffen Dam’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Steffen Dam

Danish artist, Steffen Dam’s grandfather, born in 1893, was a passionate amateur in the field of natural history.  As a child, Dam enjoyed pouring over his grandfather’s library of scientific books full of illustrations of specimens.

Today Dam, a highly skilled glass blower, uses his affinity for natural history to create his imaginatively wonderful backlit “Cabinets of Curiosities”.

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Mimicked oceanic specimens in glass cylinders seemingly containing liquid and air bubbles become optical illusions; the translucent character of the glass object in the cylinder imitates sea life. His specimens aren’t actually objects found in nature, rather a quirky re-writing of the biological world.

“I have been working with glass for 25 years. Initially I was blowing glass, but over the years casting, grinding and techniques from other crafts emerged. My aim is to describe the world as I see it. One could also say to describe what’s not tangible and understandable with our everyday senses. My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed.”

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*photos taken by HAHA MAG

MEET US IN NYC FOR FRIEZE WEEK!

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Months that begin with ‘M’ mean art overload here at HAHA. We barely recovered from Armory Week and yet here we go again. By no means is that a complaint—trust me—I am typing this with glee. The feeling of being thrown into the hustle and bustle of a week filled with activities centered solely around art is tantamount to the endorphin rush I get on my diet cheat day. While I gather together my art fair survival kit and book my ticket to New York; why don’t you peruse the fair offerings Frieze week has to offer. Our social media blasts from the fairs starts today. Make sure you’re following us on

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram this week for pics from the fairs.

 

FRIEZE Art Fair

When: May 14–17 / Thursday–Saturday: 11am–7pm; Sunday: 11am–6pm ($44)
Where: Randall’s Island Park (Randall’s Island)

Frieze is one of the world’s biggest contemporary art fairs. Art lovers/art curious make the pilgrimage across the East River to Randall Island Park to scope out which way the contemporary art trends are swaying. Over 190 galleries are participating at Frieze New York 2015—this year the focus is on local galleries. This is a mammoth of a fair — do yourself a favor and download their handy floor plan.

Not to be missed: Talks between Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden and Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman (May 15, 4pm), as they attempt to answer the question: “Whom do museums serve?”

SELECT Art Fair

When: May 14–17 / Thursday, Friday: 2–10pm; Saturday: 12–10pm; Sunday: 12–6pm ($20)
Where: Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

SELECT Art Fair is the avant-garde friend of FRIEZE. The fair provides a contemporary platform for galleries to market emerging to mid-career artists. This year SELECT is fueled by more interactive art programming including an exciting roster of installations, musical talent, performances, book signings and lectures. I’m looking forward to the rooftop performance piece, You Are Here, where a multi-sensory installation and living sculpture will be activated by performers, musicians, dancers, and visitors.

Art Miami New York

When: May 14–17 / Thursday: 5–9pm; Friday, Saturday: 12–8pm; Sunday: 12–6pm ($25)
Where: Pier 94 (55th Street and West Side Highway, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)

… As the name suggests, there are two incarnations of Art Miami New York.  Their Frieze Week debut will showcase a number of events, art talks, tours and nearly 1200 emerging and established artists from over 50 countries and 100 leading international art galleries. Art Miami produces other art fairs, such as CONTEXT, Aqua, Art Wynwood, CONTEXT New York, Art Southampton and Art Silicon Valley / San Francisco. No matter what the location (Miami is my fave),  Art Miami New York is one of the most important art events in the city.

NADA Art Fair

When: May 14–17 / Thursday: 6–8pm; Friday, Saturday: 11am–7pm; Sunday: 11–5pm (free)
Where: Pier 36 (299 South Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

NADA is the second largest fair during the week.  The 2015 lineup will include 100 galleries, including 27 first-time exhibitors. Apart from the regular program, NADA in New York 2015 will also have a series of performances, conversations and events.  Different events will be held each day of the fair. I’m looking forward to: Thursday’s program entitled NADA x PAOM NADA x PAOM, with an artist-designed, limited edition line of clothing and objects featuring artwork by three contemporary artists, each represented by NADA galleries. Sunday, Aeromoto and Wendy’s Subway will present A+WS, a collaboratively curated library and reading room designed by Tyler Polich and Hannah Wilentz , with a focus on art books, periodicals and exhibition catalogues by Latin American publishers.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

When: May 15–17 / Friday, Saturday: 12–8pm; Sunday: 12–6pm ($10)
Where: Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn)

… London’s 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is making its debut during Frieze Week. 1:54 is a reference to fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent, the title of 1:54 establishes the parameters of the fair’s ethos: as a platform that strives to represent multiplicity and showcase the diversity of contemporary African art and cultural production on an international stage. 1:54 NY’s participating galleries, which come from Abidjan, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, London, Marrakech, Milan and Paris, will feature works from 70+ African artists, including Gabonese painter Boris Nzebo, British-Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, legendary Malian portrait photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keita, Senegalese fashion and fine arts photographer Omar Victor Diop, Kenyan visual artist Jim Chuchu, Beninese mixed-media artist Romuald Hazoumè, iconic Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, Mozambican sculptor Gonçalo Mabunda, Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro, and Tunisian artist and researcher Nidhal Chamekh, among others.

Not to be missed: artists talk with Hank Willis Thomas and Lyle Ashton Harris on the importance of the term “diaspora” to their practices (May 15, 4:15pm).