TEFAF Sculpts The Future Of Contemporary Design

New Yorkers are moving on from Frieze to TEFAF.

Determined to shirk its reputation for staunch traditionalism, the fair will return to Manhattan's historic Park Avenue Armory with a repertoire of recent and new contemporary works, signalling a departure from the pre-20th-century objects that have ruled fair thus far.

Women ceramicists are set to make a splash with Offer Waterman showcasing earthbound stoneware bowls and vases by the Scottish-born, London-based artist Jennifer Lee, the Canadian-born, France-based ceramicist Kristin McKirdy displaying five circus-oriented sculptures for Friedman Benda’s stand, and Nicole Cherubini presenting her statuesque over two metres high urn-like pillar of terracotta and earthenware Pinkterra 2.

Pinkterra 2 by Nicole Cherubini, 2023. Friedman Benda

Elsewhere in the Armory, there are prominent hero-pieces like Tower Hills, one of the last works by the late American artist, fashion designer and architect Virgil Abloh (1980-2021). presented by Paris-based Galerie Kreo, the bronze sculptural work captures Abloh's signature style of combining traditional materials with ordinary objects. The sculpture is a paragon of the innovation and anti-orthodoxy Abloh brought to his boundary-pushing fashion brand Off-White and Louis Vuitton, as the artistic director of its menswear line.

Meanwhile, the Galleria D’Arte Maggiore will bring another crowd pleaser in the form of a photographed Kate Moss wearing a 1974 fibreglass torso. Named Body Armour, it was captured in 2013 by the British artist Allen Jones. The iconic Jones became renowned for his Pop art paintings, sculptures, and explorations of gender; counting Rick Owens and Stanley Kubrick among his many admirers.

The limited edition print “tells of an era of glamour and icons but also of women as objects that exist only in the eyes and minds of those who wish them to be so”, Alessia Calarota, the gallery’s director, told The Art Newspaper. Alongside Jones’ piece, the gallery's stand will showcase works by other legendary artists, including Paul Delvaux, Giacomo Manzù, Giorgio Morandi, Giorgio de Chirico and Pier Palo Calzolari.


Tower Hills by Virgil Abloh, 2021. Galerie Kreo

Like LCW, TEFAF is also marking its advent with a series of talks, including a foray into defining modern 'connoisseurship', the whimsical organic craftsmanship of Wendell Castle (the father of the American Studio Furniture Movement), and the political paintings of American artist Jenny Holzer. As both art capitals celebrate a new era of arts and craft, architecture, furniture, and painting, the next few weeks promise a carousel of inspiration, and a window into the future of contemporary design.