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The upstart event, whose organisers include the son of Chinese artist Zhang Huan, focuses on Gen Z artists from the Asian diaspora.

In Deluge of NYC Fairs, Stilllife Courts Crazy Young Asians

Attendees at Stilllife Art & Design Fair 2022. Courtesy Stilllife. Photo: Ashley Jiang.

The Stilllife Art & Design Fair is back for its second edition, taking place at 216 Lafayette Street in Soho, New York, from 27 to 29 May.

A flurry of art fairs takes place in New York this month—ranging from the elite Frieze New York to scrappier events like the Other Art Fair—but Stilllife is looking to carve out its own space.

Stilllife was established in 2022 by recent arts graduates Azure Qi Zhou, Jeffrey Ziyu Liu, Katerina Chenyu Wang, and Shu Gao. They're cultivating a community of young artists and collectors—they say 61% of their 15,000 followers are Gen Z—who are interested in emerging international artists, particularly those from the Asian diaspora.

Yissho Oh posing in front of Untitled (2022). Acrylic, tattoo ink, oil stick on silicone on framed wood panel. 33 x 33 x 11⁄4 inches.

Yissho Oh posing in front of Untitled (2022). Acrylic, tattoo ink, oil stick on silicone on framed wood panel. 33 x 33 x 11⁄4 inches. Courtesy Stilllife. Photo: Yuhan Cheng.

The fair features a curated selection of works by seven young artists alongside design and craft objects. Although small in scale, it aims to pave the way for a new generation of collectors by removing barriers to entry. The event is free for all to attend.

The artists chosen for this edition of the fair provide a fresh and playful view of their ever-segregating and ultra-algorithmic world, exploring themes of intimacy, sexuality, and self-expression.

Stand-outs include Nianxin Li, whose large-scale canvases reflect her childhood experiences through eerie yet whimsical motifs and unconventional colours, offering a personal exploration of family gender roles and societal norms.

Nianxin Li posing in front of her work Frog doesn't notice blue (2022). Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 48 inches.

Nianxin Li posing in front of her work Frog doesn't notice blue (2022). Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 48 inches. Courtesy Stilllife. Photo: Yuhan Cheng.

Yissho Oh's tactile canvases, created with silicone and burlap, resemble skin and feature dreamy images inspired by his memories and emotions.

Huidi Xiang, a current AIM fellow, incorporates mischief into her sculptural practice to challenge the blurred boundaries between play and labour in late capitalism.

Sean Zhang, son of artist Zhang Huan and head of business development for Stilllife, said they work hard to contextualise young artists' work through their curation, and to promote them by organising events in the run-up to the exhibition.

Huidi Xiang, Playbour Objects_model kit card_elephant slide (2022). CNC and hand-routed MDF, 3D printed PLA, foam, cement, caster wheels. 24 x 60 x 8 inches.

Huidi Xiang, Playbour Objects_model kit card_elephant slide (2022). CNC and hand-routed MDF, 3D printed PLA, foam, cement, caster wheels. 24 x 60 x 8 inches. Courtesy the artist.

'All these events and arrangements not only help us get exposure during the exhibition period but keeps the conversations between the artists and the audience going in the long run,' said Huidi Xiang.

While it was started by members of the Asian diaspora in New York, and presents works primarily by Asian artists, Stilllife aims to broaden its scope over time.

'As our fair grows to become international and connects to different communities, we hope Stilllife can be a space that tells a diverse range of stories,' said Azure Qi Zhou.

Tickets to Stilllife can be reserved here. —[O]

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