Salon Art+Design Brings Home and Art Closer Together

By Martha Schwendener
Nov. 10, 2022
Salon Art + Design is more international this year, gaining back exhibitors from abroad who were reluctant or unable to travel during the pandemic. But home is still the focus of this annual fair at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan: not just art and design objects displayed in isolation, but imagining how they live together, how they inhabit a room and how you — or a daydreaming you — could cozy up with your furniture, tapestries, jewelry and curios.

The objects on view here span millenniums — from around 5,000 B.C.E. to the present — as well as vast cultures and continents. Fifty-two exhibitors and 11 special installations (mostly in the hallway outside the cavernous drill hall) skew more heavily toward design than earlier years, but the fair makes you question the boundaries of art-versus-design. Why not wear your art? Why not sit on it? Here are some highlights of the fair, which previews Thursday, and runs Friday to Monday.

I am reluctant to highlight ancient and so-called ethnographic artifacts, given the battles that rage around the ownership and the repatriation of objects to their countries of origin. The art dealers in this fair are obviously keyed into these debates and happily (obligingly?) discussed these issue with me. At Phoenix Ancient Art (Booth B9), Hicham Aboutaam, whose father founded the gallery in 1968, has set up a dazzling display of busts that highlight a range of faces from around the world, including Greek, Etruscan, South Arabian (Yemeni), Cypriot and African sculptural heads. It also creates the argument that diversity was just as much a hot topic in the ancient world as it is today. Phoenix is also showing a small, luminous marble Cycladic fertility figure from around 2,500 B.C.E., with her arms crossed over her pregnant belly.