Art Fair Week Highlights

Despite having been determined and compulsively excited to catch the dozen art fairs that hit town this past weekend I only managed to catch a couple. Perhaps it was being insanely busy with work, perhaps I stopped caring a little bit, perhaps it’s just not worth the hype anymore. Whatever the case I walked away with some (un)sound thoughts:

The Armory Show sucked. Considering all the glitz and sheer volume of participating galleries there was literally NOTHING that interested me. Talk about disappointment!! OK, if I HAD to pick ONE artist that was in the slightest bit intriguing and not as easily dismissible it’d have to be duo Simmons & Burke who creates meta digital collages culled from hundreds of thousands of images from the interwebs. It’s chaotic, dirty, and representative of the state of my brain online.

Independent provided much relief and hope. That all is not lost in the art world, that good art (for lack of a better term) DOES exist and there certainly are people out there who know what they’re doing. The space was open and complimented by natural light with little compartmentalizing. There were sculptures and installations galore and there was no work going out of its way to garner attention. Except for maybe the giant swing made out of what looked like personal debris from an occupy wall street protester.

I found the above installation view of the old Dia building’s whitewashed brick wall & industrial window too fitting with a shaded white painting by Sam Windett.

Volta was mediocre at best. A lot of paintings and drawings, none of which really drew me in deep. The most niftiest booth prize goes to the folks who presented ipads on pedestals with sound inducing apps hooked on to old school boomboxes. It was playful, interactive, refreshing, and very new. It offered a nice change in scenery from the often stifling stillness of art.

The last few years I’ve listed all the images I took in a post. This year I’ll keep them all in a flickr set and not describe my reactions to them individually. Call me lazy but I think they’re all pretty self-explanatory and the ones I think were worthy to mention here I have done so…yea.

You can find a full set of images from the fairs on my flickr page.

I didn’t take any pictures from Fountain Art Fair because my eyes just about threw up and I couldn’t bare being in that space for too long. It was awful! I think it showcased the worst of the NY art world, especially the emerging art scene in Brooklyn. Otherwise the booths were outcasts from Kingston and Korea. There was a little Korea town set up in one corner of the Armory and it baffled me. The fair showcased the worst of the worst: gutterpunk spraypainted street art resembling paintings of half naked girls with pierced nipples, frivolous flimsy abstract paintings in pastel shades of blue and pink, walk in sculptures made of cardboard box cutouts with shot glasses and empty liquor bottles, live painting of a van, free beer in red plastic cups, walls lit in studio clamp lights hanging off a grid of 2×4’s. I’ve seen it all.

This year I’ve learned the importance of curating your roster of galleries and the people behind them when producing an art fair. I also learned how important presentation and viewing experience really is. I love that Volta provides printed material for all participating galleries. It creates uniformity. I hate that Fountain couldn’t do better with lighting, install, signage. I loved Independent’s use of vinyls along the vertical edges of walls. I loved their curation. I walk away this year taking notes in preparation of my own art fair. It’s coming.

1 Comment

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One response to “Art Fair Week Highlights

  1. sorry to miss you at fountain, joann. i completely agree with everything you said about the poor showing there, but i hope you aren’t lumping bushwick gallery in with the worst offenders. i was really proud of the work that i showed there, along with that of my boothmates. i was also proud of the work that katarina hybenova did putting it all together. i thought our booth fared a bit better than our neighbors….. i hope i wasn’t deluding myself. did you stop by? julie

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