Weekend Appraisal

03/08/2010

What an amazing weekend of art. There was so much to do and see, it was almost overwhelming. But the convenience of having the art world come together for an exceptional weekend is something a person in the arts can’t miss.

Day 1: I starting off the weekend early with the 1st Thursday Gallery Walk in Dumbo. I try not to miss out on this monthly event, especially this night because Kris Graves Projects was having an opening which included Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s “NY, NY: Concrete Jungle.” In this show Natal-San Miguel captures the real feeling of New York City in his photographs, he takes the pictures you wish you could take. Also part of the show is Greg Miller’s “Nashville.” These photographs are “very personal,” says Miller, since they are taken in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and forced him to confront the place where he grew-up. Overall, the atmosphere was energizing and so many people showed up-even though there were many other events they could have attended.

Day 2: Friday was going to be a day of attending the smaller art fairs but as soon as you start talking with the artists at the Fountain Art Fair, you don’t want to leave. And I didn’t. The fair was a little slow at first, but as the night drew on and the band began to play, the opening party drew you in and before you knew it, you are being asked to leave because the fair was suppose to close an hour and a half ago. Foundation is personable affair, or as their website states “a reckless abandon of the art fair.” What is great about a fair like that is, you get to talk to the artists directly and they will talk to you. Do not pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about because you all know that you do. I got a chance to speak to many up and coming artists including a painter, Evan Levine, and a photographer, Kristin Gamball, who were at the Art Bazaar booth. Levine was dubbed “New York’s Next Top Artist”, by the New York Times and Gamball’s new show of photo-grams, opening this Tuesday, March 9th, is sure to be a hit. Exhibits not to be missed were Allison Berkoy’s “In the Belly of the Lightship”- which had a creepy, haunted house feel to it- and the Murder Lounge- which wasn’t creepy at all but it was a calm, cool place to hang out. Lastly, but most decidedly not least, was the Leo Kesting Gallery’s booth, displaying Donna Cleary’s charcoal drawings. Cleary’s work clearly represents different emotions felt in a relationship between a woman and a man. Her highly detailed figure drawings have been stripped down to their underwear, which emphasize the feeling even more.

Undoubtedly this art fair was one to see. With it’s diverse collection of independent artist, you are sure to find something you liked. And who knows, the next major artist of our time could have been there.

Day 3: In needing of recuperation from the considerable about of fun had in the past few days, I used this day to just enjoy a large amount of amazing art at the Armory Show. This well know show is what the whole weekend of art fairs is centered around. With that in mind, this art fair is more for the well established artists, galleries, and dealers. You can since it in the air that this isn’t a community of well wishers- with a few exceptions- but a place for wheeling and dealing. So I knew that since I wasn’t a dealer looking to make a large purchase, I’d pretty much be left alone to look. Even though the T Magazine said “that this season’s fair was both safe and straightforward,” the art was still unique and grand. A few works of art that would fit into the unique category would be Jacob Hashomoto’s “Non Pattern’s Eventual Betrayal” at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Anne-Karin Furnues “Portrait 31”, and Patrick Jacobs “Field with Fairy Ring Fungus” at Pierogi. In the grand section is Jesus Rafael Soto’s “Grand Mural” at Adler & Conkright Fine Art and Gottfried Helnwein’s “The Murur of the Innocents 3” at Friedman Bena. But these are just a few out of hundreds of inspirational artworks that have to be seen in person, in order to be felt and understood. This show has a commanding presence that may not be agreeable but, it is respected.

Day 4: Sunday was the day to cram in as much artwork in the little time that was left of this monumental weekend. Starting the day off at Red Dot Art Fair is saying you started your day off right. As soon as you walk in the door you feel welcomed and at ease. You can tell right from the beginning that the gallery owners are very passionate about the artists they represent and the works of art they show. This show was a reminder of why you got involved in this business in the first, for the love of art- which is very present here. Emmanuel Fremin Gallery’s booth was full of powerful photographs that leave you in awe. From Thomas Barbey’s combined images that is purely darkroom magic to Sean Basil McGiver’s “bold, racy images,” as stated by the gallery. Another moving artist that paints solely on feeling is Connie Firestone who is represented by Elisa Contemporary Art. Firestone begins her paintings buy covering the canvas with black paint, letting it dry, then applies translucent acrylic paints and metallic paints that gets wipe away to create her image. She usually doesn’t have a set plan to her paintings, she relies mostly on feeling alone to form her works of art. In total this art fair was a great find and is a must in years to come.

Next was onto Volta. When entering the Ace Hotel, where the fair is held, you get the feeling that this is an established art fair and not a solo project with the title “No Guts No Glory”. I would describe the fair as a miniature version of the well know Armory Show. With artists and galleries allowed in “regardless of [their] age” as the website quotes, but it is still invitation only in order to show there. Regardless of it’s contradictory ethics there was some unique and risky artwork to be seen, even more so than its counterpart. Gigi Scaria’s “Site Under Construction” at Videospace Gallery is undoubtedly risky. The three channel installation has 2 screens facing each other with a projection of someone having a telephone conversation with the person on the opposite screen. On the floor between the screens is another projection of a working man building a shelter for himself. You can’t help but get engrossed in the conversation of the two people standing on their balconies looking down, commenting on the man working below. This work of art, with the controversial feeling it relays in portrayal of social classes, is risky. Some may have high opinions about this issue and therefore dismiss it. But, the fact that it stirred up any feeling at all, makes it art worth mentioning. I wove through the rest of the booths, talking to some galleries and getting snubbed by others, and ended up with an over all indifferent feeling of the fair. It seems like they have something to prove and if they make it or not will only be seen in years to come.

Last stop of the day was once again The Armory Show. I wanted one last look-mostly to make sure I didn’t miss anything-before it closed. So the weekend ends in success, if your mind is swimming with art and your pockets are full of business cards. Already, I can’t wait to see what inspiring artwork next year fairs will bring.

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