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Light fare at the fairs-Part 2

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March 30, 2008   ·   2 Comments

It’s easy to see themes when you see so much work all at once as we did in two days at four art fairs. I saw polka dots all over the place, I saw snail mail references in three venues and things about communities seemed to crop up everywhere. I guess it’s the anthropologist in all of us. We want to group things together and classify and study them. I have always loved doing it. And many artists seem to be doing this kind of armchair anthropology in their work at the moment. Part 1 of this post is here.

Communities

Sculpted or drawn or photographed, artists seem to be depicting their crews, families, posses, brother and sisterhoods.

Sandra Scolnik
Sandra Scolnik’s community of one at CRG at the Armory

All of Sandra Scolnik‘s women are the same woman and they’re all reminiscent of devotional paintings from the Rennaissance when patrons could have themselves inserted into works depicting religious scenes. I love the wry commentary on narcissism.

Nick Cave
Nick Cave at the Armory-Jack Shainman

Nick Cave, a fabulous object maker, has a community of birds, beads and flowers featured in this work whose theme was either eco or Spring.

David Hevel
David Hevel at Schroeder Romero at Pulse.

David Hevel’s monkey/bird/flower sculpture is the wilder side of Spring.

Adrian Pelletier and Conrad Ventur
Adrian Pelletier and Conrad Ventur of Useless magazine.

The editor/publisher and art director of Useless magazine were a community of two (backed up by a bigger community of writers and photographers and advertisers) promoting their publication. Adrian Pelletier (l) is the art director and Conrad Ventur is the editor/publisher.

Adrian van der Ploeg
Adrian van der Ploeg at Volta-Haas and Fischer, Rotterdam. Video game players in Beijing.

Dutch artist Adrian van der Ploeg researched online video game communities and, as the gallerist told us, tore the kids away from their machines and got them to pose for him. He did this in Holland and Belgium…and then in Beijing a year later. The photos are a little heartbreaking. The kids are young and portrayed with the inky background behind them they have the force of a memorial.

Adrian van der Ploeg
Adrian van der Ploeg at Volta, Haas and Fischer. These photos were of video gamers in Holland and Belgium.

Luis Gispert
Luis Gispert at the Armory-Zach Feuer

Cheerleading communities feature in Luis Gispert‘s photos. Above is a great seance-like photo (or are they letting their nails dry?). And Katie Grinnan‘s papier mache cheerleaders (in an unbeatable shade of fire engine red) echo across the pier at ACME’s booth. For all its bigness this work has far less to offer than Gispert’s mysterious and obsessive works focused on Latina high school culture.

Katie Grinnan
Katie Grinnan at ACME at the Armory.

Hans Eijkelboom
Hans Eijkelboom at Scope 2×2 Projects

Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom‘s photos at Scope portrayed the community of like-minded strangers who all wear (in one example) skull-emblazoned hoodies or carry (in another example) the same Abercrombie and Fitch bag in exactly the same way.

International Festival
International Festival at Volta-Fruit and Flower Deli

We passed this little bar in a booth at Volta and I said I bet it’s a performance. Sure enough, Volta’s press materials say it is the Swedish Collective International Festival which set up the bar including the confetti rug floor. I grabbed the shot mainly to showcase the confetti–which is part of another subtheme that appears everywhere-polka dots!

Postal
Fawad Khan
Fawad Khan’s installation at Scope-33 Bond.

Fawad Khan‘s mail truck and green-glowing mailbox were jammed in a small space at Scope–actually it wasn’t so small. The truck was a real truck after all and that’s pretty big. The gallerist said the artist, who is American but grew up in Pakistan makes art referring to his life in Pakistan and the random explosions and mix of life and violence there.

Ken Solomon
Ken Solomon at Volta-Josee Bienvenu

Ken Solomon made stamps of the presidential candidates and his project involved you voting on your choice by pasting a stamp on an envelope and putting it in the box. Note the many blue Obama stamps inside including mine and Libby’s! The results of the voting will be announced at Solomon’s show at Josee Bienvenu in April.

Skulls
Tony Oursler
Tony Oursler, Armory-Lisson Gallery, Mutant Skull, 1997-98

Skulls are always big (Damian Hirst, with his diamond-skull, did not spawn an industry as much as capitalize on one of art’s favorite motifs.) Many many kitsch and serious skulls in evidence. These are three of my favorites.

Pulse
Portia Munson skull at Pulse. I like the Archimboldo ambiance.

Allison Schulnik
Allison Schulnik, Scope -Mike Weiss Gallery

Flowers at Macys
Stephanie at Macy's Flower show
Stephanie at Macy’s

Finally, we left Volta and walked west on 34th St. with Barry and James. As we got to Macy’s James asked if we’d ever gone to Macy’s Flower show. No, we hadn’t. Either had they so we all dashed inside for a free flower extravaganza that included a special unannounced appearance by this lovely cross dresser who, when I asked her what her name was said “Stephanie, I’m almost 8.”

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2 Responses to “Light fare at the fairs-Part 2”

  1. Kip says:

    Enlightening. I think the art fairs, although a little bit like a trip to the mall, are more representative of what is happening now then the Whitney biennial exhibit. I wonder if the Whitney exhibit will become less and less relevant? The art fairs seem like a better alternative. Rather than getting one or a couple curators picks, at the fair there are perhaps hundreds.

    The quantity of art at the fairs can be maddening. However, I suspect this is reflective of our expanding academic institutions. For example, I have noticed that even Moore College of Art and Design is adding an MFA program.

    On a different note, I find the interest in postage fascinating and wonder if it is a coincidence that recently I have returned to stamp collecting.

    Thanks for keeping me informed.

    Kip.

  2. roberta says:

    Hi Kip, I agree that the fairs do emulate that King of Prussia experience. Being a diverse aggregate of galleries the fairs are not like the Whitney show which is curated and has a particular point it’s espousing. I like to hope there will always be the need for curated shows since they posit some thoughts about the art world. You may not agree with the thoughts but at least there are some. There are no big thoughts emanating from the art fairs — except the thought to stand out and sell product.

    The increased numbers of MFA programs continues to astonish. I think it’s great that our culture is producing more artists as opposed to say more Army second lieutenants but I fear for the dashed hopes of new-minted MFAs who can’t find decent jobs teaching and who have trouble showing and selling their work.

    It’s so interesting about your stamp collecting. Must be something in the air!

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