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A Fair Wrap, with Pulse

Samuel RousseauIt’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and criticize the goings-on at the fairs: where art is presented as a commodity and it’s value hyped, it’s fair game. On the other hand I find it exciting, like the kid in the candy store. I’m not buying, just exploring. Some attendees behave in a dignified manner while some little fatties sprawl on the floor, whining and kicking their feet, demanding attention. Luckily there’s enough for everyone to go around.

My one regret this year was not making it to The Art Show at the 5th Regiment Armory, where I understand there was a very good selection of art to see. The Armory Show, this year all in one building on the piers, was much easier to take in and get an overall feel for the offerings.

The Red Dot Fair in the Park South Hotel on 28th, was a good surprise. You never know what to expect or how gallerists will accommodate their collections in the confines of a small hotel room with poor lighting.

KIM RUGGI’ve got to give the award for most inventive use of space to the Paradigm Gallery, as they took the mattresses off of the beds, stood them on end, creating cubicle spaces, on which they hung the art. Some were lucky enough to have rooms in the front of the building with plenty of natural light, like Jay Grimm’s did. Others reflected their lights off the ceiling, flooding the room with an all-over brightness, a perfect solution.

The 63 galleries at the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, in the 69th Regiment Armory on 26th Street -- again, for its second year -- had plenty of good work to keep my eyes happy.

Some memorable work at Pulse was Kim Rugg's Don't Mention the War, a recycled news day from The Guardian, which didn't mention the Iraq war once at a particularly horrific period. Also, there were Samuel Rousseau's recycled plastic containers (shown above), arranged to form a cityscape, with video projection. A sale looked about to happen.

Ivan BallenI mentioned Donna Sharrett last year and again this year she had me, at Pavel Zoubok Gallery. Also last year Chris Gilmour was showing a corrigated cardboard race car, at perugi artecontemporanea, this year it's a dentist's chair (ouch).

There's more eye candy with Julie Haffernan at PPOW and Isidro Blaco at DCKT. And to prove things aren't always what you perceive, the ever-gentlemanly Winkleman Gallery had a solo of Ivan Ballen's cardboard constructions, which are actually fiberglass forms. As I mentioned in a previous post, several galleries were experimenting with showing a single artist. Since the spaces are limited, in most cases, this could work out fine. If I were the gallerist I would be worried, putting all my hopes on one artist, not to mention three or four days of sales. On Friday Mr Ballen had two sold, and I understand all went well.

I really enjoyed the fairs. I met many people and also got to meet fellow bloggers Barry Hoggard (bloggy) and James Wagner, and Paddy Johnson, of AFC. After many e-mails and shared comments, it was a pleasure to be face to face. Get well, everyone who ended up with the flu.

Speaking of blogger meet-ups, I failed to mention the fabulous Anna L. Conti of Working Artist's Journal, who keeps us informed of the San Fransisco scene. Back in November when I was passing through, we got together and Anna kindly escorted me to some of the best galleries. A very belated thank you, Anna, and good luck with your upcoming show (called Red Sparrow, opening today at Newmark Gallery).


Dennis Christie said...

Thanks for the mention.

The artist's name is actually Isidro Blaco.

Mark Barry said...

Your welcome and sorry about the typo, Dennis. I had it right on my flickr. I also wasn't sure if this was the Blaco in your booth or the Italian gallery next door. Love his work.