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Scope, NYC

Ben GrassoThe best part about the art fairs is an opportunity to meet or just see the gallery directors and staff. Often they sequester themselves in back rooms or the staff is busy typing: a lot of typing goes on in galleries. Even if you don’t get to have a conversation with a gallerist, this is a chance put a face to a name or better, to watch the ritual of the sale.

An average art lover strolls into a booth and there is no response, no acknowledgment of your presence. All of a sudden the gallerist notices the presence of wealth. It could be the mink or the couture or a previous mating, but the courting begins. The gallerist pops up, the bored expression turns to a wide full-toothed smile, hugs and air kisses fill the space, some small talk, a few questions, and a deal is made.

Colin SmithThe best part about the art fairs, other than the Armory Show or the Art Show is that type of behavior is less obvious, much more personal. While the Armory has champagne, the Thursday evening preview at the Scope fair was all beer, a reunion of sorts.

These are not the blue chip galleries of the Armory or the old guard at the Art Show. This is a bit scruffy, with some still setting up their booths; it’s comfortable here. The sales may not be in the millions, but still impressive.

Mike Peter SmithSome standouts for me were Ben Grasso’s latest painting, a duet of flying houses, at sixtyseven gallery, shown above, the work in the Motti Hasson Gallery booth. It doesn't reflect the range of challenging exhibits he shows in his Chelsea gallery: the lushly painted shirts and coats, by British artist Colin Smith, shown at right, and an impressive surreal landscape by Fulvio di Piazza.

Another Brit painter, Laura Fond, had some very interesting imagery. Mike Peter Smith’s approach to evolution will definitely catch your eye: I mentioned this work on my Miami trip in November. And a shout-out to the women at D.C.’s own Douz & Mille, who are not only charming to talk to, but showing good work and trying out a variety of venues around the city to exhibit.

My goal is to attend two more fairs, Pulse and Red Dot. I'm leaving the city temporarily for the serene beauty of the Hudson Valley and very likely no Internet connection, but we at Ionarts know to troll for it. If I can find a signal in Guatemala, how difficult can upstate be? In the meantime watch my friend Flickr for pictures.

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