Saturday, March 21, 2015

Email from the folks at PULSE Art Fair

Got an email from the folks at PULSE NY Art Fair, with notes and name-dropping from the fair.
Here's most of it for you to peruse -

PULSE New York Closes 10th Anniversary on High Note

March 10, 2015, New York, NY - PULSE Contemporary Art Fair closed its 10th anniversary edition in New York on a high note, as participants reported positive energy and solid sales. With more than 100 international artists to discover, the fair drew serious collectors, curators and journalists from around the world -- "la creme de la creme," reported first-time exhibitor, John Ferrere from Paris¹ Galerie L'Inlassable, which sold its entire selection of sculptures by Reinhard Voss. "Whatever PULSE is doing to attract VIPs and young collectors, it's working," said David Moore of Pictura Gallery.

³This is my third PULSE Contemporary Art Fair at the helm, and the most exciting to date.² said Director, Helen Toomer. ³I think the exhibitors, their artists and our visitors felt and absorbed the renewed energy. PULSE¹s move back to March during Armory Arts Week was definitely the right decision. With that said, Thursday¹s snowstorm definitely had us all worried, but we were thrilled to find that it did not impact our attendance and I¹d like to thank our wonderful collectors for attending and for their unwavering commitment to supporting and acquiring contemporary art.¹

Visitors praised PULSE New York¹s central location at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, a convenient hub for discovering new art in an intimate and stimulating setting. Both visitors and exhibitors noted that the fair¹s airy layout and tightly curated focus‹with 80% of galleries showing three or fewer artists‹allowed visitors to spend time truly engaging with the artwork on display while getting to know the exhibitors. "It's really well laid out," said Nancy Whitenack from Dallas' Conduit Gallery. "You don't miss a thing."

Of the fair¹s 50 exhibitors, both established and up-and-coming galleries reported successful showings. Gallery Poulsen of Copenhagen sold out its entire booth and inventory of paintings by Jean-Pierre Roy, Aaron Johnson, and Christian Rex Van Minnen to diverse collectors, including Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette, Leonardo DiCaprio and Helena Christensen. "It's been wild," said gallerist Morton Poulsen. "I've never experienced this interest‹and it's both new and good collectors who are coming.² In addition to sales at the fair, galleries reported interest in new commissions and also museum shows as curators and corporate collections from Microsoft, eBay, JPMorgan Chase and Citicorp, to the Jerusalem Museum, 21c Museum Hotels, Rubin Foundation, The Aldrich Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Children's Museum and Jacksonville MoCA among others were in attendance.

While established galleries fared well, including New York¹s Davidson Gallery, which sold a suite of six cryographs by Sam Messinger to an unnamed museum trustee on the first day and went on to sell two works by Nicky Broekhuysen in the gallery¹s first ever showing of the artist, both younger galleries and alternative spaces reported great results through the IMPULSE and POINTS initiatives. ³The booth totally rocks and the flow of people has been great‹and totally worth it,² said Mima McMillan of Swoon Studio/Braddock Tiles which sold more than 100 prints in the first hour of the Private Preview Brunch. ³We¹re a non-profit so for us to spend money on something like this is a huge decision. PULSE has a great reputationŠ we would definitely do it again.² Meanwhile, SVA Galleries reported sales of three watercolors by Nadine Faraj to Kyle DeWoody, and YUKI-SIS, an emerging gallery from Tokyo, placed a large, lace-inspired woodcut by Katsutoshi Yuasa with a collector from Washington, D.C., who was not aware of the artist¹s work prior to PULSE New York. ProjectArt, a non-profit which aims to raise awareness about the importance of arts education, hosted a wildly popular digital photo booth at the fair that founder Adarsh Alphons estimates reached an audience of 1 million viewers through social media postings and the hashtag #artisaright.

Among the booths to gain particular attention was Emerson Dorsch (Miami, FL), whose artist Elisabeth Condon was awarded the 2015 New York PULSE Prize for an exceptional solo show at the fair for her colorful mixed-media paintings born out of a residency in Shanghai. In addition to being a favorite of fair visitors and the PULSE Prize jury, the work attracted the attention of collectors, with Condon¹s painting ³Ethereal Body² being acquired by the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection. ³We¹re really excited to be back at PULSE. It feels like coming home,² said gallerist Tyler Emerson Dorsch. ³When the director of the fair has such great energy, it makes a difference.²

Special programming was also a strong draw for visitors to PULSE, with particular buzz surrounding PLAY, the video and new media initiative curated by Billy Zhao of the Marina Abramovic Institute, and the 10th-anniversary curatorial roundtable discussion 10 x 10 which featured ten passionate curators, including Rocio Aranda-Alvarado from El Museo del Barrio and Matthew Israel from Artsy in conversation about their visions for the future. Crowds of art-lovers attended the at-capacity Thursday night Young Collectors Cocktails featuring a musical performance by Chargaux as well as the After-Party held on Saturday evening at Hotel Americano.

PULSE New York once again proved to be a destination for collectors looking to acquire museum-quality contemporary art ranging from new works by forward-thinking emerging talent to limited edition, hard-to-find pieces by established artists. In addition to the art professionals who visited, PULSE welcomed celebrity VIPs including George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, David Alan Grier and Dev Patel, who purchased a piece by James Austin Murray from Lyons Wier Gallery. Along with an engaged local crowd there was strong attendance by international visitors with buyers coming from Berlin, London and Israel, as well as repeat visitors who attend PULSE Miami Beach. The high-energy fair had dealers praising the new direction of PULSE with galleries and collectors both excited and eager to return. "Between participating in Miami and New York fairs this marks our 14th time exhibiting at PULSE,¹ said Max Davidson from Davidson Contemporary, ³and we are proud to be part of this community as it continues to grow and mature. Sales were strong and we are looking forward to continuing with PULSE in Miami Beach.²

Monday, March 16, 2015

PULSE NY 2015 - NY Art Fairs

     So after getting snowed in by mother nature once again, I finally made it in to do some art fair hoppin' beginning with PULSE. Pulse is always a steady boat to me, consisting of solid work but not straying to far from the viewers' reach like the Independent does. As I woud soon notice in other fairs, there was quite a bit of abstract painting. In the mid sized range, loose, not overly wrought. I suppose one could see that as a lack of fire, energy and/or emotion. Not sure if that's fair, but the work felt "quieter" in that there wasn't alot of vigorous brushwork, angst, intense color. Again, I'm tempted to say not much energy, but there was, just a different kind of energy. The paintings seemed more methodical, calmer, like the artists were into thought, design, and process rather than action. More controlled, and more shapes throughout. Curious to see if this observation is consistent in the other shows.

Anselm Gluck - Galerie Frey, Vienna
     PULSE always seems to have a variety, though, and here are some more shots. The suitcase sculptures below had flowing water, light, etc from a series called "Traveling Landscapes."

Kathleen Vance - Rockelmann &, Berlin

Christian Rex van Minnen - "Biggie Patch Kidney P.I.E.", oil on linen 44x60 - Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen

Jean-Pierre Roy - "The Peripheral Path", oil on canvas 38x50 - Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen

Large balls with images projected on them.
     When I came to Inliquid, I recognized the name Melissa Maddonni Haims but couldn't place it. Fortunately she was there, and remembered me from Miami where she was doing street art (I wrote about her work in The Gallery Guy). Still knitting, her new work addressed the death of a close friend via quilting and sculptural pieces. The pile of "stones" represents how many cultures use stones as markers for death.

     Ye Hongxing presented this large, playful piece at Art Lexing (Miami) using stickers, beads, embellishments and objects showing the clash between modern techno China and its traditional and spiritual roots.

 The piece on the right, "Barbie Lives In the Police State" by Margaret Roleke makes use of the not-uncommon method of assembling objects and giving them a monochrome coating. Playful and fun. Contrasting but somehow kind of working together was the work on the left by Ryan Sarah Murphy. At Odetta Gallery's booth (Brooklyn).

Yevgeniy Fiks - oil on canvas

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Isis destroys ancient art

     I prefer not to use this blog for politics, but this does have some relevance in terms of art.

     Watching Isis destroy all that ancient art made me queasy. Granted, it pales in comparison to beheading videos (which I haven't watched) but as an artist it really hit home. Destroying a statue because it was worshipped in 700 BC?? Seriously?! I'm not going to offer my thoughts on political/military options, but more needs to be done. And this is not US bashing, but at some point we also have to step back and objectively look at the big picture as to ALL the reasons movements like Isis are growing. The "they hate freedom" and "they're jealous" arguments are too simplistic and kinda naive. When fighting disease, researchers look at all the possible causes, not just the symptoms, to find a cure.

     Who wants to send more kids to that hellhole to fight these jabronis? But I'm afraid that at some point, if we want to rid the world of them, it's going to mean boots on the ground going in before they blow up a mall, or the Met, or the Louvre, or Times Square, etc.

     I've had conversations w/ conservative friends, liberal friends, a cousin who is a military historian, and so on - a pretty wide range of chats and readings. Most feel that a coalition of overwhelming force should go in, and "wipe them out" before it gets much worse. Others see it as a mid-east issue, it's on their door step so they should handle it ala Jordan and Egypt. And so on and so on, many different views and opinions.

     Sorry to ramble on, but watching their glee as they destroyed art and the idiotic speech afterwards to justify their actions was sickening.

Monday, February 2, 2015

From ArtNet: Bruno Bischofberger's new venture

Article from Artnet about Bruno Bischofberger's new "art complex."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A visit to MoMA: 1) Matisse and 2) The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

     Made it to MoMA on a non-freezing cold day to catch the soon-departing Matisse show. No cameras allowed, but if you aren't already quite familiar with his cut paper/collage work, it's easy enough to find. The best part of this show was seeing the originals with the pins holding bits and pieces of paper where Matisse was trying to get just the right shape, line or form. A video showed him at work with assistants attaching the paper, but this was before pushpins so they used a hammer and small nails. The volume of work was another pleasure of this expansive show. MoMA recreated his swimming pool piece, there was the Jazz book, and a room dedicated to the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France. And color. So much color! One of the things that hits you is the stark contrast of hue and value in his compositions - black over orange, yellow over green, or white over deep magenta.
     Loved seeing his iconic 4x8' Icarus piece, the aforementioned Swimming Pool from 1952, Blue Nude with Green Stockings (1952) and the "Christmas Eve" stained glass window study and finished piece, also from 1952. The show ends with an impressive finale, "Large Decoration with Masks" from 1953. As I sat looking at it, a friendly older woman next to me said to the gent on her left, "Makes ya wanna go buy a pair of scissors!" to which he replied with a wry smile, "I know better."
Indeed. To the average person, I'm sure many think this work looks easy to do. But what that man was saying in his succinct reply, is it takes alot more than scissors and paper to do what Matisse did.

The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

     Next to the Matisse show was an exhibit of modern abstract work, mostly painting. It was interesting to see current abstract work at MoMA in a group show without work from the 50s/60s. One of the aims of this show was to show how current abstractionists not only have their predecessors to draw from, but the inundation of information and imagery at our fingertips in this technological age factor in greatly, too - two elements those 50s/60s pioneers didn't have.
     Below are some photos and following is the statement from the show. It features work by Richard Aldrich, Joe Bradley, Kerstin Br├Ątsch, Matt Connors, Michaela Eichwald, Nicole Eisenman, Mark Grotjahn, Charline von Heyl, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Dianna Molzan, Oscar Murillo, Laura Owens, Amy Sillman, Josh Smith, Mary Weatherford, and Michael Williams. The show runs Dec 14, 2014 - April 5, 2015.

One of the absolute highlights of this show is shown in these three photos. Hot Oscar Murillo, whose works are going in the mid 6-digit range, spread a few of his canvases on the floor for people not only to touch, but to roll in, crawl on and under, etc. Really amazing to watch...and yes, I touched them, too.

AMY SILLMAN   2014, Oil on canvas

AMY SILLMAN    2014, Oil on canvas
CHARLINE VON HEYL "Carlotta" 2013  Oil, synthetic polymer paint, charcoal


RICHARD ALDRICH   2010 "Two Dancers with Haze in Their Heart Waves Atop a Remake of One Page, Two Pages, Two Paintings"  Oil and wax on linen

Forever Now presents the work of 17 artists whose paintings reflect a singular approach that characterizes our cultural moment at the beginning of this new millennium: they refuse to allow us to define or even meter our time by them. This phenomenon in culture was first identified by the science fiction writer William Gibson, who used the term “a-temporality” to describe a cultural product of our moment that paradoxically doesn’t represent, through style, through content, or through medium, the time from which it comes. A-temporality, or timelessness, manifests itself in painting as an ahistorical free-for-all, where contemporaneity as an indicator of new form is nowhere to be found, and all eras coexist. This profligate mixing of past styles and genres can be identified as a kind of hallmark for our moment in painting, with artists achieving it by reanimating historical styles or recreating a contemporary version of them, sampling motifs from across the timeline of 20th-century art in a single painting or across an oeuvre, or radically paring their language down to the most archetypal forms.
The artists in this exhibition represent a wide variety of styles and impulses, but all use the painted surface as a platform, map, or metaphoric screen on which genres intermingle, morph, and collide. Their work represents traditional painting, in the sense that each artist engages with painting’s traditions, testing and ultimately reshaping historical strategies like appropriation and bricolage and reframing more metaphysical, high-stakes questions surrounding notions of originality, subjectivity, and spiritual transcendence.

Organized by Laura Hoptman, Curator, with Margaret Ewing, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Killed for Cartoons

     The killings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris are filling the airwaves and pages today. It's been deemed a terrorist act since the perps have ties to Al Qaeda and the murders are apparently in retaliation for the paper's continuous satirizing of Mohammed, especially via cartoons. Creating a visual image of Mohammed is not allowed in the Muslim faith and the paper was firebombed years ago for this. The editor firmly stated something to the effect that he lives by French law, not Islamic law, and though it upsets many Muslims he will continue Charlie Hebdo's raison d'etre. It's known for biting satire and has had most religions in its cross-hairs on more than one occasion.
     You can get more details in any paper, that's not what this post is about. Some in France have publicly stated that the editors and artists at Charlie brought this on themselves. Not that the murders are justifiable in any way, but the sentiment is more along the lines of how sorry can you be for a guy who gets gored after walking up to a bull and waving a red flag in his face? Was the Charlie crew foolish for repeatedly doing something that a religion finds very offensive? Especially when extremists from that religion made it very clear (yeah, a firebombing is a pretty clear message) that they won't stand for it?
     Or is this a free speech issue? is it an issue of standing for principles against terrorism? Would it have really been "backing down" if they made an editorial decision earlier to maybe tone it down a bit on the Mohammed cartoons?
     Sure, Boss Tweed must've been pretty pissed off at Thomas Nast for the skewering political caricatures he did. And I'm sure every politician has to have rhino hide to deal with some of the caricatures done of them. Remember when Nixon was in Watergate trouble? Talk about a cartoonist's wet dream...but none of them were gunned down in cold blood over their works.

     Political cartoonists can wield a mighty sharp pen sometimes. I wouldn't be shocked if some of them were on the receiving end of a punch in the nose or an "accidentally" spilled drink at a political function. But not this. To kill over cartoons? To be killed over cartoons? Would the magazine have lost its readership or its edge if it chose to stop doing cartoons of Mohammed? and more importantly, would they be alive if they chose to stop? Maybe, maybe not - maybe it was already too late and their fates were sealed a long time ago. Would it have made someone a coward if they said, "Hey, these people are fanatics. They already tried to kill us once. Maybe not to us, but to them, drawing Mohammed is insulting. Let's still satirize them in every way we can as hard as we have been doing, but minus the cartoons of Mohammed." Do you think that would have been wisdom or cowardice?