"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within that prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness." Andre Malraux

06 March, 2011

Non-Armory Day 3

My 3rd (& final) day of visiting the satellite art fairs brought me to both Pulse & Scope. I've been anticipating Pulse the most; it's traditionally my favorite, & happily, it didn't disappoint, but Scope is giving it a run for its money. I'd never been to that one before, & color me impressed. Great stuff at both, so let's get to it.

In refreshing contrast to days 1 & 2, I'm finding myself needing to edit out many of artists I made note of at Pulse & Scope. In the interest of not driving away my busy readers, I'm limiting this list to the top 3 at each fair....


1) Megan Olson
I'm showing one of her drawings here, since that's what pulled me in, but click on her name to check out some of her paintings, too, which take this same idea to a much groovier level.

2) Gregory Euclide
His 3-D painting-to-sculpture pieces really jumped out at me, though I couldn't actually tell from them whether he knows how to paint. After checking out his website, though, color me satisfied. As usual with 3-D works, photos don't do them justice, but you get the idea.

3) Amy Casey
She has about a million of these, almost all on paper. J'adore.


1) Ziwon Wang
His hypnotic mechanical Buddhas could have kept me rooted in place the entire afternoon, if the overwhelming size of the fair hadn't kept me moving. Perhaps the most riveting stuff I saw anywhere this week (though I realize, as a Buddhist, my perspective is skewed). I was hoping to find an example of one of them in motion on youtube, but alas, just imagine almost every piece of this in constant, gentle motion, & you'll get the measure if it.

2) Hector de Gregorio
I wasn't able to find much about this artist online, which I find strangely admirable, but I really liked his portraits, some mix of photography & other printmaking techniques, with lush results.

3) Marion Peck
I thought her work looked familiar, not dissimilar from Mark Ryden, but when I investigated & realized she was a Seattle-based artist, I remembered having seen her work before. I enjoyed Sloan Fine Art's entire booth devoted to her.

There you have it, 5 art fairs in 3 days, & I'm able to fantasize that I've taken some measure of the international art world's temperature. Looking forward to doing it all again in 2012.

05 March, 2011

Non-Armory Day 2

Last night I hustled down to the Red Dot Art Fair & its companion, Korean Art Show, in Soho to take advantage of the free entry night (take a lesson, Armory). I'm happy to say they are both better shows than the Independent, my previous evening's destination, but also duller. I found myself having (not for the 1st time) an internal dialogue debating what's worse: actively bad art or competently dull art. Like a Zen riddle, I doubt I'll ever answer that one, but I'm absolutely certain I will be presented with myriad opportunities to consider it further.

These are the artists who stood out for me:

Tim Lovejoy
I loved his pastel drawings of Tibetan monks. I'm not sure if these were drawn from life or from photos, but his gestural work is amazing.

Tim Saternow (from George Billis Gallery)
Breathes new life into the gritty urban landscape painting, which ain't no easy feat. Part of his success, I think, lies in the use of watercolor, an unexpected & surprisingly effective medium.

Also worth checking out from this gallery: Stephen Magsig & Alex Roulette. Clearly, they specialize in realism.

Edward Walton Wilcox (from Lurie Gallery)
I'm not even sure how to categorize this guy, which I always like. Kind of pop, kind of goth, but not so easily dismissed as either. The 2 works on display were in bitumen, an almost unheard of medium. It's basically asphalt -- how this is used as paint, I couldn't begin to explain. Looking at his work at a book the gallery rep had on hand & now online, I'd say Wilcox was the strongest artist I saw yesterday.

Lastly, at the Korean Art Show to , I found myself completely charmed by the glass-&-moss sculptures of Jae Hi Ahn:

Next up, Pulse!

03 March, 2011

Non-Armory Day 1

One of my favorite New York weekends is here: The Armory Show. In keeping with tradition, I will not be visiting the actual event on the piers, but I do love checking out the more affordable satellite shows that pop up all over town at the same time. (By "affordable," btw, I'm referring not to the art, which is of course all unaffordable, but to the entrance fee: a hefty $30 for The Armory Show.)

Today, I went to the (free) Independent show in Chelsea. I suppose I could go on & on about the lowest-common-denominator aspect of art fairs & the way they cram unrelated pieces right on top of one another (I actually kind of like that latter part), but I'll settle for one word for this one: ugh. I optimistically pulled out my trusty pad right at the start to write down all the wonderful new artists I was about to be introduced to. With dozens of international vendors showing hundreds of artists, I felt compelled to write down exactly 2 names. The rest of it was like a visit to The New Museum: poorly conceived, lazily executed silliness. Not really worth the walk all the way out to West Side Highway.

Anyway, I try not to let this blog become about bad art (because there's sooo much of it), so on to the winners:

1) Ricci Albenda (from Andrew Kreps Gallery, just down the street):

Sculpture mounted seamlessly into the wall. More info about this piece here.

2) Alex Brown (also here):

"Hummingbird" 2010

Next I'll be visiting Red Dot. Wish me luck.