Monday, March 13, 2006

And the beat goes on

After wading through all the posts about the art fairs this weekend, I headed out to see Pulse today. I decided not to see Scope because of this and this, and this along with the list of galleries helped me decide to go to Pulse. And in the end (maybe it was me) I felt like it was "a nice show" yeh, nothing really jumped out as either great or awful. It was a lot of the things you see in Chelsea (obviously because of the many Chelsea galleries there) and it was nice to see works from other galleries around the world, but few were really that different.

So the interesting thing around the art fairs this year is more about what they represent, and their timing. I think there was a lot of thunder stolen from them by both the recent occurence of Art Basel Miami and all of its side fairs, as well as the recent opening of the Whitney Biennial. It just gets weary with so much hype around everything.

But I do think the continuing expansion of the art fairs is interesting for what it represents. It brings all sorts of galleries into a small space in a short amount of time for collectors to sweep in and pick up what they are most interested in - kind of like a mall for art. It is also interesting in the fact that the galleries have to chose specific artists to highlight - and most keep it to a small roster so as not to create a distracting environment for selling. So this means that the collectors are seeing a select few artists - only galleries allowed in are showing and only the artists chosen to come to the fair are shown. It also means that if there are repeats of the same artist in different booths (Christian Maycheck -above- and Seth Koen), that artist either comes off looking hot, over-hyped, or played out (I'm not a collector so I can't say which, but it made me feel uneasy).

Going to a fair on the last day was a bit odd too, it's like watching a movie that everyone else saw opening weekend, and you're watching it 10 years later. (Or something like that, I was going to try a race horse past its prime allegory). And the most overheard conversation (I really heard it a few times)
gallerist #1: So, did you have a good show?
gallerist #2: We did! We made some sales and some great connections!
I've always suspected that a number of sales would take place after the fair, but I will have to check in with my gallerist friend who participated in a show in the fall to see if that is true.

Fairs all gone now, we can get back to bashing the Whitney.

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