Wednesday, April 25, 2012

-Off Schedule, On the Trend- Armory Show

When I walked into the Armory Show, I did suspect I would be as interested in the art presented as repulsed by the food court like experience. I was right. As I was discovering the different galleries and the artists they represent, I felt like I was in an all you can eat buffet where the caviar and bananas were presented alongside each other for the consumer to consume. At times hard to digest, the sequencing of everything was processed in a gluttonous way.

Progressing through the Armory Show, loaded with the art that was present, much of it was surpassed by the next booth. I wouldn’t say that everything was of the same interest, but moving with a certain speed, with the flow of the quickly increasing crowd, at times I could not remember what I had just seen. To the question ‘what did you like’, I would simply answer, ‘I will take a nap after I digest it all and will get back to you later’. Yes, more than a week after the visit to my first Armory Show, I am still digesting the information with random visual notes about what struck me, either the classical or the ‘new’ art pieces, as the words to describe the experience are slowly trying to emerge.

My perspective on art fairs has been altered. I do love art. In fact, I produce it. Creating it and marketing it are two very different things. It is like two opposing worlds interlinking . The whole point of the market being present at the art fairs is crucial for the art world to be fed. The menu gets overwhelming nonetheless. 

      So what is the recipe for good and sellable art? Is there one? Some artists are sitting on gold, or actually the market creates value, so the share over the perfect pie is split. Speculation, hypes and classics of contemporary art. The discourses are operating, as good or bad as it might be. I am not sure from which philosophical perspective I should take the art fairs from, but there is for sure issues concerning the relationship with the studio of the artists (the creation or making of art) and the art fairs (simply the market.)

How is art informed in art fairs? Is the art actually important? Who comes to see the art work if not with the intention of looking at what sells and for how much? Walking in a museum or gallery space surely brings a different feeling than an art fair does. Do we think about the content of the art piece? What it invokes? Or, simply how much its value can increase? When the art is validated by the art world, simply by being present in art fairs, is it still time to be thinking about what it represents or even being moved by it?

        Toward the end of my walk, at which point I was truly fed up, I came across a performance. Marina Abramovic was lying on her “Bed of Human Use.” I was alive again, and amazed. The piece was very interesting and the dynamic with the public, while rather disturbing, was totally working with the scene. There she was, all flesh, breathing under a huge quartzo crystal that could have crushed her head if it would have fallen. Peoples’ reactions were exquisite and fascinating. I am still wondering who took that piece back home for the collection.

I do remember some of my favorite pieces now! I always enjoy seeing Kiki Smith’s work. Its complex simplicity, its inherent beauty, brings me back to my childhood dreams with vivid imagination.

Another piece was a newly discovered artist whose retrospective I had the opportunity and pleasure to see last month at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles: Alina Szapocznikow. Her work was love at first sight.

At Volta art fair, I was delighted to see the work of a Montreal-based artist, Sophie Jodoin, whom I have been following for few years. . Battat Contemporary Gallery’s booth displayed Jodoin’s work. The Independent was also on my path that weekend in beautiful Chelsea. All these art fairs had the intention of selling art, but they were also a gigantic platform for artists.

The intensity of viewing art was at its paroxysm last week in New York City with 7 days in a row of major art fairs and exhibitions in prominent museums. It actually finished in my case by exhibiting in the International Juried Photography Exhibition at Viridian Artist in Chelsea, curated by Jennifer Blessing (Guggenheim Photography Curator) from March 13th to the 31st. I must admit to the incredible cliché : I love New York (and all it has to offer for the arts.) I did see amazing and inspiring art and was very happy to have my part in it.


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