Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hunter Thesis Exhibition is on December 17, 2008 from 6-8 PM

Hunter Thesis Exhibition is on December 17, 2008 from 6-8 PM in New York City

Location: 450 West 41st Street , between 9th and 10th avenues in Manhattan

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fountain Art Fair - Miami Art Basel 2008

Fountain Art Fair
by Don Porcella

Fountain Art Fair revealed a gritty, exciting side of the art world that is young, emerging and innovative. It was a very lively fair with artists talking to all sorts of people from buyers to galleries. Largely consisting of emerging artists, this fair included small galleries, curators and artists from New York City.

Succulent Girl Friday (double click on next image for details)

My friend, Tracey Snelling an artist from Oakland, CA (showing at Pan American in Miami) stopped by Fountain Art Fair just in time to witness and donate to a performance.
Tracey in the larger installation which included the performance above. I can't remember the name of the artist who created this installation at Fountain, but I like the ambition in this work.

I love these paintings of women beating pro wrestlers. They both empower and make ridiculous.

Brian Leo, an artist in the Fountain Art Fair originally from New Jersey blew me away!!!! I love the way that color unifies his art so that he has more variety and flexibility with what he decides to paint. What I like most about Brian's art is the creativity he shows in every piece. No two paintings are exactly alike but collectively they represent only the tip of Brian's creative genius.
I love a lot of the individual paintings and the majority of them seem to be on canvas.
He had a buzz about his installation.

The artist, Brian Leo, in front of skeletor transformer? (I think that's what he called it). He has great reasons for making each painting and each idea is creative, different and fresh.

Scope Art Fair at Miami Art Basel 2008

Scope Art Fair at Miami Art Basel 2008
by Don Porcella

There is a high level of craft and craftmanship evident in the art fairs this year in Miami. Especially at Scope, where several galleries including Dorsch Gallery from Miami remarked that well crafted art was selling. This "painting" blew me away. I didn't think much of it until I left the fair and then I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is primarily made out of show laces of different colors with a faucet coming off the painting and onto the wall. Brilliant!

This artist was with ADA GALLERY at Scope New York in March. ADA Gallery is from Richmond, VA ( and also has the best art at the SCOPE Fairs. The owner, John is an awesome gallerist who continues to build on his strong reputation at SCOPE.
ada GALLERY was the gallery that sold to Lance Armstrong.
This sculpture is made out of wood and is a tour de force of wood craftmanship. The sculpture reads like a manual on all the possible things you can make with wood. The alluvial fan-like shapes on the back of the sculpture are in some places paper thin and hard to believe it is made out of wood.

ADA Gallery from Richmond, Virginia continues to build on a strong reputation at the Scope Art Fairs.

"Friends With You", Funhouse at Scope Art Fair - Miami Art Basel 2008

Funhouse at Scope Art Fair
by Don Porcella

Scope Miami allowed Friends With You to take over one whole corner of their art fair and install a wonderful, fun and interactive art installation. I think this is part of the reason Scope was such a fun and exciting art fair.

Artist, Carly Haffner, is seen inside one of the "Friends With You" modules which is very interactive and silly.

Inside this room viewers collide with the characters made out of vinyl

"Friends With You" enlisted the support of many local art students including students from New World High School in downtown, Miami. Scope apparently gave them a lot of freedom and an unlimited budget to complete the installation which is made out of vinyl and wood characters.

Who knew art could be so much fun. But is it art? Or is it just a mall inspired playland for kids? I saw plenty of older kids playing in the fun land and the context created a welcome and fun diversion whether you thought it was good art or not.

Fun in the Sun at Miami Art Basel 2008

Fun in the Sun at Miami Art Basel 2008
by Don Porcella

I went to Miami and visited the 2008 Miami Art Basel Art Fairs. It was an amazing experience to be in Miami and to get a first hand account of the art market. As has already been reported, The Art World is NOT Dead, Whew!!!!! It is alive and well. And as my gallery told me, "If you make good art, people will buy it no matter what the economy is like"

The Art Market is not dead, but it has slowed down. Seeing the art market come back to earth after the last few years offers collectors and viewers an easy pace to see and buy art. I went to several fairs including Art Basel, Scope, Fountain, Gen Art and Art Miami. Each fair had its own personality and SCOPE seemed to stand out the most to me. It had the most red dots (quite a few, actually) that I saw at any art fair. It had really good interesting work by artists who are not priced out of the market.

I was really impressed with the quality of work at all the art fairs. It seemed that maybe the good pieces had not sold in this economy and were being shown at the fairs. I heard that collectors were asking for 30 - 40% discounts, but that seemed just crazy hearsay. Most galleries, I mentioned this to laughed at that big of a discount and said they wouldn't sell any art for that big a discount.

The Art Newspaper said there we certain collectors including Jean Pigozzi who seemed to be targeting certain artists and art works like the artists from Takashi Murakami's Geisei Art Fair.

All in all, if the work was exceptional and affordable it seemed to be selling. Some collectors were fulfilling their wish lists buying and being able to get what they wanted and what they were looking for specifically. This was a great time for anyone with money to pick up some great deals where cash is king. Go market, go!!!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

New York Art Fair Review: Pinta

written by Nikki Schiro in New York

Pinta is a new Latin American Art Fair, claiming to exhibit the best of Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art. A selection of galleries from the US, Latin America and Europe are chosen to exhibit "museum-quality" works. Yes Ashley, referring to your piece on "A Turn in Taste, Part I" things are, with out a doubt, defiantly shifting towards a safer sale, and "quality" work. Everything here seemed to be quite finished, polished, framed  and/or object-like ready-to-sell. This kind of presentation, was reminiscent of a museum, adding to that affect was an unusual abundance of Opp-art, which I don't recall seeing recently anywhere but museums.

There was plenty of art from the 60's-80's as well as some Contemporary work. I realize this fair was created for, with a double emphasis, the sale, not for the benefit of us artist and art-loving looky-loos, however, to tell me that this is the "best" of Latin American contemporary and modern art and expect me to believe that is just offensive! It's speculated that collectors are going "safe", and safe is what this fair, overall, was. 

There were some goodies, however, as in any case. 

Ana de la Cueva's piece, titled Billings, was funny and interesting piece using silk embroideries on cotton undies, attached to canvas using traditional embroidery hoops.  As you approach the piece, you will find tiny embroidered traces on some that depict either menstruation or discharge, along with the corresponding lunar phase for each of the 28 undies.The lunar phase is detailed in the top right corner of each pair of undies, kind of reminiscent of "days of the week" underwear for kids. This piece talks about the most natural method of birth control identified by Dr. Billings, a method that uses body temperature and the appearance of vaginal discharge to monitor a woman's fertility.  The four sexy undies are to illustrate the four days a woman ovulates and gets higher libido levels. This method is strongly used by observant Catholic women. Ana's work usually has a political drive and an autobiographical undertone. This piece supposedly was inspired by the Palin nomination, and the related propaganda that surfaced in the media.

Nicola Castantino, exhibiting at Galeria Sicart, Barcelona, showed some seriously psychologically charged photographs, films and sculptural objects. The work for me married Cindy Sherman and Caravaggio and birthed something of its own, that was especially intriguing for me. Castantino photographs herself in scenarios. Her backdrops, props and vignette stages are completely seductive; lush colors, materials, fabrics, blood; dramatic lighting spills onto bodies. We could be looking at a madd-scientist's work space, something more disturbing like murder or crime scenes--but surreal, at times sociopathic. Or perhaps it's set to be in the darker side of the mind. Nicola sets herself up as the subject in the experiential narratives; embracing, duplicating, submerged; she is the dead, the grieving, the patient, the doctor, creepy and strikingly beautiful in that Caravaggio-esc way.

There was some Opp-art that was lovely to look, even ones are in actuality difficult to look at. It was fun to be lured over in an effort to decipher what was creating the effects, be it just the effects of color and line, or at times three dimensional attributes. One great piece was by Jesus Rafael Soto, a painting with three dimensional effects, pin stripes and colored squares came to life and fluttered and warped in your eyes.
Gererd Ellis at the Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, Santo Domingo, had some beautiful mixed media works on canvas. I particularly liked Haunted Boy, where there is a composition of a boy and a fish on background meticulously mimicking the lines a notebook pad. The guts of the boy and fish emerge and retract into hauntingly painted bodies. I like the way he's handled and merged the materials and rendering.
Some humor happening at Y Gallery. Dulce Pinzon's photos of an ordinary man, doing ordinary activities, dressed in different super hero costumes were fun and lighthearted. Jorge Gonzales San Miguel's penis-head drawings were hilarious. Although there were other fallacies creeping up in other parts of the fair as literally, San Miguel stands out in that he's created a world out of them; even the animals have penis-head heads. There are men and women, bodybuilder competitions, politicians.

Hugo Lugo's imaginative pieces, at Ginocchio gallery, celebrate notebook doodles. Like Ellis's Haunted Boy, he's also painting on lines to create a notebook effect backdrop (is there a trend here?) for his characters and scenarios, on paper and canvas. 
Nelson Leirner, at Porto Alegre, had a map of the world created using Minnie and Mickey Mouse heads on top of a backdrop of American flags.

It was twenty dollars for admission, which I found pricey for the size of the venue and what I got out of it. I was also disappointed because I felt there wasn't anything much particularly Latin about this exhibition, apart from the Spanish and Portuguese language in the air, and the names of the artists. maybe this is where the worlds heading, but are we already there? Is this the best of Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art? I agree with Ashley in "A Turn in Taste, Part 1" that it is exciting and inspiring to see stuff that is actually made well and can communicate on it's own, without a statement or dealer. Even if some of the stuff had less character today, I took pleasure in seeing things were crafted, less about being made by money and more made by skill/hand/technique, particularly in the contemporary art.

What I am hoping for is that the economic crisis and its effects will necessitate a cleansing of the Art World, as it did for the US government. The rise in buyers and subsequent rise in international art fairs restored power to the dealer over the last decade. Bad for Art.  As things cool considerably on the buyer side, we find Pinta, an art  fair designed to synchronize with Christies and Sotherbies, "riding the waves" of the auction houses hoping to make sales easier. It's smart, but telling. With Damian Hirst going straight to auction without his dealer (which happens to be one of the biggest in the art world),  and Lebowitz now being exclusively represented by an auction house, I am wondering, are we witnessing a paradigm shift? Is the auction house reclaiming power from the dealer? On the surface, it seems that might be better for Art, but will it?