While it is popular to complain about the Scope fair, you do have to give them credit for pioneering the now popular “art fair in a hotel” model UPDATE: No you don’t. A Broadsheet tipster just informed me that they were preceded by the Gramercy Art Fair. This year in Miami, Aqua, Bridge, Flow and Ink fair are all hosted by hotels, and while rooms as exhibition venues may not be the ideal for displaying art, it does seem as though the audience has grown accustomed enough to it to be able to get past this and consider the work. We will be featuring write ups on Aqua and Nada either later on today or tomorrow (publishing times depend entirely on how fast I can look at the fairs and then come up with a reasonably intelligent response) so you have that to look forward to, and in the mean time you can read all about The Bridge Art Fair and The Flow Fair below.
Hosted at the Catalina Hotel, this fair has the decided disadvantage of frustrating artists by turning last years popular watering hole into fair. It doesn’t help that the work in this fair ranges from wholly unremarkable to really-bad-and-not-in-a-good-way. It’s impossible to pick out one gallery as being particularly bad in this fair, so I took a picture at random so that you’d have a basic idea of what you are getting if you attend the show.
As you can see, Walsh Gallery’s room features painting that lacks intellectual and aesthetic sophistication, all kinds of poorly hung work, and a slightly awkward space. What is particularly disappointing about this room, is that it does not appear to be representative of the level at which this gallery operates. Walsh Gallery is a space located in Chicago that I have never visited, so you can take this with a Paddy Johnson grain of salt, but from the looks of some of the images on their website, the work that gets shown at the gallery isn’t all that bad. I guess we can’t expect them to fit Von Kommanivanh’s airplane hi-breds in their fair room, but a little better effort of curation might have been nice.
Normally, I would spend more time discussing various exhibitors, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s worth the time. This post exists primarily to let Miami readers know, that with only one or two possible exceptions Bridge Art is not worth your time.
To my mind Flow is the sleeper hit of the Miami fairs. I hadn’t planned on even attending Flow, but local is working in their favor as it’s impossible not to when they are on the same strip as Bridge, Aqua and Ink. Almost all of the galleries have put forth a good face, Morgan Lehman being the most noteworthy. Those who are in Miami, will have the chance to see a preview of Darlene Charnelo’s new work, which will open this Thursday in New York. Her work has a seductive resin surface, and uses the map as a starting point for content and composition. The idea of fictional landscapes seems to be particularly popular these days amongst artists (a result no doubt of digital technologies that encourage users to create visual representations of their desires,) and so while you can’t say Charnelo is reinventing the wheel, the object itself inspires contemplation.
On a personal note, artist Brad Adkins’ “The Keys to my Parents House” at PDX Contemporary art (#171) (a piece that is no more complicated than the title suggests), inspired reflection on my previous career as a gallerist. At the time, I had contemplated selling by boss’s keys on craigslist as a silent retaliation for being yelled after her dog pissed on MY shoes. I decided rather quickly though that the act itself wasn’t made any more interesting for simply using craigslist, nor is moral depravity so inherently fascinating that it deserves the title of art. Brad Adkins is using the gallery as opposed to the Internet to pedal his wears, which ultimately is more boring than if he just sold the keys privately to a stranger.