Scope Fair Suffers From Narrow Aisles

by Art Fag City on February 24, 2007 Events

“Scope sucks. As an artist I found it depressing” said one attendee I over heard at Pulse yesterday. He’s not wrong, but it may be a less charitable than warranted given Scope’s new and improved home. Now at Lincoln Center’s Damrosh Park the fair makes a valiant effort at shedding the broken elevator, shoddy floor, walls in danger of falling over look. What’s more, their exhibitors seem to have taken a much needed art installation 101 course because the spaces are almost all hung well. Finally, the art can shine!

Gabriel Martinez outside Scope’s front entrance

Not so fast. Sadly, Scope’s Achilles heel of presentation and poor curatorial efforts continue to be a problem for them. The aisles between booths are too small, there is no place to sit if you get tired of looking at art and most annoying of all, there’s performance artist Gabriel Martinez “blowing my mind” in the front foray wearing an Andy Warhol inspired silver suit and pretending to be dead or dying for having carried so much art to the fair. The environment still provides far too little for their exhibitors.

Left: At Yancey Richardson Lisa Kereszi, Gael dressing, State Palace Theater, New Orleans, LA, 2000, Chromogenic Print, Right: Steinar Jakobsen’s Look Back in Puzzlement, at Galleri K

While no art stood out in this fair, it warrants observation that the most successful booths at Scope were hosted by the galleries specializing in photography. Yancey Richardson (booth 57), Yossi Milo (booth 71), and Andrea Meislin Gallery (booth 69), all put together spaces that looked something similar to what you might see in their Chelsea homes. Galleri K (booth 30) from Oslo exhibited the one of maybe two solo shows at Scope this year, and though Steinar Jakobsen’s uniformly sized paintings hung in a grid format feels like a contrivance, the booth still looked better than most. (Booth 15)

Finally, may not have been the best exhibitor at Scope this year, but the virtual gallery turned fair exhibitors deserve a shout out for showcasing new talent from Winnipeg. Paul Butler, the gallery director, explained that his online presence and fair participation provided a way for artists in the small community to gain exposure they might not get otherwise. A news flash to all of us I’m sure, but apparently the negative temperatures in Winnipeg don’t draw great crowds of tourists.

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