Pulse Comes out on Top

by Art Fag City on February 25, 2007 Events

It’s pretty easy to endlessly compare the various fairs to Miami, but a lot of time it’s a pointless endeavor because the participating galleries and spaces are so different. Of the sixty plus galleries that are participating in Pulse New York for example, roughly twenty of those were not in Miami. In addition to this the location is completely different, the Miami fair suffering from a railroad like layout. Nothing kills an art viewing experience faster than having to walk through it as though it were a terminal.

Any number of qualities explain the success of Pulse, which for the second year running wins our Best in Show Award. Exhibitors light their booths well, the floor plan provides ample corridor space so a viewer can actually view the work, and most importantly the art on display is largely excellent. The fact that I have about twice the number of notes for this fair than any other is a fairly good indicator of just how much more successful it has become.

Jennifer Coates, Clipper, 2007 at Kinz, Tillou & Feigen

Don’t get me wrong, it seems all fairs are plagued with at least a few completely decorative works worth little time, (Fred Tomaselli’s wallpaper in the case of Pulse,) but this one seemed to exhibit less. For example, Kinz Tillou & Feigen have a great Jennifer Coates painting hanging in their booth titled Clipper which sits somewhere between abstraction and landscape painting. If there’s great intellectual thought behind this work I’ve missed it, though I’m not overly concerned. I don’t know why the little tiles of color make clouds, I’m just happy they do. Also, I’m partial to the thought that color might need to be cradled and released, such as the mist in this painting suggests.

Oliver Boberg, Seite 5 / Page 5, 2006, Lambda print, edition of 5 + 2 AP, 69 x 105 inches at DCKT Contemporary

I also thought the work of Oliver Boberg at DCKT contemporary wasn’t bad. There seem to be a few artists like Boberg who construct models and then photograph them, Thomas Demand and Gregory Crewdson most notably, but I rather like that the juxtaposition of images enriches the meaning of the work. There’s a real sense of loneliness in these shots – abandoned spaces that may still function as architectural forms – their use value long past exhausted. The point of creating all these fictionalized places as opposed to simply going out and finding them remains slightly unclear to me, but since all of them are devoid of people, it would seem there may be at least one practical reason for the complicated set up.

Andy Diaz Hope, Merry Go Round, 2006, Catherine Clarke Gallery

DKCT’s neighbors Catherine Clarke Gallery feature pill landscapes which to my mind represent the worst that digital technologies bring us. Just because we have the ability to print on anything doesn’t mean we should. [Editors note: A tipster informs me the artist cuts up multiple copies of the same photograph and hand-rolls individual bits in the pill capsules until they lined up, forming the final image. I don’t think it makes the piece much better, but the original description was inaccurate]Merry Go Round feels gimmicky and devoid of substance. General Idea worked with pills years ago, but better. So did Damien Hirst, but I’m not what you call a fan.

Left: D’nell Larson, (installation), Right: Heather Cantrell

Finally, one of my favorite spaces this year, sixspace, lands in the Impulse section of the fair, which is open to all galleries wishing to propose a project, (Pulse culls its exhibitors by invitation.) The curatorial statement will tell you this exhibition is bring artists together who deal with “relating” and “relationships”, but that thread as a thematic seems weak to me as virtually any artist can meet those perimeters. Mostly I’m interested in the fact that someone thought to put these two images together and made it work. I suppose on a formal level white beards and white snow connect the two but they really are quite desperate pieces. Portraiture and abstract Ivy forms are the result and I like it.

Look forward to more fair coverage later in the day, in addition to some discussion of this years comic book convention!

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