Blurry photo courtesy of yours truly
DiVA Miami and DiVA New York share the same banner font, but this and their consistently poor choice of location mark the only unifying forces between the two fairs. To their credit, the video and digital art fair managed to produce a giant sign nobody could miss that hung from the side of the front wall of Embassy Suites Hotel in Battery park this year, but having to cross the West Side Highway to get to a venue earns them no points in my books. I’d rather truck out to Williamsburg than suffer the “convenience” of Manhattan’s Battery Park.
Now, probably the best indicator of the running success of most fairs comes in the form of returning exhibitors (Pulse being the obvious exception to this rule since Impulse ensures a spot for new galleries each year,) so DiVA organizers have to be worried. Of the roughly 16 participating galleries participating in New York, (not including those in the Chelsea containers), only three, Walsh Gallery, nt art gallery, and Galerie Grand Siecle, also toughed it out in Miami. This, in combination with the fact that this years exhibitors number slightly more than half those who participated last year in New York, do not bode well for the fair.
Photo copyright Troy Abbott
I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but it’s really heartbreaking to see the venue flounder like this because it leaves the impression that video and digital art either have no place in the market or simply aren’t making work that’s interesting enough to warrant a full fair, neither of which is true. Most of the work featured at DiVA is too bad to even pick on, while other pieces simply inspire apathy. As if knowing I was already irritable, ALP Galleries inspired visible annoyance, as when I asked them what purpose the chipboard in Troy Abbott‘s birdcage served (since most of the wires appeared to be disconnected) and I was informed that it was a secret of the artist and that my hands, which were no less than 12 inches away shouldn’t touch the art. I don’t know why you’d bother exhibiting the art if you don’t want to talk about it and it’s so fragile even an Art Fag City glance might break it, but to each his own.
Interno3, Sky Tape #3, Photo via DiVA Catalogue
The only exception to a unilaterally bad group of exhibiting artists came from Interno3 at nt art gallery from Italy. Sky Tape #3 for example provides a much needed break from the fetishized painted surfaces at the armory, by using the equipment itself as the aesthetic object. Just how sexy are these arrangements of metal boxes? Not at all, which is what I like about it. I find it incredibly refreshing to look at art that resists dressing up these objects in art-wear (although I actually like these works, Paul Pfieffer’s approach to presentation provides a good point of comparison) and simply works with the equipment for what it is. Meanwhile, the video of clouds itself presents a beautiful contrast to the hard edges of technology. I suppose you could draw rather superficial connections between imagination and the innovation it took to recreate moving images et al, but I think sometimes it’s better to just enjoy the aesthetic arrangement of objects as is and let the rest of that sort of crap go. I like the boxes, I like the clouds, and that satisfies me just fine.
Related: Diva Miami