The problem with 24 simultaneously running Miami art fairs has less to do with the fact that you can’t possibly see and absorb everything, than it does the dispersion of good work. For those interested in emerging artists, there simply isn’t a place where most everything will be worthwhile even if it isn’t all to your taste. This creates a problem for viewers, as well as for readers of this blog, who may tire of reading mixed to negative reviews of the fairs.
In theory, invitational fairs such as Pulse offer some relief, and for those who have a taste for good, albeit traditional approaches painting, photography and sculpture the fair will mostly come through. Probably my favorite work in the show, the Julie Heffernan still life pictured above currently hangs on the walls of P.P.O.W. Heffernan, who has been showing professionally for several years now has two additional works hanging at other galleries in the same fair but to my mind this is by far the best of the three.
It would appear Pulse is the “new media” fair now, Postmasters and Bitforms representing the only new media art I’ve seen (sorry vertexlist, I haven’t made it to Fountain). Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s motorized miniature Titanic boat and projected movie is a little literal for my tastes, but I’ve posted it for the beauty of the sculptural object alone. Also, it warrants mentioning that the broken version of this piece displayed at Eyebeam earlier this summer was incredible. Rather than relying on moving gadgetry to create an ongoing film, the piece was surrounded by white fabric and lights; the moving shadows telling the story of a sinking ship. While this installation may not represent my favorite version of the work, it is not a piece to be missed.
In contrast to the many strong booths in this fair, Max Protetch, and Jack Shainman amongst them, Pulse too had its fair share of duds. Rather than list them all however, I’ll simply note that the exhibitor floor plan did a real disservice to the fair, seperating this year’s crop of curated emerging exhibitors (Impulse) into a different wing. While an isle of regular exhibitors were also located in that section, that section of the fair as a whole seemed out of place and awkward. Impulse may have been weaker than usual, but even with that, Pulse very much felt the lose of programming that normally infuses life in an otherwise stuffy fair.