Anyone else see the mob scene in Chelsea last night out front Robert Miller? I took a detour into the gallery on my way to Bridge, though based on what I saw, I can’t say I’m further ahead on figuring out what all the fuss was about. It would appear Joseph La Piana’s Kenetic State inspired all the hoo-haa — an artist who uses his breath to create the tube colored paint splats you see above. Frankly it’s hard to imagine a more limited interpretation of life, particularly because the representation of exhaling explores form at the expense of volume and texture. Jim Campbell’s Photo of My Mother, Portrait of My Father or Sabrina Raaf’s The Grower, for example, investigate similar terrain, but bring a level nuance, poetics, and beauty, La Piana never approaches.
Meanwhile, Bridge fair was comparatively quite; understandably so, since they don’t have the blue chip draw of Robert Miller, but most of the work was just as bad if not worse. I suppose the experience you get from this kind of fair is similar to hunting through a dollar store; You never find what you’re looking for, but you’ll always get something else. In other words, reliably, there’s usually some piece of crap you never expected to like, and yet against all good judgment you do, and one or two reasonable galleries. In this case, Glow Lab and Hogar Collection stuck out as the clear winners, because there was enough good art in both booths to outweigh the inevitable weaker works. In particular I responded to Glow Lab, an appropriately hung salon style booth, the arrangement of the work itself mimicking the cities that inspire the galleries artists. Swoon, Tom Brauer, Mark Price and Heather Johnson all displayed strong print, collage, and mixed media works, though that list is only a small sampling of the artists they have on display.
Despite all the bad work at Bridge, unlike Miami, my viewing experiences have not yet led to the kind of vitriol that left me silently murmuring hateful words about art. At least not yet. I haven’t seen a fraction of the fairs yet, so perhaps I’ll have to wait until Sunday before that happens. Speaking of Sunday, should any readers care to pay money to hear what you get for free on this site, I’ll be talking with a bunch of bloggers at Red Dot Sunday morning. Details below:
Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Red Dot Fair NYC
Park South Hotel
122 E. 28th St., btw. Park & Lex.
General admission to the fair is $12.