Running the risk of redundancy, I’ve made a 2008 New York art fair rating list. Half hearted apologies go to Art Now for missing their fair; Miami kept me away. Pool, your website scared me off, and Disarmory, I missed you simply because I ran out of time. Sorry.
1. Pulse. Great supplemental programming, exhibition design and most importantly art. Bravo!
2. Armory. Well, it was big. And Matt Dillon was there?
3. Dark Fair. May not have exhibited the best art, but it was clearly the coolest fair of the lot.
4. Scope + Volta. Scope might come out on top of this “tie”, but I suspect it has more to do with my distaste for Volta’s branding than it does the actual fair. “Volta NY was launched with a spectacular start”, reads the Volta website, an assessment I noticed 2 days prior to its closing. I suppose it’s asking a little much from the PR to report anything contrary, but such proclamations the day after the event opens seem a little premature. That said, technically the quantity of booths at Volta were higher than that of Scope.
5. LA Art. Keep in mind that I saw this fair in its last hour, but I still think it was the biggest disappointment this year. LA Art really suffered when they lost the extra space, and their PR was virtually non-existent.
6. Bridge. It’s really a shame to see so much Asian art all of it bad.
7. Red Dot. Stellar supplemental programming aside, the fair’s basically a wash but for Adam Baumgold Gallery. If ever there was proof that artists working with comics don’t get the credibility they deserve, the fact that this gallery landed at Red Dot must surely be it. Amongst a sea of crap, Baumgold was exhibiting some of the best art I saw at all the fairs, including works by Tony Fitzpatrick, Chris Ware, William Cordova, and Mark Bell.