The Wild Kingdom at Pulse

by Art Fag City on March 7, 2010 · 23 comments Events

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON

Pulse entrance

My visit to the The Armory Art Fair must have cast an animal art only filter over my eyes because that’s all I saw when I visited the Pulse fair yesterday. Walruses, roosters, and, according to gallerist Ingrid Dinter, full frontal sex were popular this year, though I missed even that, due to my “animal eyes”.

Sadly Pulse is reaching the inevitable state of any struggling fair, in which they no longer attract strong exhibitors and the art exhibited is an unwitting parody of contemporary art. Mostly I ended up wondering why the few reasonable galleries participating in the fair were spending money to poorly represent themselves.

With that said, the amount of amusing art on display was at an absurd peak at Pulse. Those and a few other highlights after the jump.


THE HIGHLIGHT


Jennifer Dalton, The Reappraisal, (Installation), 2009, 546 archival prints, acrylic frames, 6 metal shelving units with plywood shelves. Winkleman Gallery

Jennifer Dalton appraised every item in her household in 1999 for the Steffany Martz Gallery. In 2009, she reappraised all the objects and offered them up for sale. It’s a simple concept, and its success varies from itemized thing to itemized thing, but a highlight at Pulse nonetheless.

THE WILD KINGDOM AND BEYOND


Koen Vanmechelen. Conner Contemporary Art

This ridiculous Koen Vanmechelen dueling-rooster-in-the-corner diptych is undoubtedly one of my favorite works spotted at the fairs to date. The artist has an equally absurd website.


Laurie Hogan, Myth and Empire, 2010, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches, Koplin Del Rio

This painting is a bit large for my tastes, but what a great palette!  I’m not really sure what’s going on this picture, but it looks like these horses and birds aren’t getting along. It’s unclear who’s responsible for the background missiles.


Enrique Gomez de Molina, I am the Walrus, 2010, Mixed media taxidermy sculpture, Spinello Gallery

We spotted an installation similar to this in Venice made entirely of fake nails, but unfortunately that picture has been lost to the annals of flickr. Are tusks fireproof? I ask because I assume this work is mantle piece bound.


Laurina Paperina at perugi artecontemporanea

The ever popular skull made of Post-It notes.


Laurent Craste, Galerie [SAS]

Bad vase, bad! Question: If the bat were handcrafted would the piece be better? I know we’re talking shades of awful here, but it’s a reasonable query.


Patrick Hughes, Carnevale, 2009, Oil on board construction, 30 x 60 x 10 inches, Nicholas Metivier Gallery


Patrick Hughes, Carnevale, 2009, Oil on board construction, 30 x 60 x 10 inches, Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Has James Cameron’s Avatar created a larger market for 3-D art?  That’s what you’re looking at here – depending on where you stand, the city appears to shift. Upon close inspection a viewer realizes the work is not flat but actually three dimensional. Mind. Blown.

  • Ted

    duuuuuuude.

  • Ted

    duuuuuuude.

  • http://justinsimoni.com Justin Simoni

    Hmm – Hughes’ idea is just the same illusion that Hans Holbein the Younger uses in “Double Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve” – just Anamorphosis distortion.

    Hughes has another painting of bookcases, right? It’s the same exact painting.

  • http://justinsimoni.com Justin Simoni

    Hmm – Hughes’ idea is just the same illusion that Hans Holbein the Younger uses in “Double Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve” – just Anamorphosis distortion.

    Hughes has another painting of bookcases, right? It’s the same exact painting.

  • http://bgfa.blogspot.com Bert Green

    Yes, Laurie Hogin (not Hogan) rocks.

  • http://bgfa.blogspot.com Bert Green

    Yes, Laurie Hogin (not Hogan) rocks.

  • Andrew

    Your criticism of Pulse is unbalanced, as it was last year. It sounds like an unfounded bias because you’ve never provided strong rationale for why it is so much worse than the other fairs. Take out the established artists from the Armory and you have the same thing while Scope, for me, is reliably worse. Given that 95% of the art one sees in any given day sucks I’d say Pulse is reliably in the game and should be on serious art-goers must see list. The only fairs batting better than 95% are the Armory Modern section and ADAA.

    The rightfully awful images you show from Pulse cherry pick the crap (btw the walrus was pretty and non-art people loved that booth’s tacky shit, sadly including my bf). I could do the same for the Armory; for example, WTF was Daniel Reich showing?? I actually heard him explaining the banana and pear painting, saying “the banana is drooping a bit, so it is sad.” Riiiight. Speaking of sad, there was the Peres Projects booth. Was that a cup on the floor for collecting spare change?

    Pulse had some reliably good galleries, such as Mark Moore who just happened to be doing a solo show of the incredibly awful Kim Dorland. But the Tim Bravington work he had in a separate area was great. Lucas Feichtner Galerie had some interesting new work too. And if you hadn’t been so distracted by the tacky (but you have to admit amusing) work of Patrick Hughes at Nicholas Metivier Gallery you may have noticed at least two other artists work there that was worth considering. Winkleman had a good booth. And I’m not even going to bother mentioning the NYC gallery I actually bought a great painting from at Pulse though I’d go so far as to say that I think you would find the artist’s work interesting.

    I’m the first one to trash a bad show and point out laughably crappy work but saying across the board that Pulse sucked is like saying the LES gallery scene sucks. It’s lazy and useless to paint with such a broad brush.

    Can’t wait to hear your review of Scope – for the first time ever I skipped it this year because I never see anything of any value there.

  • Andrew

    Your criticism of Pulse is unbalanced, as it was last year. It sounds like an unfounded bias because you’ve never provided strong rationale for why it is so much worse than the other fairs. Take out the established artists from the Armory and you have the same thing while Scope, for me, is reliably worse. Given that 95% of the art one sees in any given day sucks I’d say Pulse is reliably in the game and should be on serious art-goers must see list. The only fairs batting better than 95% are the Armory Modern section and ADAA.

    The rightfully awful images you show from Pulse cherry pick the crap (btw the walrus was pretty and non-art people loved that booth’s tacky shit, sadly including my bf). I could do the same for the Armory; for example, WTF was Daniel Reich showing?? I actually heard him explaining the banana and pear painting, saying “the banana is drooping a bit, so it is sad.” Riiiight. Speaking of sad, there was the Peres Projects booth. Was that a cup on the floor for collecting spare change?

    Pulse had some reliably good galleries, such as Mark Moore who just happened to be doing a solo show of the incredibly awful Kim Dorland. But the Tim Bravington work he had in a separate area was great. Lucas Feichtner Galerie had some interesting new work too. And if you hadn’t been so distracted by the tacky (but you have to admit amusing) work of Patrick Hughes at Nicholas Metivier Gallery you may have noticed at least two other artists work there that was worth considering. Winkleman had a good booth. And I’m not even going to bother mentioning the NYC gallery I actually bought a great painting from at Pulse though I’d go so far as to say that I think you would find the artist’s work interesting.

    I’m the first one to trash a bad show and point out laughably crappy work but saying across the board that Pulse sucked is like saying the LES gallery scene sucks. It’s lazy and useless to paint with such a broad brush.

    Can’t wait to hear your review of Scope – for the first time ever I skipped it this year because I never see anything of any value there.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Andrew: My coverage looks this way on purpose. There’s far more crap at Pulse than the other fairs, and while, yes there were some stronger booths, I think it’s a disservice to contextualize those people amongst so much bad work. I’m not going to do it.

    It’s clear you don’t agree with me. You think there’s an equal amount of shit at The Armory. I do not. That’s fine, but I don’t think the natural conclusion should be that I’m lazy.

    Pulse is at least good enough to warrant coverage. Scope, Verge, Fountain, have proven to not be worth the time.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Andrew: My coverage looks this way on purpose. There’s far more crap at Pulse than the other fairs, and while, yes there were some stronger booths, I think it’s a disservice to contextualize those people amongst so much bad work. I’m not going to do it.

    It’s clear you don’t agree with me. You think there’s an equal amount of shit at The Armory. I do not. That’s fine, but I don’t think the natural conclusion should be that I’m lazy.

    Pulse is at least good enough to warrant coverage. Scope, Verge, Fountain, have proven to not be worth the time.

  • Andrew

    Fair enough (pun intended), re: Armory, but bearing in mind I like your coverage I do think that the brief slam of Pulse is lazy inasmuch as I want more than passing unsubstantiated conjecture when someone is broadly trashing a significant business venture that dozens of international business attend and hundreds (thousands??) of art world people go to habitually. The good galleries that show there do deserve to be contextualized among the bad work that is the bulk of the show; they paid for that honor and I’d love to hear your take on the few things there that you did like, as you did with the Armory.

    And why no photo of that outrageously bad Hummer sculpture?

    So by my count you are saying that the only worthwhile fairs from your perspective are Independent (?), Armory + Armory Modern, ADAA, and Pulse being the worst but still worthwhile. If I understand you correctly then I agree with you.

    Art fair week is a perfect microcosm of the mess we call the (very commercial and largely crappy) art world and it is a great case study in what happens when market forces collide with the vagaries of culture. Your analysis of it is appreciated.

  • Andrew

    Fair enough (pun intended), re: Armory, but bearing in mind I like your coverage I do think that the brief slam of Pulse is lazy inasmuch as I want more than passing unsubstantiated conjecture when someone is broadly trashing a significant business venture that dozens of international business attend and hundreds (thousands??) of art world people go to habitually. The good galleries that show there do deserve to be contextualized among the bad work that is the bulk of the show; they paid for that honor and I’d love to hear your take on the few things there that you did like, as you did with the Armory.

    And why no photo of that outrageously bad Hummer sculpture?

    So by my count you are saying that the only worthwhile fairs from your perspective are Independent (?), Armory + Armory Modern, ADAA, and Pulse being the worst but still worthwhile. If I understand you correctly then I agree with you.

    Art fair week is a perfect microcosm of the mess we call the (very commercial and largely crappy) art world and it is a great case study in what happens when market forces collide with the vagaries of culture. Your analysis of it is appreciated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651953220 zack

    OK: so IMHO that Patrick Hughes piece and work like it is a kinda of negative limit case of art fair work meeting tourist kitsch, and the calling card of a deeply unworthwhile showing this year (tho I did see a nice aleksandar duravcevic drawing there this year, and thought the jochen plogsties, alison schulnicks and uta barths last year were deeply excellent), but I’m surprised you passed on the easiest target: the large and conspicuously hung painting of multiple views of the artist (who was in the booth), naked – best quote of the fairs, for me? a nicely turned out art maven in training turning to her male companion while considering said drawing and stating “well, so we know he’s uncut…”

    but yeah. pulse was so bad I actually pressed my little gold armory VIP dogtag into the hand of a handsomely bearish cal arts student of my acquaintance who had never been to an art fair before and told him “leave now, go directly to the armory, and don’t look back !!!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651953220 zack

    OK: so IMHO that Patrick Hughes piece and work like it is a kinda of negative limit case of art fair work meeting tourist kitsch, and the calling card of a deeply unworthwhile showing this year (tho I did see a nice aleksandar duravcevic drawing there this year, and thought the jochen plogsties, alison schulnicks and uta barths last year were deeply excellent), but I’m surprised you passed on the easiest target: the large and conspicuously hung painting of multiple views of the artist (who was in the booth), naked – best quote of the fairs, for me? a nicely turned out art maven in training turning to her male companion while considering said drawing and stating “well, so we know he’s uncut…”

    but yeah. pulse was so bad I actually pressed my little gold armory VIP dogtag into the hand of a handsomely bearish cal arts student of my acquaintance who had never been to an art fair before and told him “leave now, go directly to the armory, and don’t look back !!!”

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Well, maybe I’ll revisit Pulse later in the week. I think the fair was weak, but it’s not like I didn’t take photos of stronger booths. I see your point. I would argue however, that while there may be some validity that more time should have been spent on the stronger galleries at Pulse this year, last year’s coverage was more than balanced. I wrote three separate posts on the fair and spent at least 6 hours there. This year, was a smaller space, but I was also only there for about 2.

    BTW, I think Volta is worthwhile too. There’s only so much time in the day though, and I have deadlines for other magazines in addition to the coverage that appears here.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Well, maybe I’ll revisit Pulse later in the week. I think the fair was weak, but it’s not like I didn’t take photos of stronger booths. I see your point. I would argue however, that while there may be some validity that more time should have been spent on the stronger galleries at Pulse this year, last year’s coverage was more than balanced. I wrote three separate posts on the fair and spent at least 6 hours there. This year, was a smaller space, but I was also only there for about 2.

    BTW, I think Volta is worthwhile too. There’s only so much time in the day though, and I have deadlines for other magazines in addition to the coverage that appears here.

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    pulse was terrible. and embarrassing. 20 dollars, if you had to pay it, would be better spent on two grolsches at the armory (18 + tip). next year

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    pulse was terrible. and embarrassing. 20 dollars, if you had to pay it, would be better spent on two grolsches at the armory (18 + tip). next year

  • noname

    I think Pulse was terrible as well, in terms of which galleries were accepted, and how the booths were curated. I was an exhibiting artist at Pulse, of course I will not say where, but the booth was professionally curated and installed. It stood out amongst the rest and several visitors criticized the gallery for not taking its place at the Armory show. I cannot help but feel all art fairs feel like junky garage sales. Independent had a good open concept but the work was so trendy I almost went blind. Too drunk at the Armory opening to remember much, but I bet it was great.

  • noname

    I think Pulse was terrible as well, in terms of which galleries were accepted, and how the booths were curated. I was an exhibiting artist at Pulse, of course I will not say where, but the booth was professionally curated and installed. It stood out amongst the rest and several visitors criticized the gallery for not taking its place at the Armory show. I cannot help but feel all art fairs feel like junky garage sales. Independent had a good open concept but the work was so trendy I almost went blind. Too drunk at the Armory opening to remember much, but I bet it was great.

  • ouch

    I think Pulse was less terrible than terribly predictable—the galleries I thought would be good were, and there were no major surprises, kinda like the Whitney. The IMPULSE area was particularly dismal. FYI, a collector showed me that baseball bat urn because he LOVED it. So much of this is context and trendiness—things looked much better generally at the old DIA space but in retrospect I don’t remember more great individual works at INDEPENDENT than than I do from PULSE. Put that bat-urn out at INDEPENDENT and it would fit in perfectly. The art fair set up is so tired and there was so much mid level corny work at PULSE that even the good stuff that was there looks less good. Switch out work between venues and I bet everything would look better at INDEPENDENT, where almost everything had that same cool-kid, Euro-Williamsburg, LES hipster, Unmonumental vibe that already looks dated (to me anyway).

  • ouch

    I think Pulse was less terrible than terribly predictable—the galleries I thought would be good were, and there were no major surprises, kinda like the Whitney. The IMPULSE area was particularly dismal. FYI, a collector showed me that baseball bat urn because he LOVED it. So much of this is context and trendiness—things looked much better generally at the old DIA space but in retrospect I don’t remember more great individual works at INDEPENDENT than than I do from PULSE. Put that bat-urn out at INDEPENDENT and it would fit in perfectly. The art fair set up is so tired and there was so much mid level corny work at PULSE that even the good stuff that was there looks less good. Switch out work between venues and I bet everything would look better at INDEPENDENT, where almost everything had that same cool-kid, Euro-Williamsburg, LES hipster, Unmonumental vibe that already looks dated (to me anyway).

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