Art Fag City offices remain divided on who produced the better art fair, Pulse or Volta. Volta’s solo show booths had a larger amount of uber crap but this was tempered by a few truly great booths; Pulse had less spectacular work on view, but a better space and no cut out butterfly vetrines or Home Sweet Home installations.
Who comes up on top in this contest probably isn’t that important — Moving Image, The Independent, and The Dependent were all better — but for the sake of calling it, I’ll give the better fair prize to Volta. Past the three exceptionally strong booths carrying the fair, the organization did more than the average fair for their exhibitors, namely by putting together a DIY catalogue, a mobile catalogue by Artlog and iphone app (if Pulse used the app, they needed to advertise it better). Granted their folder viewers put together themselves was probably a cost cutting measure, but I liked that it forced viewers to interact with the dealers a little more..
In tandem with Collectrium‘s image identifying app software, the reference material provided by the fair was very useful when it worked. The catalogue by design has no index, and since not all gallerists uploaded their images to Collectrium, a lot of work was uncatalogued. Any image not already in the database can be uploaded and labeled, shared, favorited and emailed of course, but I trust the captioning provided by the gallery better. Also, the software automatically exchanges your image for a better one provided by the gallery. Use the email feature and it sends a link to to a larger, professionally shot image. Very cool. The only real short coming of the app is that it doesn’t identify sculpture or video well. Too many angles and frames for the software to handle it seems.
As for the actual art — a few images with commentary below.
Nearly every art work in this booth will remind viewers of some other better known artist and it’s because he’s influenced them all. The films of John Waters, the comics of R. Crumb, the art of Andy Warhol: Kuchar has touched each of these artist’s lives. Kuchar never cared to pursue the same success of his friends. Much like Doug Biggert, a man who seems to know everyone in the art world yet describes himself as a “serial photographer” as a means of distinguishing himself from “real artists”, Kuchar has very much remained an outsider despite his connections. In this way, he may be the ultimate artist’s artist; respected greatly by his peers, but largely under known and under appreciated by collectors.
There’s something deeply unsettling about the decision to remake an obscure documentary about a feminist who talks about issues of motherhood, racism and classism and endures a humiliating critique by her art school professors. At the very least it’s an incredibly bleak take on today’s culture and future prospects. The prints pictured above over top wall paper presumably drawn from the same source show the quality of the 8 and 16 mm film grain and heighten the tension between feeling nostalgia for the era, and disgust for actual events.
Made specifically for the fair, Kristopher Benedict at Gallery Diet provides one of the more cohesive booths at the fair. I’m not completely sold on the work — the palette would work better if there was a little more range — but the work’s still impressive. As it happens, Mark Dion has curated an upcoming exhibition for the Florida based gallery, and New York based conceptual artist Clifford Owens will have a solo show there in the Spring. This is a gallery worth watching.
A MIDDLE TONE
Richard Coleman’s booth at V1 Gallery isn’t anything to write home about, but this is a great jewel within it. Readers will have to forgive me if I don’t have any deep thoughts on the matter, past that I like all the arms and the palette.
There’s probably not a scenario in which this work gets a pass. If the “Do Not Step on The Art Work” signs are part of the work and a reference to Carl Andre it’s a lazy riff. It’s just the gallery wanting to make sure no one steps on a floor piece that’s utterly unoriginal, it’s funny, but still not very good.
Anyone need a really heavy shopping bag for their art?
I can really see this in MoMA’s atrium.