Let’s face it: bejeweling a horse does not exactly inspire riveting dialogue. But some people seem to like it, and this is Scope, so at this point, we’ll take it. It’s one example of the fair’s congenial goofball luster, and there’s no point in trying to make it something it’s not.
Being yourself-ness, in fact, came up often when we asked gallerists why they chose Scope. “I feel at home,” said newcomer Sharon Reaves of Reaves Projects. ”Everybody’s been so friendly. Some of the other galleries have even sent clients from their booths to me— and I just met these people.” She added that she’s been coming for years as an advisor and felt lucky to be included this year, which she thinks is the best curated so far. We can’t really back that up, as we’ve missed the last couple of years, but the fair has its moments (see below).
An unusually large portion of the exhibitors are new to the fair. Scope has a high turnover rate, in part due to mismanagement, and a lot of people seemed to have chosen Scope as the default entry-level New York fair. Terrence Sanders, the director of the New Orleans/Los Angeles gallery Untitled Art Projects, told me that as someone who shows relatively unknown local artists—a common theme—Scope was an opportunity to broaden the interest. “It’s bringing them to a more intelligent market. I think New York is somewhere the art-savvy people live,” he told me. A pair of newcomers from Montreal’s Art Mûr, now on their third Scope, sounded ambivalent: “We’re playing it by ear.” We’ll see how they feel after this week.
After Rohn’s Whitman, more people in boxes: