Blue is the New Black

by Rea McNamara on September 17, 2015 Art Fair + Berlin + slideshow

Constant Dullaart at Future Gallery's abc booth.

Constant Dullaart at Future Gallery’s abc booth.

At the press openings for Art Berlin Contemporary (abc) and Positions Berlin, one could sense a change is the in the air. The currents are changing. We’ve arrived at a new moment.

No, I’m not talking about the art — I’m talking about the art world uniform. If you don’t mind, I’m going to indulge in the following bit of Kay-Thompson-as-Diana-Vreeland trend forecasting, with a dash of Bill Cunningham street style sass thrown in.

New Yorkers, you may live and die by your all-black outfit. It’s what takes you from your studio visit to your reading group to your opening to the hush-hush post-vernissage dinner. But the Germans are heading in a different direction: they’re wearing blue.

Seriously. Blue is the new black.

Jeanno Gaussi at Galerie koal’s abc booth.


Iridescent jazz shoes.

Yes, the Germans are breaking from their Sprockets tradition, and I’m as happy as a little girl.

The look is totally monochromatic, and leans towards two distinct blue shades: Yves Klein or hospital scrubs. (But you’ll also encounter navy or baby blue.) The woman above, seen at the abc press conference this morning, effortlessly merges the two shades. This is the look that will get you into Berghain: wearing all-black is the actual equivalent of a stacked two hour line-up before encountering the infamous Sven.

Kate Cooper at Neumeister Bar-Am's abc booth.

Kate Cooper at Neumeister Bar-Am’s abc booth.


Power suiting.

See? Look at this dealer at abc. She means business.

Blue is actually an effective art world colour. If you’re into your crystals and chakras, blue is a healing shade tied to your throat chakra, so represents open communication. Sodalite, a blue gemstone, is connected to water and air. If you carry a piece of this mineral in your pocket or have it hanging from your window sill like a Kensington Market hippie (got to be true to my Toronto references here!), it helps to bring order and calmness to your mind, and enhances self-esteem and trust.

These are all things you need when you’re navigating the commerce and flash of an art fair, anywhere. You got to go with the flow.

Marilia Furman at PSM's abc booth.

Marilia Furman at PSM’s abc booth.


Just focus on the outfit, OK?


I really hope she's not buying that.

I really hope she’s not buying that.

Water is key. Last night, at the Hito Steyerl KOW opening, I laid back on the curved blue gymnastic mat, and gave into the #supersurge that was “Liquidity, Inc.”. The video work, which screened earlier this year at Artists Space, uses the old Bruce Lee “be water, my friend!” adage as a navigation into digital artifacts, 3D renderings, desktop wallpaper, the cloud, the stream, animated CG water. It was a much-needed navigation into the choppy waves of networks, security systems, the struggles of affective labour.

Like Bruce said, we have to be shapeless, formless, like water. Create your own comfort zone. Think blue.

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