From the category archives:

Art Fair

The Art F City Survival Guide to the 2016 Armory Week Fairs

by Michael Anthony Farley and Rea McNamara on February 29, 2016
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Do you like art fairs? If yes, you are in luck! If not, get the hell out of New York City this week. Art fairs are multiplying like Gremlins, and mutating as they spawn. We now have specific art fairs for everything: paper, video art, solo projects, Asian art, curator-driven booths, independent artists, dykes, shiny things, boring shows… there’s something for everyone.

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On Zona MACO: How to Excel at Being an Average Art Fair

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 11, 2016
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Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.

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Material Art Fair: The Most Important Art Event of the Year for Artists

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on February 5, 2016
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For years we’ve sung the praises of NADA, an artist-centric fair that celebrates and works to commodify the strange, the creative and the wonder. In 2015, though, we began to question the model. Was NADA a bit stale compared to recent years? Was ARTIST RUN, a new fair that celebrates the DIY artist, closer to our interests?

These questions came up a lot yesterday at the Material Art Fair in Mexico City, which AFC staff writer Michael Anthony Farley described as a “great compromise between ARTIST RUN and NADA. Farley was referring to the structure of the fair, which invited more dealers than artists to participate, but retained the artistic energy and life essential to new art by keeping the booth prices low. It’s a great fair.

I agree the sentiment, but would put it a little differently: Material tells us that NADA can easily be replicated.

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FOX News Attempted to Troll Me at ABMB

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 11, 2015
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Last week, FOX News personality Jesse Watters visited Art Basel Miami Beach to troll the art world. The segment aired last night, after heavy redaction and blooper clips being used as filler. This is how I remember our conversation transpiring.

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Two Artists Just Met and Married at SATELLITE’s Artist-Run Show

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 6, 2015
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The Artist-Run at SATELLITE just closed, but things stayed interesting here up until the end. While Art Basel had a stabbing, we had a wedding. James Swainbank, who was showing in Open Space’s Stupid Bar, just married Vinegar (Jennifer) Avery, who was also participating in the show through Yellow Peril Gallery. Really.

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Putting Artists First at SATELLITE

by Paddy Johnson on December 5, 2015
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As I write this no less than six terrible karaoke singers are belting out “I will Always Love You”. This song and many others has been drifting down the halls of Artist-Run thanks to Stupid Bar, which oddly enough, is one of two bar installations at the Ocean Terrace Hotel. (Full disclaimer: Art F City’s F.A.G. Bar is the other installation and is situated next door.) A four foot mop of hair crawls through the hotel’s halls several times a day, as does a guy wearing a lamp shade for a hat and a telephone for a scarf, often followed by a seven-foot drag queen named Lazanya Ontre.

That’s just a whiff of what’s happening at Artist-Run at SATELLITE, an exhibition and curatorial project by Tiger Strikes Asteroid that invites artists to transform rooms in a derelict hotel called the Ocean Terrace into installations. You can actually feel the creative energy seep through the space, and after a week of looking at art safely quarantined in frames and vitrines, that feels nothing short of a miracle.

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Who Wore it Better? ABMB Edition

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 5, 2015
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Inevitably, some people pack the same looks for Miami.

Remember NADA’s legendary pool parties at the Deauville? There always seemed to be at least two art-bros who showed up in the same “statement” bathing suit from American Apparel. But it’s usually more awkward when gallerists inadvertently dress their booths too similarly.

Below, we take a look at accidental twinsies and judge who wore it better:

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Great Strides Made Yet Still Needed at Pulse

by Paddy Johnson on December 5, 2015
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How do you infuse life into a zombie art fair? Ask Pulse Director Helen Toomer. She’s been in the unenviable position of having to clean up years of poor leadership at Pulse, and has miraculously achieved some success during her two-year tenure. The fair’s put together PERSPECTIVES, an impressive discussion series put together in partnership with Hyperallergic and has slowly but slowly pushing some of the long time, weaker exhibitors out of the fair. Meanwhile, Pulse has succeeded in bringing strong exhibitors into the fold like Monya Rowe, Yancey Richardson and Transfer. Great strides have been made.

But let’s be clear: the fair still has a lot of work to do.

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NADA Disappoints Again

by Paddy Johnson on December 4, 2015
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I’ve been thinking a lot about AFC writer Michael Anthony Farley’s post on NADA yesterday. It’s a great summary of NADA highlights and assessment of the fair’s strengths this year. I felt a little disappointed by the fair, though, and I’ve been depressed about it most of it day. Aside from the obvious problems such as a needless maze-like layout and a lack of adventurous auxiliary programming, they continue to peddle a kind of disingenuous kind of class posturing I find increasingly grating.

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