Last weekend, hundreds of artists, musicians, and weirdos decamped from Baltimore and turned a nudist campground into a temporary utopia. It was so utopian, it didn’t even occur to me to use social media. Thankfully, many others did.
Last week, GRIN Gallery in Providence opened the AFC-curated exhibition Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies: The Animated GIF as Place. It’s the IRL version of our online exhibition with Providence College—Galleries and will be installed until July 2nd. GRIN sent us these install shots, and it’s pretty remarkable how different and complimentary the physical show feels to the online component.
In the gallery, we installed GIFs included in the online exhibition from Hugo Moreno, Sara Ludy, Petra Cortright, Dina Kelberman, Ying Miao, Clement Valla, and Gizelle Zatonyl as well as different works from Nicolas Sassoon and Wickerham & Lomax. We also installed two pieces from Victoria Fu: the video projection “Velvet Peel 2” and animated neon sculpture “Pinch-Zoom.” These are all about the way bodies relate to screens and illusionistic space, so Fu was a perfect fit for an IRL exhibition about digital spaces.
We also screened all of the GIFs in the exhibition as well as longer video works from the artists and longer-form GIFs from Jacolby Satterwhite. GRIN (60 Valley Street, Unit 3
Providence, RI) is hosting another outdoor screening on June 25th from 8 – 10 p.m., so if you didn’t catch the opening, be sure to check it out! We have to say, even if we hadn’t curated this show, we’d be giving it a giant neon thumbs-up.
Last weekend, Open Space hosted their seventh annual Publications and Multiples Fair, a smorgasbord of DIY press, affordable artwork, and booths from artist-run spaces around the country. I posted a slideshow of the fair, but also went to about a dozen galleries neighboring the Baltimore Design School (site of PMF VII) and Open Space’s brick-and-mortar location. Below are some briefly-annotated highlights.
Open Space’s seventh annual Publications and Multiples Fair ran on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend at the Baltimore Design School. PMF is one of my all-time favorite art events—attracting DIY press, small publishers, artist-run spaces, and hundreds of artists working in a surprising variety of media. It’s free, most of the art is incredibly affordable, and the general vibe is somewhere between art fair and garage sale at a punk house.
The shear breadth of artists’ goods that one can actually buy is totally overwhelming—I’m sure I didn’t even see 60% of the highlights, but I snapped some photos of what caught my eye.
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.
Now in it’s 12th year, NADA Miami Beach is still full of surprises, even compared to younger satellite fairs. For the first time, NADA is taking place in the storied Fontainebleau hotel. Since 2009, the fair had been located in the nearby Deauville’s quirkier, seemingly grander mid-century ballrooms. Paddy had mixed feelings about that context, but I find myself missing it. The Fontainebleau’s more recently-renovated spaces feel a little more generic and paradoxically fancier but less glamorous. The ceiling is lower, there’s no sweeping ocean view from the booths, and visitors must now pay a $20 admission fee. This iteration of NADA is only slightly geographically closer to the convention center, but significantly less far-off from Art Basel proper in spirit.
But while we were disappointed by Basel’s predictability and lack of variety, NADA 2015 is wonderfully inconsistent. NADA’s exhibitors seem to have grown out of a collective trend-invested “cool kid” adolescence and matured into thoughtfully idiosyncratic connoisseurship. Gone are the days of interchangeable booths with matching pastel-and-neon abstractions—here there’s a greater diversity of good work than we’ve witnessed at art fairs recently. Part of this might be attributed to NADA’s shifting demographics: the fair feels less New-York-centric and more international. Many of the booths that impressed us the most were from Germany, Latin America, or Japan.
Below, highlights from the fair, delightfully all over the map: