Pulse Reduces Exhibitor Numbers and Produces a Stronger Fair

by Paddy Johnson on March 5, 2011 · 4 comments Art Fair

Von Lintel Gallery at Pulse

Everyone is talking about the beautiful wood floors and reduced exhibitor numbers at Pulse. The floor at least isn’t anything new to New York fairs — LA Art used the same space a couple years ago and I liked it then too — but it gives the fair a much needed makeover. Last year was a total disaster; a leaky building, uneven cement floors, and a seemingly never ending horizon of bad art.

Though improved to the point that the fair is now worth talking about, Pulse isn’t entirely in the clear in the good art department. The painting, as evidenced above at Von Lintel — is almost uniformly bad. Also, for all the wood floors they’ve got, there’s virtually no sculpture on them. Talk about a waste of resources! Figurative drawing, the bizarre and enduring flower theme, and abstraction ranged from poor to mediocre quality, but there is however a good amount of temporal and process based work to make the fair worth the trip.

A few highlights below. No lowlights. But for the stitched x-rays they are too boring to discuss.

LEFT: Dorsch Gallery, installation view, RIGHT: Brian O'Connell

The light weave of Brian O'Connell’s dyed cheese cloth at Dorsch Gallery evokes artists like Fred Sandback and Agnes Martin. A square penciled outline provides a marker for the pins the pieces hang from, as well as a grid for the work as a whole. It’s very satisfying.

Jeffrey Blondes, Bay of Fundy, Long Island West, 2010, 12 hrs and 23 minutes, Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Jeffrey Blondes exploits the Bay of Fundy’s high tidal range, which can change over 55 feet in 12 hours. I see the piece as a strange, yet fitting companion piece to  O’Donnell’s nearby cheese cloth, though more attention to detail is needed. Small flecks at the bottom of the screen look like an imperfection in the film, but are really a bit of rock accidentally captured in the composition. Also, the presentation is awful. It currently sits inside a chubby metal rectangular box, which exaggerates its objectness at the expense of the water’s movement. A screen inserted inside the wall would be much more effective.

Christian Chaize at Jen Bekman Gallery

Individually, Christian Chaize‘s photographs are a little too close to those of Mayumi Terada or even Richard Misrach for my tastes, but as a pair they play off each other brilliantly. Shot at the same location, the different horizons, umbrellas, and water formations keep the eye moving back and forth. [Disclaimer: Jen Bekman is a friend, but I’ve included Chaize’s work regardless as it’s clearly relevant to core art work worth a look at Pulse].

David Connearn at Kudlek Van Der Grinten

The above picture demonstrates why non-reflective museum den glass is a good investment. It’s impossible to view David Connearn’s drawings properly without it. I’ve included a small detail from a drawing I found elsewhere on the web to give a sense of the work. There’s a quiet rhythm to this work I find very enjoyable.

Allyson Strafella, title unknown, 2010, typed colons on paper, 8 1/2 x 5 inches, Von Lintel Gallery

I’m not sure the artist needs to label the colon so specifically as a material — “single typed character” would probably be better since I doubt *all* its connotations are ones that improve the read of the work — still, the point is clear. Spoken and written words accumulate such that they might begin to resemble landforms, but are also ephemeral and easily lost.


Kyle Chayka March 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Re: Allyson Strafella, I think typed letters were another theme of the fairs. I definitely remember seeing more than a few at Pulse, and some at Armory as well.

Kim Masson March 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

If you like Allyson Strafella or David Connearn’s work, I sure you would like Bill Wheelock. He was doing this work back in the 1990’s when he and my husband were participating artists-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Not only the wood floor beautiful. Wood Flooring NYC

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