Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SCOPE Art Fair highlights

       Oh, SCOPE. You are a symptom that screams "ENJOY ME!" I hate myself for loving you, because it means that, whether I enjoy their company or not, I, too, am a hipster.
       This was my last fair. I visited on Saturday around 2. As mentioned before, SCOPE took over Pulse's space from last year, a sprawling seaside warehouse block beside the West Side Highway at Houston. To get to the entrance you had to walk by the entire building, which involved passing a half-open loading bay where they'd parked trailer potties next to their resident caterer, Roberta's, a trendy North Brooklyn pizza place that was selling no pizza but lots of booze. I'll also get Roberta's out of the way by saying the restaurant area was decked out like a space disco on several different drugs. The space seems to go on forever and is easy to get lost in, which very much suited the fair. Maybe I just like the space a lot, because I liked the irrational exuberance of Pulse last year.
       SCOPE is the most promo-savvy (I got updates every day on their schedule, and I'm not even sure how I got on their mailing list). Geographically, this one seemed very Brooklyn- and Miami-heavy, with enough Asian to be notable, as well.  They show up at every major art fair cluster, although they never create one. They are the most like a trade fair, the most commercial, the most circus-like, and possibly the most self-conscious about all of the above.  But you know what?  There's more art I like here than anywhere else.  Which is to say, there's a lot, and it's made more provocative in the competition.  By admitting to pretention, they are less pretentious. They're selling to art lovers and collectors, not museums and dealers. It's the middle class, which right now is a bit concerned with its own mortality, and loves to look like the rich and poor, fucking.
Renee Gertier - Space Junk
An image of satellites in earth orbit made by poking holes in paper bags. Okay.

Kris Knight - "Belladona Atropos" and "Blood Flower"
Miami's Spinello Projects had a sprawling area of the front of the warehouse space, without great identification, and sometimes work displayed on tables like this - possibly visiting-collector fallout. Another highlight of theirs was Antonia Wright's "Are You Okay?", video of her crying in crowded public places.

Jorge Santos - Soapbox King
David M Bowers - The Collector
David Bowers! He has often been one of my favorite artists, illustrating fantasy covers with these classicist allegories. He advised me to join a country club if I wanted to sell work.

Ori G. Carino - "Selfexistenlessness" at Dean Projects
Carino counts as my favorite "find", since I'm a sucker for East/West clashes and stuff that looks like porn. Also he titles well. Jenny Bhatt, take note. I like the Dean Project. I hope I deserve to show there someday.  My quibble with this is that the airbrushing makes the figuration weak.

TRUSTOCORP at Contra Projects (a street art/lowbrow gallery based in Detroit)

Lluis Barba

Jennifer Cutrone and Paul Outlaw for Artists Wanted
Yeah, so, this was performance art about decadence and so forth. A bunch of artists being assholes. Every once and a while one was going around with a platter and offering you his sliced sausage at groin level. They probably took turns - I was also handed some grape juice from that golden fountain.

Andrew Ohanesian (image courtesy of the artist), "Mandies" at English Kills (Brooklyn)

Carrying on with the theme of free booze as relational aesthetics, this was my very favorite. There were two doors, looking grimy and clubby and run-down and covered in graffiti, with "please keep the noise to a minimum and respect our neighbors" signs on the front. One door led to behind the bar, one to in front of the bar. There was space for one or two people on either side. There was a keg underneath and a tap. Whoever entered behind the bar ended up in the role of bartender, and whoever entered on the patron side tried to get beer from them, generating these ad hoc arrangements. The doors weren't marked, so you didn't really know what to expect, approaching them, or which side you'd end up on. I'm told they temporarily had a tip jar going, so it was like a job of a couple of minutes. Maybe it's just because I got weak beer out of this, but I thought it was brilliant.

Apparently there was also a "frat party" performance that was supposed to be going on, but nobody was in the zoo-like enclosure, and I didn't want to volunteer. The upper lounge, "Home Away From Home", had a massage station and meditation and comfort foods and free condoms, and an author.

Matthew Oates - "Red in Red"
Station Independent is not a gallery, but a group of curators and consultants that mostly just do SCOPE NY.  Oates's painting caught my eye immediately - he's probing the uncanny world of living dead faces.
Jenny Morgan - "All This Time" at Like the Spice
I hit this near the end and after going to Mandies until the keg ran out, so I don't have a great description besides that I love Jenny Morgan's work.

       Maybe next year I'll try to hit up Volta finally, and a different set of third-tier fairs, and whatever Dalton and Powhida and Rad and such cool kids have set up for institutional critique (this year it was the Failure Desk). You should too. Look for jobs a couple weeks before hand, lots are available. Call yourself press, I'll show you how, and help me out with this, it's revelatory. Thanks for your attention, and see you next year.

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