There’s no doubt at all – there are too many art shows. We all know that art is big business. True, few artists get wealthy and plenty of gallerists go broke. So who is it big business for – the people and companies who package the shows. Between what galleries pay for their booths and the fees individuals pay, the show packagers have every incentive to not care about quality. So all of us pay way too much to see far to little worth seeing.
I accept that, if someone calls one of their creations art, then it is art. That doesn’t mean it’s good art. If only there was some minimum quality standard at these shows.
Biggest complaint: the Korean and Japanese galleries. I recognize that these are cultures which are still socially repressed. So maybe in Japan and Korea, there is social value in breaking
cultural norms. Possibly in the US some time around 1923, nudes were shocking. They’re not, even when the subject’s genitals are the leading feature. The same is true for their cartoon characters – it wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad but it certainly was boring. I think we, as an audience, disappointed these gallerists. So galleries please take note, if you come to New York next year, please make sure the work is both good and exciting. This year, it was neither.
This isn’t to say there wasn’t some good work at the smaller shows.
Pool Art Fair
There was only one artist worth visiting and worth mentioning – the superb Madonna Phillips. Her work is, simply put, unique. She creates virtuoso paintings of glass. They are wonderfully complex structures of color and texture.
Can you imagine a rainstorm with puddles, sheets of rain and trees beaten by the rain executed in glass? Madonna Phillips can. What I don’t understand is why she hasn’t been picked up by a New York gallery. Her work is definitely the right caliber.
Scope New York
Brundyn + Gonsalves from Cape Town, South Africa brought work by Tom Cullberg, a local artist who was born in Sweden. Cullberg’s abstract work is mostly highly intellectual but they included two pieces that incorporated both experience and intellect, especially a lovely piece entitled Abstract 31.
Fountain Art Fair
Without doubt the finest work at the show was’s work at the Tinca Art booth. Her self-revelatory abstracts, large and small, were standouts. We spent quite a long time chatting. It’s encouraging that someone in her 20’s talks about art having to come from the soul and not be created simply to shock. She’s someone to watch.