Pulse Art Fair 2009 New York


Pulse NYC claims this year that it is ‘the leading US art fair dedicated solely to contemporary art’.


Well, this for sure is somewhat exaggerated. I still regard the Armory Art Fair NYC and Art Basel Miami Beach more important than the Pulses there.


But Pulse is not bad - and quite big:


  • 101 exhibitors of
  • 23 countries


During the preview on Thursday it was quite packed. There were also a number of important collectors.


UGL © R. L. DuBois courtesy bitforms gallery nyc

At the way to the entrance there was a large scale installation by the US multi-artist Roger Luke DuBois.


He took words of the State of the Union addresses given by US presidents to Congress and put them like letters for eye examination charts on light boxes. The most frequently used words are the biggest on top and the least frequently used words are the smallest at the lower side.


He uses one light box for each presidency. This gives a new view on each presidency. Interesting.


Politics is also an important issue in the work of Michael Scoggins shown at Freight + Volume Gallery, NYC, and Hilger Gallery, Vienna:


The US artist criticized the Bush administration heavily in his work. He does graffiti like sketches with permanent marker on large scale paper sheets.


UGL © Michael Scoggins courtesy Freight + Volume Gallery

Now with Bush out of the office he seems to be quite happy. ‘Smile Time’ of 2009 at Hilger Gallery.


Rumors say that there is now a creative crisis - as he lost his favorite enemy: George W. Bush. Unfortunately I am quite confident, politics will help him out very soon.


UGL © Michael Scoggins courtesy Hilger Gallery

To me as (neutral) European it was quite surprising that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not more visible in the art capital of US homeland.


In general I have the feeling there is a lot more interest now in contemporary art from the Near and Middle East. Even Christie’s is devoting two auction sale dates in the first half of this year exclusively to art of Arab, Iranian and Turkish origin. But you see surprisingly little of it in New York.


UGL © Sara Rahbar courtesy Hilger Gallery

One exception is Sara Rahbar also shown by the Hilger Gallery: She was bon in Iran and emigrated early due to the Iranian revolution and the Iran Iraq war. S


he studied arts in London (Saint Martins) and design in New York (Fashion Institute). Now she lives between New York and Iran.


Such a bio also produces interesting art: I like her American flags that are mixed and torn with traditional Iranian or Western symbols and handcrafted textiles. Her art to me reflects the contradictions of the struggle with her two homes.


Her work currently also can be seen in the ‘New art from the Middle East’ exhibition at the London Saatchi Gallery.


UGL © Yoan Capote courtesy Habana Gallery

There was also interesting art by Yoan Capote from Cuba shown at the Habana Gallery, Habana City.



For instants his work ‘Secreto (Mucho por decir)’ meaning ‘Secret (So much to say)’ of 2006 – 2008: It consists of a glass tube with two plugs on each side. At the inside of each plug there is an ear molded. So it is not clear if the two ears hear something, or share a secret and so on.


As I don’t want to bring trouble to Mr. Capote I don’t dare to interpret his work politically – so much to say.


His work can be seen this year at the 10th Havana Biennial, Cuba, and at the 2nd  Biennale of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki, Greece.


UGL © Christian Kozul courtesy TZR Gallery Kai Brückner

There was also a spectacular glittering bull riding installation by the German artist Christian Kozul shown in the curated program of Pulse.


It was made from Budweiser beer cans cut to thorns and arranged into patterns on a bull riding machine.


For me this is the perfect art fair art: It is spectacular, it moves, its mirrors and rhinestones blink. It just lacks some naked skin.


The educative sign entertains by ‘The extensive patterning of the material references the social environment that spawned the recognizable aesthetic and firmly grounds the Bull within the obvious realm of the Bad Taste.’

(Nonsense texts like this were one reason for me to start the Premier Art Scene project...)


I think: Real bullshit.


UGL © Liliana Porter courtesy Carrie Secrist Gallery

Absolutely no bullshit in my opinion is a small installation by the artist Liliana Porter. She has Argentinean roots but is now based in New York City. Her work was shown at the booth of the Chicago gallery Carrie Secrist.


I like her series ‘Forced Labor’ where she puts toy figures in context with bigger objects that create the imagination of almost impossible ventures.


In the piece ‘Forced Labor: Waver, blue III’ of 2008 she puts a toy granny doing handwork in context with real wool. I liked the wicked humor of it.





Read more about the Armory art fair New York 2009


Read more about Scope art fair New York 2009


Read more about Volta art fair New York 2009


Read more about Scope art fair London 2008





Yvonne, 14-04-09 23:22
UGL, you are absolutely right:

The bull riding installation was really bullshit.

And I do also agree that most of these so called curatorial texts are bullshit too!!
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