I don’t know, maybe I am becoming older and milder...
Everybody who came from Volta New York 2009 kept telling me it was a terrible art fair. So I went there with the lowest possible expectations.
But I cannot agree to it. There were also some interesting positions and Volta NY 2009 was worth going.
The art fair took place at a floor of a tower in Midtown Manhattan. There were solo artist presentations done by
- 78 international galleries. According to the art fair there were
- 18,000 visitors.
I liked the work by the New York City artist David Kramer. His ink and pencil drawings like ‘Dreams come true…’ of 2008/9 show an ironic view of the American dream. His art was already exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was presented by Aeroplastics gallery of Brussels, Belgium.
There was an intesting installation by Francisco Valdés at the booth of Elain Lévy Projets, Brussels, Belgium: He showed lambdaprints in the original size of carpets and rugs. They were piled up like in a carpet store.
Mr. Valdés was born in Chile,studied at Goldsmiths College and lives and works now in London, GB. In 1995 he participated in the 2nd Prague Biennale. Before he was producing animated videos from pencil drawings like 'Reagen' about former president Ronald Reagen. In his performance 'To Silence Friends and Foes Alik' of 1998 he is using life sized photos of himself to create a Valdés costume for other people.
I like his art, as it plays with different levels of perception and reality.
Bartha Contemporary from London, GB, presented the young American artist Benjamin Cottam. I liked the small silverpoint and gesso drawings on paper of artists like Amy Winehouse. They were only 6 x 4 inches.
Volta New York, like its original in Basel, is a curated art fair, who focused of one man shows per booth. It was done by Amanda Coulson (Executive Director) and Christian Viveros-Fauné (Curatorial Advisor).
There is also always a discussion if the critics know better about the quality of art than the art dealers do. I think this debate is academic anyway because in an art fair there will always be a mix of both interests.
As in every art fair there was also lot of art I did not like at all: I think the installation by Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong ‘Golden Ghost’ was pretty simple. There was a beautiful girl standing in the booth of Hoet Bekaert gallery from Gent, Belgium. She was standing there topless in lots of industrial threadwaste and trying to involve the visitors to join the installation. Sex sells most of the times, but this was a bit all too simple.
Then there was the China Square Gallery with unavoidable art from China for those who think this hype would be still working. The artist was Shen Jingdong who presented a Playmobile version of Yue Minjun me-too-art.
Judging from the faces of some art dealers on Saturday morning one of the biggest successes was the cooperation with the art fair's beer sponsor 'Grolsch' - an excellent Dutch beer.
Next time invite me earlier!