Affordable Art Fair: Rosé, Pluralism, and Urban Outfitters

The Affordable Art Fair opens today, and, as its name suggests, it is a pandemonium of booths representing art on the lower end of things, from $100 to $10,000 (75% of the art is under $5,000.) At the cocktail reception last night, I had three things on my mind: pluralism, Urban Outfitters, and rosé. The rosé explains itself, I suppose, and the other two–pluralism and Urban Outfitters–were all I could afford to take away. Not to mention, as a warning to those of you who go, fairs are like speed dating, which can be daunting if you want to fall in love.

Pluralism, while not quite anything goes, describes a variety of styles being pursued alongside each other in the art world. The evidence that the art world is pluralistic mounted from gallery to gallery. (See Wikipedia on it here, and interesting recent discussion of it on Edward Winkleman’s blog.) Between abstract painting and small sketches, to some castings and interesting mixed media panels, it was quite a whirl. There was even a Native American–although he himself wasn’t for sale. There were some very good pieces last night, especially (predictably) on the higher end of things. I also had the pleasure of seeing some New York galleries I was unfamiliar with. This review would of course be more interesting if I had taken some semblance of notes; you know, put specifics to generalities. Unfortunately, I did not and yet I will forge onward to make what is no doubt a very gauche point.

Urban Outfitters, a trendy clothing store not entirely devoted to teens, has a rather good looking selection of things for the apartment. Among curtains and teacups, they have wall art. If you wondering what on earth this had to do with the Affordable Art Fair last night, let me explain: Urban Outfitters did not have a booth. But what they do have are a lot of pieces in similar styles to what I saw last night.

Like H+M to high fashion, Urban Outfitters is able to ape some of the many styles represented last night. That’s a commendation to Urban Outfitters rather than a sleight to the Affordable Art Fair, but I do think its telling that the pluralism that I thought was so varied on an individual level could actually be codified in a department store. Good art, of course, transcends such classifications and there were many great pieces at the fair. Also, Urban Outfitters (or or Target or whatever) aren’t as well-made in terms of material, expression, the technique and work put into them, or originality. But they look rather similar.
Between the rosé and the Urban Outfitters comparison, you might decide I have abominable taste and stop reading this blog. Maybe I do; I didn’t fall in love with any of the pieces and found the fair bewilderingly fun. Basically, it has original, well-made artworks for every taste and every price point. And that makes for a good art fair, and one that can’t be replaced by a visit to the decorative prints at Urban Outfitters.
For a nice review of the Affordable Art Fair, check out monkdogz’ artblog.

2 thoughts on “Affordable Art Fair: Rosé, Pluralism, and Urban Outfitters

  1. My first job in NY was working for an interior design company that wanted to send me around to galleries to take pictures and sketches of what was hot and raw for their stable of artists to ape the styles. I lasted one day. I don’t see a lot of difference between Urban Outfitters and the creepy guy selling Rolex on the corner.

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