The art fairs kept me busy this weekend, but not necessarily happy. The hip little cousin of the Armory show, Volta, a 7 W. 34th St. shows a respectable amount of polished, cutting edge talent that runs the gamut. Bridge seems more open to a gamut of artists that ranged from polished, impressive works to not so much in a variety of styles. Both left me underwhelmed in terms of originality, and not to mention I dislike the quietly desperate hawking air.
And I said cutting-edge, didn’t I? I don’t mean that. While the works were of higher quality than the random gallery crawl often provides, the ideas behind them weren’t. Make patterns out of florescent bulbs, write funny, insolent things about art on pieces of cardboard, sculptures out of everyday objects, fur-covered totem poles on the ceiling, tufted rugs on the floor (who hasn’t done that before?), painting over vintage black and white prints to create cheeky, absurdist scenes, painting of large abstractions in the style of photography and, god save us, paintings of colors. Black and gold for example. My point is, this territory has already been covered. People are doing these things all over the streets of Brooklyn and in MFA programs. Kudos to Bridge for offering something a little different, even if different in some cases meant loud and kitsch in an uncool way.
There were exceptions, both in terms of the works and in terms of the events. The Williamsburg Gallery association put on a fun Saturday night walkabout, and the Lower East Side gallery tours going from the New Museum to the LaViola Banks Gallery on Sunday put some local pride in my heart. Yet I’m disappointed that I didn’t fall in love with anything. Did I go to the wrong shows? Would the Armory have been better?
I’ll tell you what perked up my weekend; this great article about Larry Gagosian’s wheelings and dealings in the New York Times.