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November 03, 2002

The affordable Art Fair (AAF) was brought to life by Will Ramsay, a former officer of the British army and student of art history. The fair, which ended at pier 95 in Manhattan (which is located on 50th street, not around the corner from me), was the third of the series. The first to be housed in New York. Future plans are for an AAF in Paris as well. Looks like this business with art under $5000 (£2,500 or $3,900 in London) is good business. And it was actually fun as well. We are going to visit Art Basel in Miami this winter and the AAF is probably the opposite of what will be on display in Basel/Miami. Affordable art means mostly young art. Young art that sells means often art that looks like more expensive art but does not come with the brand name of an artistic marketing heavyweight. There were hundreds of little Gerhard Richter looking paintings in the booths. Landscapes over landscapes, mostly sly blurry, some even going so far as pulling a squeegee over the surface of the freshly painted Brooklyn Bridge. Two Richter looks in one, for the price of a brushstroke.
I was expecting many more editions. One of the good thing about creating an edition is that the price for the individual piece can be kept at an affordable level for the buyer, while the actual manufacturing cost and the quality of the material can still be superb. Many of the items looked a bit like unique pieces that had been created simply some time ago and now needed a new home to stay.
It is horrible how whatever I wrote so far makes the show sound really bad. It was a really great event, filled with inspiration, approachable gallery staff (wow, now that’s something special) and some really neat little pieces that obviously sold.
There were some favorites in the show, of course. mixed greens was definitely one of them. Dirk Westphal’s funny photographs of goldfish were a nice happy place, but most of the other work was also great. Boltax Gallery does not seem to have a website, their work by Alan Cresto was very interesting. Large Aluminum mounted photographs of plants. When you look up his name on google, you will notice that he usually shoots Christy Turlington. The Sears-Peyton Gallery had plenty of little interesting pieces. Artists like Kaouru Mansour, Mary Beth Thielhelm and Isabel Bigelow caught the eye. Metaphor Contemporary Art, the gallery of Madelon Galland, was there. Also with work by Julian Jackson, and the wonderful sculptures of “important” people by Nina Levy among others.
The staff was a bit less friendly than most and more on a salesman trip it seemed. A tiny turnoff.
A good event. A busy event. I will need to make sure to have some $5000 in my pocket next time I go.


With this and the previous weekend's Armory Photo Show, things are really hoppin' in NYC. Unfortunately I was unable to attend either of them. Thanks for the report...

Posted by: Todd on November 4, 2002 09:31 AM
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