FAIR WEATHER: Bridge, Both Locations

Miami Art Fairs, Art Basel Miami Beach, Aqua, Art Miami, Bridge, Pulse, Red Dot, Scope, Rubell Collection
Already posted:

At the Catalina Hotel: The "exploding monitor, " titled LCDblossom_Future-genetic-Anomalies #1, 2008, by the artist [dNASAb] at Frederieke Taylor, New York. This is a strong sculpture and video installation in a room full of them, below

To my eye, Bridge has always been one of the weaker fairs. Certainly some interesting galleries and artists have taken up residence, and that was true this year as well, but over the years I’ve noticed a dealer migration into other, stronger fairs. Why it had two locations this year--at the Catalina Hotel on the beach, and in Wynwood-- was a mystery, when the good stuff would have fit handily into one small venue.
Here’s what I liked. (Other galleries, like Project, Toomey Tourell, LTMH, and Garden Fresh were mentioned in the various Trends and Coinicidences posts, and Chi Contemporary, with a fabulous presentation in Wynwood, is coming up in one shortly.)

Installation at Frederieke Taylor Gallery, New York

Wynwood: Out and proud art at the Barbara Ann Levy Gallery, West Palm Beach, above and below

Catalina: Laugh out loud at Kidder Smith, Boston, with Peter Buchman's painting

Wynwood: The Williamsburg Gallery Association, Brooklyn

I like the cooperative spirit at work here. Artists have done this kind of thing, too, with open studios and cooperative galleries. For small dealers it makes sense to work communally, even if some of the galleries included also had booths of their own. (Even at the bigger fairs some galleries joined forces, presumably to share the work load and expenses.)

If anyone felt differently about Bridge, please share your comments.


Stephanie said...

I can comment on Bridge Miami Beach:

I was not impressed overall. Too much of the work was quite mediocre & sophomoric, like what you'd find at some of the Miami Design District venues.

What I really wanted to see was the installation work of myartspace.com's juried competition winner, Jonathan Brilliant, which I wrote about on my blog. However, I overheard that his work was at Wynwood, & I wasn't able to make it there in the end.

The art I found most intriguing and beautiful were those video & ipod sculptures you've pictured by the artist "dNASAb". I keep meaning to wrote a blog post on the subject. Something about this work is almost painterly....and oh, the color!

Barbara Ann Levy said...

Firstly I want to thank you Joanne for your inclusion of my gallery in this art fair article. It was an honor on the one hand to be included in The Bridge Art Fair in Wywood, Miami particularly as a glbt identified gallery. They took a risk to include my gallery in the emerging anti-Gay political climate.

It was interesting to me to be asked over and over again throughout the fair which artists were gay in the show. I mixed it up some and did include heterosexual artists in the show. Mark Soppeland pictured here with me at the desk is one of them! I thought their question odd. Homophobia? I wondered what would have happened if I refused to tell them! All gay and lesbian artists in the show are 'out' artists.

I agree that Wynwood Bridge was unnecessary particularly in this economic downturn. The funky hotel location gives the fair its identity. Wynwood diluted it and could destroy it. Many of the galleries were well established galleries and could not easily fit within the scope of art galleries that show emerging artists. Virginia Miller is one. Another Russian gallerist housed a collection of contemporary Russian artists works. Most have hung in Russian Museums.

The scope of Wynwood was confusing and could have created a problem for those of us who do show emerging artists works by being a fair more like an Expo and diverting collectors attention to other fair venues like Red Dot.

At one point I could not help but feel that we were mere'staging' for a real estate development scheme as we sat for three weekdays with few or no visitors.

Funky and fun, inexpensive art by emerging artists is better served in the South Beach hotel location and I would advise them to limit their exhibition to this venue. They overreached in Wynwood.

The structure was not as secure as it should have been, tent parts flapped in the breeze in strong winds at times and temperature control was pretty much nonexistent. Fine Art is poorly served without it! I am sorry but this needs to be a priority. Dust and dirt from the outlying dustbowl like parking lot invaded the space frequently throughout the fair and I had to guard one of my artist's pieces with my life during the opening reception. One of the organizers seemed miffed when I asked one of the liquor sponsors to please be careful of the art hanging too close to his bar. Art is why art fairs are in business in the first place. Yes sponsors are very important but you need to treat your art dealers and art as a first priority and with the utmost respect.

This was my first art fair and possibly my last one. I cannot say I am now a fan of the art fair as a result of my participation at Bridge. Art fairs seem a bit too much like the shell game. Fair organizers seem to make the money! It would be interesting to have a look at the ledgers of all art fairs in comparison to the gallerists take and see just who wins the art fair game.

As artists stole the gallerists lightening in the East Village in NYC in the 80's to become the dealers, art fair organizers in our era have stolen it for community development projects and possibly imminent domain. I am waiting for art to be outsourced next. DUBAI anyone?