All's Fair: NADA

I wouldn’t want to belong to a group whose acronym is the Spanish word for nothing. (Especially because the buzz for this show was less than kind.) But I’m not a member of the New Art Dealers Association, so what do they care about my opinion. And I certainly wasn’t going to let a little nattering negativity keep me from going. Though it would be the last of three big shows I saw on Saturday, I soldiered on. And I’m glad I did. There was a lot I liked.

© Joanne Mattera
If only I could read my notes to tell you about it. In the fog of art overload I omitted artists’ names, wrote illegibly, and shot bad digital images. In fairness to my photographic skills, the Ice Palace is a venue with uneven lighting. What’s worse, whole sections of booths are blurred in my memory. (I’ll do better with Bridge, coming up.) But I did do some after-the-fact gallery surfing on the web and found material to help fill out this post.

The path into the Ice Palace, a big barn of a building where NADA is held, is lined with hammocks. Thirty minutes in one of those slings would have gone a long way to clearing up my cranial fuzz. Photo is by the emerging photographer David Schoerner

First stop was at the White Columns booth, where the prints always sell well. See what I mean: .

I liked the luminous "bone" curtain in cast resin at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York. Looking now at the gallery’s website, I think it’s by Virgil Marti.

The bone scrim in cast resin (by Virgil Marti?) at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York

And I liked the quilt-like abstractions by Mette Winckelman at Copenhagen’s Galleri Christina Wilson—some paintings, others paper-and-cloth collages under glass.

Mette Winckelman: geometric abstractions at Gallerie Christina Wilson, Copenhagen

On a Scandinavian roll, I liked three small framed paintings by Haavard Homsvedt at Brooklyn’s Southfirst Gallery. These paintings were built up from the swipes and wipes of the artist’s brush, a la Scott Richter. But these are as quiet as Richter's are brash. (Heidi Cho Gallery has two wonderful Richter paintings at Scope.)

Havaard Homsvedt at Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn


Following the thread of material sensibility, I really liked the work of Olivier Soulerin at Atelier Cardenas Bellanger, Paris. A corner of the booth contained wrapped armatures, painted sponges, and household fabrics used as the canvas for the artist’s unstretched paintings. The lovechild of Mario Merz and Martha Stewart, maybe? Though my pictures were not good, the gallery has some good images, two of which I reproduced left and right.

Olivier Soulerin: Untitled wall piece, resin and acrylic on mixed media, 12 x 12 x 2", and sculpture against wall, Echelle, 42 x 4 x 5", left; Eponge, synthetic sponge and acrylic paint, 5 x 6.5 x 2.5"; all 2005, at Atelier Cardenas Bellanger. Below, a corner of the gallery's booth at NADA

At the booth for Los Angeles’s Mary Goldman Gallery, Rob Fischer deconstructs not only the materials of his sculpture but the space it occupies. The piece here suggests a spatially reconfigured hallway that holds the wall and floor.

Rob Fischer sculpture at Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles

At Boston’s Samson Projects, I watched a transaction taking place. Frame one: Young man in shorts and t-shirt studies the small figurative paintings at left and asks if he can take the work with him. Frame two: Gallery owner Camilo Alvarez comes over and chats with the potential collector. Yes, the work can be taken. Sold.

Looking and buying at Samson Projects, Boston

Artists who labor under the studio responsibilities of making the art, promoting it, and handling administrative, janitorial and delivery duties will appreciate the Samson Gallery staff as described in the NADA catalog: "Camilo Alvarez: Owner/Director/Preparator/Curator."

Last up: All’s Fair: Bridge