In the hallway at the Red Dot Fair

Give me a minute, would you? I need to drag my soap box over here. If you follow the art blogs, you know there are many comments by artists--some mildly concerned, others extremely pissed off--about the commerciality of these fairs. The Red Dot fair is a good place to address them, because its name says it all. The art fairs are about the buying and selling of art.

Sure, that painting may have been wrested from the depths of your soul, but when it goes onto a gallery wall or into an art fair booth or room, it’s an object available for sale. That’s the process. Of course you hope your work will be placed in a good collection. Miami’s big private collections are open to the public this time of year, and you can really see what happens when dedicated collectors acquire work. But collectors come in all sizes and price ranges, just like the art. You hope, like love, they’ll find their match.

If you as an artist don’t want to be doing another job forever, you need to get over that old-fashioned thinking that equates selling art with selling out. Align yourself with a dealer, or a network of dealers, who love what you do so that they can place it with people who feel the same way. At these fairs, you can really see the dealers in action: they set up visually appealing booths or rooms, and they interact with a public that may be just browsing or seriously intent on acquiring. I won’t downplay the ridiculousness of some of the exchanges ("Does this come in red?" "Do you have one in a larger size?" Yo, these aren’t bathing suits.) But when I see a red dot next to a work, I like to think that the wheels of the universe are turning as they are supposed to.

OK. The Red Dot Fair. First, kudos to George Billis for putting together such a good fair. The roster of galleries was strong, and there was a lot of good work to see. As with the other fairs, I’ve got both installations and individual works to show you.

Three by Thornton Willis in the hallway, just outside the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York. Below: just inside, three small sculptures by Elisa D'Arrigo

At Howard Scott Gallery, New York: Werner Schmidt painting on left; a Sati Zech painting--talk about material abstraction--in the background, and below

Here's a detail:

At Arden Gallery, Boston, a familiar face: mine. I'm standing in front of my painting, Vicolo 27, 2007, encaustic on panel, 24x24 inches, which you can see below. To my right is a cast rubber sculpture by Niho Kozuru

Also at Arden: painting by Norma Bessouet

At Panamerican Artprojects, Dallas, small geometric sculptures by Ted Larsen

Love these! Paintings on mechanics' cloths by Jason Rohlf at Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee

More Anne Seidman, here a framed work on paper, at the George Billis Gallery, New York

Mitch Jones's mixed-media painting at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery, San Francisco

Below, a small installation of small works by Gutter Pegger (the woven face) and mixed media paintings by Catherine Dudley

The hotel fairs don't typically show large works--the often small rooms just don't permit it--but I appreciate the opportunity to see a selection by individual artists. In fact one of the things I like about these fairs, particularly after the vast expanse of the Convention Center, is the opportunity to see smaller work in a way that feels intimate (even if thre are other viewers jostling for a look at the same time).

At Kathryn Markel Fine Art, New York, each artist was represented by a small installation. Above, Laura Fayer. Below, Julian Jackson

At Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Los Angeles, an installation that includes two encaustic geometries by Barbara Kerwin, far left, and next to them, three acrylic on panel abstractions by Matthew Penkala

At Pepper Gallery, Boston, paintings by Harold Reddicliff, left; small portraits by Daphne Confar, and drawings to the right by Stephen Fisher

Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, showed in the conference room, where the relative expanse allowed this circle of confiscated airport items by Michele Pred

Below: a Richard Purdy geometry in encaustic