Outside/In: Art Fair. Part 2.
One strange part of the day happened when I heard people downstairs talking about a “Dinosaur Maze” going on upstairs. I was really intrigued because there was no mention of any of that in the programs. I found the escalators, but oddly they were turned off. So I walked up to the ﬁfth ﬂoor. When I ﬁnally got up there, I was impressed. There were a lot of people and it was a very different feel. Downstairs felt very subdued and rigid while upstairs was a lot more alive and laid back. But upstairs had its own problems. Even though upstairs had some galleries full youthful energy, that was very appealing at standing out, I felt a lot of it lacked any deep meaning.
I asked around about why the work upstairs was not mentioned in the program, and the common answer I heard was that because the upstairs did not have to pay the promoter for the fair, the people downstairs wanted to exclude them. It seems that if you wanted to be part of the fair- officially- you had to pay to the organization to advertise your gallery and you were given a space on the lower floor. If you did not, you were moved to the upper floor even if you are regularly on the lower one. This was just for the extent of the fair. Finding this out made me feel even sadder and more naive and annoyed then I already was feeling. I had no idea what a business the art world is, and how cut throat it can be.
Here are some of my favorites from upstairs:
Carolyn Mason’s sculpture ,“Porcelain Bottles”, was one of the few works I saw that spoke about feelings of identity from a female perspective. Throughout the day, a lot of artists dealt with identity issues, but no matter if they were Gay or Straight it was all mostly from a male perspective, so it was nice to see what some women have to say about it. The shape of these bottles resembles a female, but at the same time a domestic object, a soap bottle. The material adds a sense of preciousness and fragility.
This is a sculpture done by Sharlynora Wilkinson called, “Barbie Project”. I really like this if you see it from the ground. These neat rows of barbie busts, give a militaristic feeling. And to immortalize barbie in the shape of a bust asks questions the ideal American woman.
One of my favorite artists of the day was Javier Carillo and his money project. Javier was actually the only artist who was at the Art Fair speaking to people about his work. He said that this whole project started when he found a ripped bill in his studio. He said that he wanted to discuss people he learned about while going to school in Mexico, and to mention what is happening politically along with the violence surrounding the drug wars. I found his ability to discuss many deep issues with simple mediums was a treat to the viewer. I am excited to see how he develops over time.
At the end of the weekend I realized how much I did not know about the certain sides of the art world. The side that wants to be current, cool, and wealthy and for the most part will agree to anything as long as it provides those things. I was glad to see, however, that their were some galleries that were generally interested in the artists work, and not the popularity that it brings. I have a lot to learn, but I am also realizing that there are a lot of aspects of this community I want nothing to do with.