What’s likely the best off-season art fair (meaning not during the art world’s bacchanal Armory Week festivities) kicked off Wednesday evening, and you should make a point of visiting the Affordable Art Fair before it closes on Sunday—ideally this evening between 6-8pm, when it’s free (otherwise admission is $20). With an international slate of 70 or so exhibitors and artists who range from the unknown and emerging all the way up to the world-renowned, this is no county arts and crafts fair. And knowing that you could maybe walk away with some of the work on the walls (prices range from $20 to several thousand bucks) makes for a discernibly different environment from financially stratified fairs like the Armory. As you make the rounds, don’t miss these exhibitors…
20×200: Soho gallery owner Jen Bekman’s online affordable editions store has become the model for selling good art at reasonable prices, including works by internationally renowned artists like Lawrence Weiner and up-and-comers like William Powhida and Valerie Hegarty. 20×200 also organized the fair’s workshop series.
CUE Art Foundation: The Chelsea-based non-profit continually gives over its massive 25th Street space to large-scale, ambitious and totally un-sellable pieces and installations by artists whose work doesn’t otherwise get much play in the city’s commercial galleries (so, basically, doing exactly what a non-profit art space ought to). This makes me curious about the type of works they’ll be selling this weekend, since so much of the art they exhibit is of an impossibly large scale.
Muriel Guepin Gallery: This new-ish Boerum Hill gallery has been around a couple of years now, and snapped up an impressive roster of mostly Brooklyn-based artists, which gives their stand a nice locavore twist. The strong emphasis on meticulous, obsessive paintings and drawings should also play well in the context of a an art fair, where it can be really difficult to get sucking into individual pieces.
Place Contemporary: One of only a couple West Coast exhibitors (no L.A. galleries? weird), this Seattle gallery reps its regional artists well, making their small but rich selection of Pacific-Northwest painters, illustrators and photographers a nice alternative to the New York-London-Paris axis that seems to dominate at the AAF. There’s definitely a consistent aesthetic here: weathered, drippy, color-drained and nature-inclined (just like Seattle!).
LM Galerie: This Parisian gallery, with its roster of exciting, young-ish artists offers some support to the art world rumor that France’s capital is turning into a major player again. Most of their artists haven’t had much States-side exposure, yet, but this will be a good introduction to some artists you’ll likely need to know in the near future.
The Affordable Art Fair continues through Sunday evening.
(photo by lkuah.fotografia)