Saturday started with what else . . . pancakes at Alexander Gray's gallery in Chelsea. Gray was throwing down on the griddle in celebration of Cary Leibowitz's brilliant show, I Love Warhol Piss Paintings. Of course, I wore my hat. Everything about it makes me happy. How could it not? PLUS, it goes perfectly with my APC powder blue winter coat. Yeah. I was stylin'.
Alex's former partner in goodness, Venetia Kapernekas, was serving coffee and French pastries downstairs at her gallery on the 8th floor. I'm always up for more coffee, but mostly I'm always up for more art. Especially when it's as jaw-droppingly good as this show of 6 pencil on wood drawings and 1 painting by Ilias Papailiakis. I had seen the show once before and it really wasn't enough. I don't exaggerate when I say that I could easily spend an hour or two looking at these meditations on desire and death. Only 11"X10" in size they all hold an astonishing amount of sweep and pull. Easily one of my favorite shows in town right now.
OK. Having replaced my blood with coffee I was now ready to hit the fairs.
First stop was the LA Art Fair. I expected a lot and I was not disappointed. Best in show here? Easy. One of the first things I saw when I walked in the door: a couple of Luke Whitlatch drawings at the Daniel Weinberg Gallery. I had been knocked out by Whitlatch's work when I was in LA in August, and here were two pieces. Not only that, but they had one of his paintings in the back. To be honest, I don't know if I can adequately describe what "painting" means to Whitlatch. Hands down, it was one of the best things that I saw all day. The canvas was probably about 18" tall and 6" wide and 4" deep. Whitlatch made a deep fold--more a pocket than a fold--in the canvas about a third of the way from the bottom. In there he placed some old pigment and soaked it a bit to bring it to life. Then, using a nail, he pulled the color from the pocket. All other marks on the canvas seemed to flow from and connect back to the fold and and its gestating color.
Here are two shots from Roberts & Tilton. This is not balanced coverage.
Forget all this art fair bullshit. It's time for a BRITNEY GET BETTER SALE!
Next up was SCOPE. Man. I wish I had like this fair more than I did. Don't get me wrong. There were some real highlights, but overall, hmmm boy.
I was way jazzed about Ryan Humphrey's feverish attack on style in the entryway to the fair. Sorry, but anybody who recognizes the sheer genius of the cover for AC/DC's Back in Black album is ok by me. And the fact that he used a Utopia cover scored him extra points as well.
One of the things that I do like about Scope is, well, its scope. I was thrilled to find Richmond's ADA Gallery. I had only read about them on Martin's art blog. Stephen Hendee's broken and infinite piece looked great in the corner, but it was especially nice to meet gallerist John Pollard and talk about how important it was for him to come to a fair like SCOPE and get the exposure. Amen.
It's funny. I realized that I didn't take too many pics at Pulse. Probably because I was having such a blast looking at the art. One highlight here was Ivin Ballen's work at Winkleman. There's a certain amount of commitment and faith in doing what Winkleman making the decision to focus on just one artist at a fair. Sounds like it paid off too. Go Ed. Go Bambino. Go Ivin.
Another treat was seeing a couple new Jennifer Coates paintings at Kinz, Tilou & Feigen. (Paddy Johnson post a pic here.) It reminded me of Alice Cooper's Love It To Death. The woods they are dark, but the clouds sure are pretty. I'm 18. And I don't know what I want.
And don't get me started on how much I loved Chris Natrop's installation at BANK, one of my favorite LA galleries. It was great to meet gallerist, Lorraine Molina, as well to have a face to put with the email address. And also, to have the opportunity to tell her how much I like her gallery.
Next up was Red Dot. Again, I love hotel fairs because it's such an unnatural event. Even when the art fails to impress there's something beautiful about the whole affair. It's an affordable way for smaller and "out-of-town" galleries that I might not normally have the opportunity to see (Because let's not forget that it's about ME getting to see as much art as possible.) to show their stuff.
It was also great to see Pentimenti from Philadelphia in the house. They have a strong program there. When you visit them in Philly (And you'll want to be doing that.) be sure to poke around and ask about some of the artists that aren't in whatever the current show happens to be. I mean, it never hurts to ask the "back room" question, but it's especially true in Pentimenti's case.
It was also a treat to meet the delightful people from San Francisco's Bucheon Gallery. They show Jenny Dubnau's work so I was ready for the inevitable comment . . . "You look familiar." Yeah. I know. I'm a triptych. You've probably seen my .jpg. Too funny. (That's Dubnau's painting of me below, from her show at Clifford-Smith in Boston in 1999.) They had two excellent (Surprise. Surprise.) Dubnau paintings on display.
At Red Dot I ran into someone that I knew, but wasn't quite sure why at first. Then I realized that it was Elyse Gonzales, an assistant curator at the ICA in Philadelphia. I had met her at the Isaac taping for Zoe Strauss. Elyse introduced me to a friend of hers from school, Gretchen Wagner, a curatorial assistant at MoMA. Gretchen and another friend were throwing a little get-together at a bar in the Village for a loose gaggle of friends. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my weekend. An eclectic group of young curators and artists, it made for an evening inspired and inspiring conversation. In the midst of such a fiscally influenced weekend, it was refreshing to be with a group of people getting together whose primary interest was not commercial. This is very much not a slam against the commercial aspects of the art world. I'm just saying that it provided a really nice balance to the rest of the weekend. It was a fine, Belgian beer-fueled breather. Ahhhh. Big ups to Gretchen and her partner in crime, Ingrid.