This year’s Volta NY spoke many different dialects, but most of them seemed to stem from the same language. Although there were a total of 95 galleries exhibiting, with works ranging from the very minimal to the very ornate, a large chunk of the art on view was either obliquely or transparently narrative
The fourth edition of the Independent art fair, among the plethora of shows popping up during Armory Week, is akin to the children’s tale of The Little Engine That Could, and in the end, it did. Compared to the Armory Show, which was like a trip to Ikea (one exhibitor in fact was selling furniture), and Volta, which dared to be different (I skipped Scope), the Independent was part art community, part church sale, and part paean to art team building that was sure to include nonprofit organizations like The Kitchen, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Printed Matter, and White Columns. It was especially sensitive in dedicating itself to New York organization’s that were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, such as The Kitchen and Printed Matter, and not exactly embraced by FEMA compensations.
Let’s face it: navigating Armory Week and all its various satellites is a bitch. With so much art to see and endless booths to maneuver, it’s all very daunting. But we love it. Well, at least I love it.
Spontaneity and taxis are the two things I rely on the most. Spontaneity, because one should always open to possibilities, no matter what the schedule might dictate. Taxis, because who in their right mind wants to walk the five long-ass blocks to Pier 92, where the Armory Show’s Modern section was housed, from the subway (with a headwind off the Hudson River that somehow affects travel in both directions)?
Wading through the crowded opening of the Independent Art Fair, held in the former Dia:Chelsea building with its ridiculously narrow stairway, I found myself doing more reading than gazing at art. While this was partly due to the inclusion of Printed Matter, the seminal alternative book and zine store that sustained massive losses from Hurricane Sandy, it was also because the galleries and nonprofit spaces in the Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook–founded art fair leaned heavily on conceptual works.
The grad school option …
The ADAA Art Show marked its 25th anniversary this year, and the 2013 edition at the Park Avenue Armory was definitely a very mature, stately fair, with only the slightest of dark undertones to its otherwise unsurprising, but elegantly sleek, presentation.
Most art fairs in New York City this week are bombastic affairs. New City Art Fair, by contrast, is not one of them. The mission of this fair is to feature original artwork by contemporary Japanese artists. To achieve this goal, Kentaro Totsuka, the director of New City, invited eleven Japanese galleries to display their wares.