Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Art Expo and the Met

Luminous Winter, 2005, Oil on Panel, 5x5

On Friday I spent a few hours walking through Art Expo. This is a huge art fair and for the first few days it is open to the trade only, galleries, corporate art buyers, interior decorators etc. It is overwhelming to see so much in one place. Even just looking at one booth is too much. The booths are expensive and everyone tries to display as much as possible since the public can come in on the last few days to shop which helps to recoup the show expenses. Most of the work was pretty slick and commercial, some of it was ok and most was just boring and without soul. Actress Jane Seymour had a booth displaying her art. There is a separate more exclusive section called The Pavilion and there were some really interesting things there. Kathryn Markel, who represents work that I like had a booth at The Pavilion and I really enjoyed the work by Allison Stewart. Also, individual artists can exhibit in a smaller sized booth. I considered doing this a couple of years ago but decided not to because it is expensive (though much less than a regular booth) and if you don't sell enough, you can be out thusands of dollars. I walked through the Solo Artist section hoping to see something unique and the artists looked at me desperately, their eyes begging me to stop and buy something. I wasn't really shopping and so I immediately felt guilty. I felt like saying "I am you!" Instead, I suspect that I looked like a middle aged woman to them, out shopping for art to hang over the sofa in my suburban home. Doug says that the viewing and shopping crowd was sparse, at least by comparison to the last few years. I did think that there were some nice things there, however, I got into a daze after a few aisles and if I did see anything I liked I can't recall it.

Saturday, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I used to visit the Met often while I was in college in the eighties. I saw a Caravaggio show there once and a few others that I don't recall right now. The last time I was there was in the early nineties I think. So it was really nice to go through it again with a different perspective. We mostly looked at the European, American, and Modern collections. It was comforting to see my old faves; Vermeer, van Gogh, Sargeant, Rembrandt, Monet, Cezanne. I also really liked seeing the work of Mark Rothko (although I think the pieces at MOMA are better), Willem deKooning, Jackson Pollock, and Anselm Kiefer. When I was in college I saw their work and hated it. I mean really hated it. Now I have much more respect for their works and actually consider them to be among my favorite and most inspiring artists. I sat and looked at deKooning's Easter Monday and can't believe that I had never appreciated it's vibrancy and subtleties. We spent a lot of time with Bohemia Lies by the Sea by Anselm Kiefer. It is huge and has a fabulously thick texture, in fact, it looked like chunks had come off here and there. It was fascinating to look at and enjoy. Also, another more contemporary piece I liked was a huge landscape by Stephen Hannock who just so happens to be represented by The Harrison Gallery which also will be soon representing me! How cool is that?! Anyway, the piece was beautiful. I had seen it on the internet before, but what you can't see on a screen is that there is a lot of handwriting within the image which gives it a whole new meaning. It's easy to look at art on the internet but seeing this piece reminded me of how important it is to see art in real life.

We then visited several galleries. However I think I will write about them tomorrow, as this has become long. The painting that I am showing today was recently referred to by a gallery director as a "mini-Rothko." I wish! I am currently reading a biography of Rothko and am really enjoying it. I hadn't known much about his background, so it is interesting to learn about him.


Clint said...

What seemed to be the average price for artwork there? How does it compared to AAF (if you have ever been)?

Tracy said...

There were a wide variety of prices, a few hundred dollars to well over a $100,000. Most were in the two to ten thousand range, I'd say. I have not been to AAF, so cannot make a comparison.