VOLTA NY Fair Opened with a Boom
USA- New York, NY | Mar 10 2012 | (01:10:00 - EDT)
With the energy of a Brooklyn b-boy, VOLTA NY's 2012 fair opened with a bang. Or, more appropriately, a BOOM!, the titular site-specific combo of technology, art and awesome tunes at Culture Shock central. Crowds coalesced around Lyle Owerko's vintage boomboxes and iPads playing Glenn Marshall's dynamic animations. They were jamming along to on-the-spot dance-offs in the lounge and streetside, led by Dynamic Rockers champ Victor "Kidglyde" Alicea and joined by Melanie Aguirre, Soraya Lundy, "Poker", and "Supaman". It was intense.
There was art: walls and elaborate installations of art, and tons of it flying off those walls. That was the case at Boston's Steven Zevitas Gallery, who sold about 19 of Whitney Biennial 2012 artist Andrew Masullo's sunnily chromatic abstract paintings ($6,000-12,000). The Hague's Livingstone Gallery sold one of Ryan Mendoza's dramatic oils just from its invitation image ($12,000), plus works on view at VOLTA NY ($17,500-$25,000).
Milan's Magrorocca sold four lines from a six-line grid of Francesco Merletti's intimately-scaled figurative paintings ($2,000 per line), plus several others in a range of sizes ($4,000-$7,900). Meanwhile DODGEgallery sold all three of Sheila Gallagher's mesmerizing melted-plastic paintings ($15,000-$16,000), with a waitlist on more to arrive. Valencia's espaivisor - Visor Gallery recorded a massive first-day win, selling a statement work ($49,000) by Croatian New Art Practice artist Sanja Ivekovi?. Her concurrent survey retrospective Sweet Violence at MoMA is still drawing crowds.
Cologne's Galerie Stefan Röpke noted museum- and curatorial-level interest in Jason Gringler's shattered, mirrored abstract works, plus interest in possible commissioned projects. Los Angeles gallery Blythe Projects received tons of interest for James Clar's light and metal sculpture, ranging from Microsoft and an art advisor for Twitter's new San Francisco space, to a Dan Flavin collector.
"I've done a lot of art fairs, and they're not all like this on the first day!" said dealer Ischa Tallieu of Ghent's Galerie Fortlaan 17, who'd sold Lotte Van den Audenaeren's iconic dibond print little black mess (approx. $6,000) and noted enormous interest for her other works.
Nordic buzz was strong at the fair. Copenhagen's LARMgalleri sold most of their booth, moody oils of varying sizes by Nicola Samori ($2,000-26,000), and noted foot traffic from Danish institutions Gammel Strand and the Aros Museum. Helsinki's Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary sold a palladium work ($4,500) by Liisa Lounila simply from its VOLTA NY catalogue image. Stockholm's Galleri Flach received enormous interest for Andreas Johansson's meticulous pop-up book photo-collages, on view for the first time in the States.
"FANTASTIC, with capital letters," said Andreas Kuefer at Aureus Contemporary (Providence/Basel), adding that approximately half of Karim Hamid's paintings had sold already, with others on reserve. "The staff, the venue, the atmosphere were all top-quality." Berthold Pott of Cologne's Chaplini remarked that approximately 90% of visitors immersing in Ralf Dereich's large, gestural abstract paintings were women, many who kept long, intimate conversations on the work and expressed deep interest.
That was the beauty of VOLTA NY's solo-artist presentation, said artist Jeff Perrott, whose own colorful paintings were selling at Boston's LaMontagne Gallery. "The depth of work leads to a depth of conversation and interest from viewers, who then buy from that depth." And buy they did, ranging from monotypes ($1,500 each) to the large RW81 (Striptease) ($12,500). San Francisco gallery Marx & Zavattero sold William Swanson's largest paintings first ($6,000-$12,500) to a nationwide range of public and private collections. "It's nice to be in a fair where everything works," said dealer Steve Zavattero.
The extraordinary VOLTA NY preview was attended by a significant cast of renowned collectors and art-world figures, including Michael Hort and son Peter (New York collectors), Karen Feverly (Wellington Management), Eileen S. Kaminsky (of Jersey City, NJ non-profit The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation), Tracey and Philip Reese (New York collectors), Cotta Cohen (Miami collector), Laura Lee Brown (Kentucky collector), Bill Arning (director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston), musician Debbie Harry, artist Terence Koh, art advisors from Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, and Turkey, and many other high-profile international experts.
Cable-TV series Art/Trek NYC was taping earlier in the day, announcing Bronx finalist Christopher Smith as winner of his first-ever solo exhibition. Plus, there was Ignatz Bier fermenting at The HomeBase Project's booth, the non-for-profit, artist-run cultural dynamic. Beyond the b-boys and brews, there was a performance as well. Wilmer Wilson IV's durational work I Voted at Washington DC's Conner Contemporary attracted much media attention. He'll reprise that booth (but not the same performance) on Friday and Saturday.
And that great scent wafting in snippets on the fair floor? All thanks to Aesop and Perrier for their respective cooperation. The skincare goodies in VIP giftbags (and the lotion in the fair bathrooms), plus those refreshing bubbles really added to the effervescent mood on a successful opening day.
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