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SBFA BENEFIT AUCTION FOR HURRICANE SANDY

WITH WITH PADDLE8

APRIL 2013

· PADDLE8,ARMORY SHOW,ARCO,LOS ANGELES,NEW YORK

ARPIL 2013

SBFA BENEFIT AUCTION FOR HURRICANE SANDY

WITH WITH PADDLE8

NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES

REPORT FROM ARCO MADRID AND ARMORY SHOW WEEK, NYC 2013

INTRODUCING NEW SBFA ARTISTS
DANIEL FULLER

WERNER PAWLOK
 

SBFA BENEFIT AUCTION FOR HURRICANE SANDY

WITH WITH PADDLE8

NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES

We are very proud to announce that SBFA's two benefit auctions "Rockaway to BK to LA: Artists and Surfers for Sandy Relief," held last month in New York City and Los Angeles were a huge success. SBFA was instrumental in organizing these two events along with L.A. based artists Angel Chen and Lynn Grayson. With these two events we were able to raise funds for the rebuilding of Rockaway, Queens, post-hurricane Sandy. We are grateful for the tremendous amount of support we received for these events and for all those who turned out, both in New York and Los Angeles for the cause. We would like to warmly thank all the participants, especially those artists who so generously donated work and add a special thanks to our sponsor Marla Hamburg Kennedy who hosted our auction in NYC. We would also like to thank media sponsor Heidi Lee of Editioned Art and Matt Wesson in Venice Beach California, who hosted us at the Waterhouse Project in Los Angeles. Finally, we would also like to thank our dedicated online auction partner and sponsor Paddle 8 and all the collectors who bid on works from New York, LA, Toronto, Chicago, Dubai, Lima and Milan. Thanks to all those involved for making it a huge success! All proceeds will go to the Robinhood Sandy Relief Fund and the Graybeards of Rockaway.

REPORT FROM ARCO MADRID AND ARMORY SHOW WEEK, NYC 2013

Armory Show, 2013

Now in its 32nd year, the premier Iberian Contemporary art fair, ARCO Madrid returned to the Spanish capital this February amidst economically harsh and politically turbulent times. Despite managing to retain high attendance rates, ARCO and its participants have certainly felt the recession. According to some gallerists, the slump in the art market has been further compounded by a dramatic rise in VAT. This increased taxation, as well as the high price of booths, sparked the exit of eight of the eleven Catalan galleries due to appear at ARCO 2013. Despite continued protests taking place throughout Spain, the inauguration of the fair was abuzz with the arrival of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, who attended to admire artwork on display from 202 galleries around the world. Curated sections included the Turkey FOCUS program, with galleries selected by Vasif Kortun, director of SALT, Istanbul; Opening, which featured 22 young galleries; and the Solo Projects: with a Focus on Latin America. Despite free flowing cocktails provided by Bombay Sapphire in the Q:NO designed VIP lounge, the mood at the preview was not nearly as lively as previous years and many international gallerists cautiously brought mid-priced works to the fair. This did not necessarily take away from the quality of the work and there were several interesting booths to take note of. One stand out was L.A. gallery, Honor Fraser 's installation that featured a solo presentation by Mario Ybarra Jr. The entire booth was decked out like a butcher's shop, featuring flat painted sculptures that resembled pieces of meat, a la Oldenburg. This critique of art as commodity was quite fitting within the context of this particular art fair and especially prescient considering the wave of recent criticism by the likes of David Hickey and Sarah Thornton over skyrocketing prices and the driving demand for luxury art from the 1% amid widespread global economic crisis

Mario Ybarra Jr., Honor Fraser Gallery booth (L.A.), ARCO Madrid

Another booth that puzzled and delighted viewers, was the installation at Stockholm's Fruit and Flower Deli. Run by the ever elusive and always entertaining Rodrigo Mallea Lira, the gallery exhibited a group of small monochromatic paintings by Swedish artist Ylva Ogland (also Lira's partner). One could hardly inspect these canvases at close range since the booth was roped off with a gold chain and left unmanned and without lights. Apparently, Lira sold seven of these works for $13,000 each, despite efforts to thwart eager collectors. Another artist whose work I found of interest was Spanish artist Núria Güell at the Barcelona-based ADN Gallery. With titles such as Humanitarian Aid, Police Officers' Contribution, and Displaced Moral Application # 1: Exponential Growth, her works turn established practices and laws back on their enforcers, highlighting the hypocrisy and inequality inherent in many of our institutions. Her work creates a striking example of the potentially fruitful and functional relationship between art and activism, a theme that, not surprisingly, seemed quite prevalent at this year's ARCO.

Back in New York for the Armory Show's 100th year anniversary and Armory Arts week, held from March 5-10, I could barely keep up with the non-stop, breakneck pace of countless art events, fairs and exhibitions scheduled this year. Playing host to no less than 10 art fairs, New York was a buzz with openings, parties, benefits and dinners all over town for collectors, artists and art professionals alike. In between preparing for SBFA's benefit auction for Hurricane Sandy victims at Hamburg Kennedy Photographs in Chelsea, I was only able to fit in 4 fairs: Armory, Independent, Scope and the Spring/Break art Show in Soho. While Armory was really solid this year with several exciting new discoveries, I was thoroughly enamored with the Independent Art fair, held at the former DIA building in Chelsea. Independent's unique approach to the stale commercial art fair formula was conceived of by New York gallerist Elizabeth Dee, gallerist Darren Flook of Hotel Gallery in London, and developed in conjunction with creative advisor Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns. Independent, now in its fourth year, is a curated platform for commercial galleries and non-profit spaces that promotes artists who deal with conceptual, political, and social concerns. It was a breath of fresh air walking into the airy, sunlit, lofty space, devoid of the typical constricting white cubicles. The fact that this was a curated art fair was immediately evident and the airy and engaging environment encouraged exploration, rather than eliciting the usual trepidation over where to begin in a massive maze of competing images.

Slavs and Tatars at Berlin's Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery @ Independent Art Fair, NY 2013

According to Independent co-director Jayne Drost Johnson, "At Independent we let the content of the participating galleries' presentations shape the architecture and design of the project, rather than fitting the work into pre-conceived spaces typical of a more traditional art fair format. There are curatorial considerations that are also taken into account when planning the layout of the project that are not typical of most fairs, so the project feels more like a collective exhibition." With more than 40 galleries and non-profit institutions showcasing works by established and lesser-known artists, spread over three floors, one could have easily spent all day here. Unfortunately, I had to rush through and barely had time to discuss any of the new work that I came across in the relaxing and collegial environment, but a few of my favorite highlights were Berlin's Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery that featured a sparse yet engaging installation of colorful psychedelic silk screens and monochrome computer generated drawings of pot leaves from the 70's by Swedish artist Sture Johannesson (made in conjunction with IBM computer programmer Sten Kallin) and Slavs and Tatars' "When in Rome," an engraving in travertine, paint, colored glass, and Euro coins on the floor that read, "When in Rome do as the Romanians do." Typical of Slavs and Tatar's practice this work turned language into a polyphonic tool for disruption, humor, and unexpected meaning. Also wonderful was a large playful installation by Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan at one of my favorite galleries, Glasgow's Modern Institute. Meyer Riegger, from Karlsruhe, presented the delightful work of Björn Braun, who gathers abandoned birds nests in the wild, and sets tame finches to work festooning them with ribbons and colored thread in his studio. Liam Gillick had some interesting work on view at Maureen Paley, a Pin Board Project from his 2012 show at the London based gallery, and McCaffrey Fine Art had an impressive installation by Benin born artist Meschac Gaba, who recently had a show at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

This year Scope was located at the landmark Moynihan Station at the monumental New York Post Office building on 33rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. On par with the scale of the historic building itself and equally impressive, was artist Al Hamm's massive labyrinthine entrance composed of empty, re-cycled and re-purposed shipping crates. Upon entering the actual fair however, one felt rather let down by the cacophony of banal, commercial and decorative fodder. While Scope did offer a few eye catching, large scale installations, downtown the curator-driven Spring/Break Art Show, located in an old schoolhouse on Mott Street was much more interesting. The group curated show titled New Mysticism explored how digital semiotics, the internet and technology combined with the old relics of 20th century visual culture, to inform a new formal intuition. One highlight that still haunts me was a video work by Jeremy Blake, the talented and successful artist who committed suicide by walking into the ocean at Rockaway beach a few years ago. This psychedelic video work from his Winchester Trilogy was equally parts powerful, terrifying and beautiful and certainly a hard work to forget.

Nick Cave, Performance by Creative Time, NY, March 2013

While I could dedicate a whole other newsletter to the Armory Show itself, one stand out for me was Nick Cave's mesmerizing video work "Blot" and his "Untitled," sculptural work in mixed media at Jack Shainman Gallery. Cave's art world reputation comes from his "Soundsuits," described by Greg Cook as, "lavish, strange, beautifully-crafted outfits resembling mash-ups of African tribal ceremonial dress, Ku Klux Klan robes, Roman Catholic clergy vestments, yetis, Star Wars aliens, plumed and sequined carnival costumes, and fabulous drag queen gowns." In Cave's recent public performance presented by Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit, he took over Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall with a herd of thirty colorful life-size Alvin Ailey dancers dressed like horses in ornate, primitive looking, raffia costumes. Unfortunately, I missed this performance as I was in L.A. for SBFA's benefit auction at the Waterhouse Gallery, but Nick Cave is definitely one to watch and I look forward to catching another one of his live performances in the future.

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