Art Basel. Art Miami. You've heard of these huge international art exhibitions that attract the who's who of the art world. I would have totally assumed that there was Art New York; why wouldn't there be? But actually Art New York is only in its second year.
Which doesn't mean that it's not a force. I attended the fair at Pier 94 last Wednesday and wandered for hours through the 150 galleries represented. I was thoroughly impressed and delighted.
I wanted to attend the show to specifically see photographic work by Joshua Jensen-Nagle at the Galerie de Bellefeuille. In Jensen-Nagle's recent works, he takes high aerial photographs of beaches such that the sun bathers, umbrellas and underwater sand patterns become abstractions really. He does have some scenes that are taken at a closer distance which are serene in their lightness and brightness.
I chatted for a while with one of the gallerists in the booth about Jensen-Nagle who is from NJ but now lives in Canada (the gallery is in Montreal but represents artists from all over), He told me about the photographic printing method where the photographs are embedded on slabs of acrylic that are backed with metal (aluminum) that really illuminate the photos and make them pop brightly - almost as if they were lit from behind, which they are not (there were some photos at other gallery booths that did have lighting elements). The mounting is called Diasec, which is the trademarked name for the process....I'm sure I'm way oversimplifying this, so if you want to read more, go to Wikipedia.
Anyway, I loved meditating on his images for a while, before moving on to see the rest of the show. I was at first a bit put off by the $40 entrance fee, but I guess that's just proportionate to the cost of the works, which were generally in the $10,000+ range, however you could get a smaller Jensen-Nagle for $2500, and I did see one or two small paintings for under $1000.
A few themes I noted in the works were the use of 3D elements and rainbow color schemes. There was one artist who's paintings looked like 3D paintings on 2D surfaces, and the images moved as you moved up, down and around the art. It was a crazy optical illusion though! When you got up close, they were in fact painted on wooden 3D panels that stuck out in points from the wall. I feel like I'm not describing this well - think of the shape of a mountain range but sticking out from the wall rather than the ground.
Also, I rounded a corner and saw these photographs and immediately thought: those look like Baltimore. Well, in fact, they were photographs of Baltimore row homes, shown by a gallery from Baltimore.
I really enjoyed the art fair immensely and would love to go back next year. I even ran into an old friend I haven't seen in 10 years! Small world!