The booths were dismantled, the laptops stowed, and the unsold art crated and shipped back to its points of origin: LA, Chicago, New York, Boca Raton, London, Basel, Milan, Helsinki and elsewhere. Thus, the inaugural edition of Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, Art Miami’s new international contemporary and modern art fair on the West Coast, came and went. What to make of yet another art fair?
The overall visual impression of the fair was one of elegance and respect for the presentation of high-quality works of art. Art Miami understands the need for graceful traffic patterns, strategic sight lines, great lighting, understatement and premium galleries. That said, there was a dismaying abundance of shiny, slick, smooth, deeply glazed and lacquered luxury objects that resembled refugees from a Sharper Image catalog — work that is all technique and content-free process. Perhaps it’s the nature of art fairs, with their force feeding of an enormous amount work into one room that reveals just how rare original and meaningful art is. The best one can hope for, then, is that artists work from a place of need rather than taste mongering, and that they reject the allure of brand polishing or participation in predigested classifications dressed in the look of art – what Jerry Salz called “zombie abstraction.” One might also hope that collectors will be smart enough to recognize the difference, too, although that may be asking a lot of novices.
Born 1929 in Tahiti to French parents, Vaea was educated in France, and then moved to France, Australia and Japan before settling in the U.S. in 1953. On view were three of his sculpted ceramic “saddle forms” referencing his Australian cowboy days. Like Franz West’s ambiguous sculptures or the iconic Slant Step, these pieces appear familiar and utilitarian, yet ultimately function as a springboard for indeterminate ideas.
was also long overlooked, art that employs fiber, textile and needlecraft can is accumulating interest, and can no longer be sidelined as craft. It bestows powerful language and presence in contemporary art. Amos’s collograph construction, First Bounce, is a genuinely odd work of linear invention. Using printing, fabric, collage, and stitching, the work is an exhilarating spectacle of invention and rhizomic play.
nothing to buy, nothing to sell. The exchange is one of germinal ideas created between individuals — ideas that may coil into something new. Or not. Unlike objects that may dissolve into irrelevance, ideas are evergreen, supplying a constant source of inspiration and renewal.
Mel Smothers says
Welcomed the opportunity to read Julia Couzens review since I’ve only seen her visual work. She found a way of saying what many N. Ca artists seem to empirically know, but find missing in the greater art fair world.