Every April, there is a buzz in the air and it’s not the bees pollinating the flowers but the frantic art collectors flocking to the Spring Edition of Affordable Art Fair in midtown Manhattan. Since its founding back in 1999, this art fair has made its core mission to tear away the veil of art buying and make it a pleasurable rite to new or seasoned collectors.
Arte Fuse came to the venue with verve and so much anticipation of Affordable Art Fair’s spring offerings. There were original paintings, photographs, sculptures, and prints priced from $100 – $10,000 but over all half of the works were at prices well below $5,000. The following are just the special mentions that caught our eyes and sent our hearts a flutter.
First stop Booth F – 3 Manifold Editions based in London, UK had the superstar of the lot dotted by the ever-infamous Damien Hirst. If you want to nab a blue chip piece of art then this is the only game in town and ripe for the picking. Whatever you plunk down for a Hirst will be a worthwhile investment return.
A little further down at Booth F – 8 was Tria Gallery (New York) presented the works of Koosuke IRKT Ikeda with his unique mix of Pop and Street Art. This Chelsea based gallery had also other works on display but Ikeda was on hand to represent his paintings as a true urban flavor of the Big Apple.
Now we bask in the sun of Laguna Beach, CA with JoAnne Artman Gallery at Booth D – 8. This West Coast gallery had the art of James Verbicky (mixed media resin set paper strips) and the graphic stylings of America Martin.
On the same row we head over to the Northwest (OR) and the very fine Americana arts with a twist selection from Portland Fine Art at Booth D – 4. Sand blasted magnificence from Lawrence Morrell, taxidermy deer heads in neon delight by Rachel Denny, the strong brush works and vibrant colors of K Silve’s acrylic on canvas, and Eugenia Pardue with her tone on tone Baroque but bucolic splendor paintings.
Biomorphic and in the blaze of punchy colors define the work of Tim Garwood represented by Alicia David Contemporary Art based in London, UK at Booth C – 2. This is a part deux mention for a gallery from across the pond. Rule Brittania!
When it comes to photography & prints, Magnum Photos Booth C – 6 (New York/ Paris/ London/ Tokyo) is the premiere purveyor and they had a great selection of collector’s items, with open or limited edition prints, and great silver gelatin iconic works. They are sought out by collectors and their presence at the fair proves you get the big players willing to make the works accessible to anyone.
More London calling with Arch 402 Gallery (UK) at Booth A – 4 with the eye catching or rather eye-dripping work of Pure Evil. Taking the appropriated image of Jackie Kennedy and making it nightmarishly chic with pools of paint dripping from the canvas itself – what more can you ask for? Better get stain master carpeting though.
From the known world capitals, we head over to the land of Flamenco and bullfighters with Galeria Gaudi (Madrid, Spain) Booth A – 10 / A-B with its eclectic selection of art. From oversize sleek shopping bags hawking designer brand names to plaster cast human hearts lining the wall, it is an irreverent homage to what tugs at the heart when it comes to contemporary art.
A familiar face from last March at Pool Art Fair was Victoria Kovalenchikova with her works featured in her namesake gallery (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) Booth G – 12. You would never guess that the rough hewn and massive canvasses of nature or painted town views were created by this lovely artist.
And finally winding down, we saw a group of women getting their photos taken as it captured the spirit of what makes this art fair fun. However, it was in their booth that a couple of works stole our hearts away. Decorazon Gallery (London, UK) at Booth E – 8 book ended the night with a pair of impressive works by David E. Peterson (the plaid series) and Erin Cone (her romantic yet haunting figurative realism) were really remarkable. When you see something of note, it gives you that fuzzy feeling. And the buzz word is one of them is touted as the next hottest artist from industry trade publications while the other is being courted by the Whitney Museum to purchase for their collection.
All in all, Affordable Art Fair gave a very substantial choice for art lovers and collectors with their Spring Edition. It is quite a feat to start with a mission to make art a pursuit for anyone with a penchant for aesthetics but on a budget then grow it into the most attended art fair in the world. With the international variety of participating galleries, this art fair has become a global brand but the spirit of fun is still intact. For that alone, it is fair to say that Affordable Art Fair puts a spring in your step and can make your heart skip a beat.
The 11th Annual Spring Edition of Affordable Art Fair NYC
Fair Dates: April 18 – 22, 2012
7 West 34th Street. New York, NY (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Tickets at the door: $12 / Students & Seniors: $10 / Kids under 12 are FREE
article and photos by: Oscar A. Laluyan
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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