High Wattage at VOLTA NY

[imagebrowser id=84] Armory Week is like the Super Bowl Sunday of the art world in NYC. Arte Fuse made its first stop at VOLTA NY on March 8, 2012 that had their installation on the 11th Floor of a high rise opposite a renowned landmark – The Empire State Building (ESB). What can outshine a New York City icon like that? VOLTA NY proves that it can go toe to toe with the ESB for this weekend by showcasing the most nuanced and brightest in the contemporary arts.
 
VOLTA NY is an invitation only solo project fair for contemporary art. The selection on the whole 11th floor ran from very polished to super conceptual but across the board it did not shy from being bold and bright. For anyone seeking the newest vanguards of the contemporary realm, this is a must see during Armory Week as paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, video art and more abound. Booths had a lot of New York galleries represented but it ran to the international route with countries such as the UK, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, etc. The layout was pretty easy to navigate with signage done alphabetically from A to Volta Avenue. A full service café and lounge also gave respite from the overwhelming selection of art on view and for the scrupulous collectors who need a few minutes to decompress after charging a lot on the Black Amex.
 
Arte Fuse stopped at the booths and gladly found several gems, which turned out to be recently featured familiar figures in our online publication. This certainly confirmed that we are in the zeitgeist of what is up and coming in contemporary art. Booth E8 had the organically shaped plastic sensation sculptures of Martin Schwenk showcased by number thirty-five gallery. Cindy Rucker who was recently featured in our Q & A was present along with Brad Silk and her assessment of the day’s pace was good thus far. There’s no time for downtime and the leafy green sculptures can most certainly provide atmospheric Zen once it gets hectic.
 
Moving on near the elevators and close to the café was Booth P1 with Culture Shock, a Brooklyn based gallery that invited Arte Fuse via email to drop by and say hi. A Brooklyn flavored old school iconography wall of Boom Boxes had me wishing I had day-glo colors and acid washed jeans again but the iPad display panels on the perimeter was a shot of now technology. As you played with the patterns by gliding your fingers on the iPad screen – sounds emit from the said boom boxes. What an awesome clash of the 80’s and 2012! The Boom Boxes came from the photo series of Lyle Owerko. Interactive art is great and Hugh McGrory, the creative director of Culture Shock, said that this whole idea of using an app to supplement a whole sound grid is employed by the likes of avant-garde musical artists such as Bjork. (Too bad that a talk in the Armory was scheduled at the same time for Bjork to speak on this subject – which makes me seriously considering cloning myself.) But what can one writer do with a busy schedule of more art fairs? Hey, I’m just glad that Brooklyn was in da house and I almost did Break Dancing but decided against it for fear of breaking something.
 
And adjacent to it, another booth with a gallery based in Cologne, Germany that was representing no other than Jason Gringler, who was also recently featured by AF as one of the three artist showing new works at The Proposition in the Bowery. The broken glass gave it away and I’m pleasantly surprised that I bumped into this artist again. Jason was gracious in sending me this “thank you” e-mail for attending last March 4th at his opening. Serendipitous meeting aside, I’m pumped to see several of Jason’s magnificent destructed works of art and when it came time to take a picture of him – shall we do the usual? If the picture of Jason Gringler looks the same – trust me, this was not recycled and actually taken at VOLTA NY.
 
As I traveled the several avenues of VOLTA NY, I came upon A4. There was a porthole and people were peeking. I saddled up and saw the sculpture-photography diorama of Patrick Jacobs. His work represented by The Pool NYC is meticulously crafted and finely toned as this other worldly realm you can get lost in. And a little further down at the rear of the exhibition floors – I saw a performance artist peeling stickers and putting it on her naked torso. Her face was covered and most of her breasts but she kept on applying the stickers all over even at her back. She mimicked the portrait of a sticker-covered head, which I thought resembled a medieval chain link mask. Rapt fascination had my camera out and people with camera phones followed suit. Some were even engaged in talking to the woman. Maybe they want to know if they can hire her for parties – Hey! This is New York and anything goes!
 
To sum up my VOLTA NY experience for Armory Week 2012 – it was a very bold and concentrated selection of contemporary art that makes a bright strong impression. Pretty much a 100-Watt light bulb to bare what is there. Art in this case does not cower in the dark and shows that the participating galleries are not timid to let it all hang out.
 
VOLTA NY
7 West 34th Street, 11th Floor (between 6th & 5th Avenues). New York, NY
 
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan

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