The art world has been busy this year with a constant flow of new works, new artists, and new art fairs. 2012 has seen a number of new fairs pop up around town, joining some of the more established shows. Art fairs are beginning to draw greater crowds – more than just the regular interested art buyer, these crowds now include the curious art lover and the idle tourist who happens to be in town at the right time. Catering to both families and individuals, young and old, rich or not, these are fairs are quickly becoming a major part of New York culture and taking place throughout the year. Below are some of the highlights of the 2012 art fairs, many of which will return next year:
Volta Art Fair
Volta takes place in March during Armory Week, at the start of the arts season. Featuring contemporary works of all mediums, this fair is often one of the most exciting and engaging, and this year was no different. Visitors were accosted with art as soon as they stepped on the elevators (through Culture Shock’s video BOOM! Project) and the fun continued throughout the gallery spaces. Volta features solo artists who present eclectic and entertaining artworks (a man made out of fireworks, for example). While you may not want to purchase any of these works for your home (those barely-moving pictures may be a bit too creepy in your hallway), you will certainly learn quite a bit about the art world today and the creativity artists offer. This show is fun for the whole family or even a great date spot! It will certainly return in the spring to show off again – don’t miss it!
IFPDA Print Fair
Although Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc just as the artworks were arriving, the Print Fair was only set back a day and remained open for the weekend from November 1 through 4. Located in the Park Avenue Armory, the Print Fair, produced by the International Fine Print Dealers Association for over 25 years, held many splendid works by artists known around the globe. Rembrandt, Picasso, Warhol, Kandinsky, and Homer were just some of the famous artists represented by galleries in this fair. Many works were offered at prices upwards of thousands of dollars, some even inching toward the millions. The appeal of this show is getting up close and personal with the works of such renowned artists – something a visitor could never do in a museum. The drawings, etchings, watercolors, and other prints on view spanned from Old Masters to contemporary artists with original ideas making the show all the more exciting. Look for them next winter to enjoy the show yourself.
Art Off the Main
This is a fairly new fair this year introduced to New York in conjunction with two other fairs that took place this October at the Javits Center: the American Craft Show and the Contemporary Arts Fair. In part produced by Richard Rothbard and his company American Art Marketing, these fairs presented some of the most eclectic works, but in general, were pieces that were containable enough to be used or admired at home, with affordable prices to match. Art Off the Main presented the works of Latin, Caribbean, and African artists. Beaded statues, vibrant paintings of African masks, and small devotional figures from Art Off the Main joined with works from the other fairs (cinnamon-stick earrings, pastel paintings of sailboats, paper art, cartoon art, and more) to form one cohesive show.
Affordable Art Fair
Much like Volta and Art Off the Main, the Affordable Art Fair presented obtainable works that were interesting and original. The works on view ranged from painting to photography to mixed media and while contemporary in taste, each seemed to have more of a traditional basis to it. These pieces were fun yet tasteful, different enough to begin conversations but not so dramatic that visitors wouldn’t consider purchasing one. Every work on view was being sold for $10,000 or less, with many on the lower end, around the $1000 price range. Some of the biggest hits were works that were seemingly developed from well-known master artworks, like Jane Perkins’ “Girl With a Pearl Earring” or Elise Remender’s “Timeless.” This fair took place in the spring, from April 18-22, a month after Armory Week – nice timing, in a way to not get lost in the rush of art fairs in March. Expect AAF back again in 2013.
While there were many art fairs that took place this year, including the Armory Show and Fountain Art Fair, the above four stood out from all the rest in their efforts to engage visitors in their art and to present significant works that have or could have a place in the history of art. The arts calendar will be just as busy in 2013 as it was this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more exciting and original pieces. Did you visit one of New York’s art fairs this year? Let us know what you thought by commenting in the space below.
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