Spring is the time for the biggest art shows in the city. Following The Armory Show, another huge exhibition takes over Pier 94 on the Hudson – Art Expo. Though these two shows often use a similar image of the aerial view of the Hudson River piers, there’s a big difference between the two.
This is year Art Expo started to be called a trade show. This is a more fair approach to what’s going on on Pier 94, in comparison to The Armory Show. At The Armory Show, contemporary artists are represented by the galleries. The work is highly curated. Commissioned artists are a talk of the town. And there is usually a main theme within the show. In 2016, for example, it was devoted to African Art. The sections of the show are zoned according to the concept. Huge attention is paid to collectors and special guests. A private viewing room, available for an hourly rent, was introduced this year at The Armory Show for the first time in its history.
Art Expo is about self-exposure and self-efforts of various artists to take a chance to show their art in New York. Considering the fact that, obviously, a budget of an average artist is smaller than of a gallery, artists often get united into the groups to be able to rent a pretty expensive small booth. Along with that, the exhibitors tend to put as much art on the walls or a floor space as they can physically bear. As a result, the booths are stuffy, and a visitor gets suffocated very soon. Moreover, this year it’s quite hard to navigate the show – no maps were offered, and there were no spots where the maps could be easily found.
As an artist, educator, and writer Kit White says, “Art can be anything”. So let’s not judge the value of the work presented at Art Expo. If there is a buyer, there is a seller. However, the thing is that in a rare case one can get educated at Art Expo: this is not a curated exhibit, it’s a trade show, indeed. Which gives the certain specifics to the appearance and presentation: for example, you can find a big section called “Art Factory” where artworks are stocked in piles. You find, view, and choose the canvas by lifting the pile.
We picked a few booths which were of a better curation, and thus looked more appealing.
Painting and Mixed Media: Michael Nicholas, artist, musician, USA. At the Art Expo 2016 he presented his Sky Series, “The all-seeing, ever-watching abyss”. “[It] is based on the night sky. When we look upward on a clear night, we are looking into an abyss—time and space go on forever. But this abyss is also looking back at us,” – Michael explains. His booth looks perfect. Often, less is more.
Painting: Caiyuxuan Gallery from Beijing drew the attention – a wholesome presentation of Chinese art, a ‘vintage style’ pile of Chinese ink paintings… It gave a slight impression of an authentic bazaar, in a good way.
Photography: Guto Seixas, Brazil. The artist does the vast range of photographic work. However, his booth at the exhibit was devoted exclusively to the studio photographs of horses. The studio was designed in stables, and the beautiful animals became the photographer’s muses and models.
Street Photography: Emmanuel Peterson, Paris. A series of street scenes is presented in a casual, but carefully curated way. You’re looking through each photograph, trying to read a story of the place and people. In the best traditions of our New York’s Soho Photo Gallery.
Sure, there was more art worth the visitors’ attention. However, there was also a lot of stuff seen multiple times before. The good thing about the whole concept of Art Expo is that your art should be seen! Rather than procrastinating about an unfair art world, it’s better to get up and put your efforts in having more exposure. New York City is a great place, where people love art. Let them see it and, hopefully, buy it. A ‘starving’ artist should be an old-fashioned norm. We are wishing you thriving.