Justine Frischmann at VOLTA (and everything else)

Justine Frischmann, whose elegant new paintings on aluminum can be found in a solo exhibition at George Lawson’s area, was spotted with her Two Coats of Paint tote bag at VOLTA this week. According to the VOLTA press release I received this morning, the fair is a huge success–meaning that collectors are attending, and plenty of work has already sold.

Mike Simi takes vent covers and recreates editions in mirrored plexiglass. At $125 each, I want all of them. They’re on display in the SEASON booth, alongside drawings and two sculptures.

I thought readers might be interested in the upbeat VOLTA report, so here’s an excerpt, which tells the art fair story from the exhibitors’ point of view:

Five-time consecutive VOLTA exhibitor (both in New York and Basel) Guido Maus of beta pictoris gallery (Birmingham, AL) was thoughtfully effusive as he held court in a two-artist split booth, featuring Wisconsin’s Leslie Smith III and Portugal’s Manuel Caeiro. “This is the best VIP opening I’ve known at VOLTA NY,” said Maus. “Both in quality of the visitors, with their focused interest, and our receiving and amazing amount of requests and in-depth conversations.” One-third of his booth was accounted for by Vernissage time, and Maus added, “the interest is more than there. This all really reflects on quality of the two artists. Both Leslie and Manuel and their works received numerous compliments.” Nearby and down the A Section corridor, veteran dealer Marc Straus (of his namesake Lower East Side gallery) emerged from his bustling booth, remarking “it’s a terrific crowd, the timing is great, and opening up at 6 to VIPs is perfect.” Indeed, this was VOLTA NY’s first year to open in previews on the same day as and immediately following previews at affiliate fair The Armory Show next door at Piers 94 and 92. The stacked previews created a concentration of top collectors on the floor, including some vying for precisely the same artworks. Following sales of several of Tom Anholt’s multilayered narrative paintings from his new series “Jacob’s Journey,” Johanne Kristensen of Galerie Mikael Andersen (Copenhagen) engaged a chorus of interest in one large Anholt � which had sold early in the preview � both from new collectors as well as patrons who remembered his works from VOLTA11 in Basel last June. Kristensen also recounted collectors’ “happy surprise” and interest in a trio of previously unseen paintings by G�nter F�rg, hung adjacent to and in concert with Anholt’s. “People get that this is Mikael’s personal relationship with the artists,” she said, as both the great, late F�rg and young Anholt had completed their compositions at Andersen’s village studio in rural Denmark. “They see the span of the gallery program this way, in the emerging and the established, and it’s great to have Tom and F�rg exhibited together.”

Returning exhibitor Galerie Kornfeld (Berlin) sold three of William Bradley’s brand-new abstract paintings ($30,000 total) to returning and new collectors, and dealer Julia Ballantyne-Way noted longtime Bradley patrons Susan and Michael Hort loved the works, especially the canvases straight from the British artist’s current Los Angeles studio. “We will be rehanging tomorrow!” Ballantyne-Way added. Mindy Solomon (of her namesake Miami gallery) counted a half-dozen sales of Linda Lopez’s curiously personable ceramic sculpture sets to all new clients, both local and around the Northeast. Meanwhile, Knight Webb Gallery (London) sold four of Juliane Hundertmark’s spookily narrative paintings, including one to an exhibitor at the fair. Michelle Joan Papillion (of Papillion Art, her Los Angeles creative hotspot) took in all the action with her signature sunny smile. “The energy feels really good here,” she said. “I’ve heard a lot of great enthusiasm about Derek [Fordjour, her exhibiting artist] and about us being at VOLTA”, her first time exhibiting at the fair. Across the aisle, Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar of PATRON (Chicago) agreed. Flanked by small-scale ambrotype photographs by Myra Greene, Aguilar recounted, “people we knew were in town and expected to see later in the week came out tonight.” “And that’s meaningful,” added Fischbach, “as they’ve been at the fairs all day.” Veronica Jeric-Binder of Galerie Andreas Binder (Munich) also noted familiar faces from the Armory Show throughout the evening. “It was a ‘good crazy’ yesterday and very cool,” she said, recording a sale of Yigal Ozeri’s photorealistic, cinematic portraits of a young ingenue to a client from the Northeast and interest in more. “It’s great to open on a Wednesday,” she enthused. “Five days is perfect.” “You like good news, right?” queried veteran VOLTA gallerist Arne Zimmermann of Pablo’s Birthday (New York), standing within young Berlin-based artist Pius Fox’s latest charmingly reductive paintings. “Because I basically sold everything and rehung the final two.” Zimmermann counted off 11 of 12 paintings sold by Vernissage time, adding, “it also helps that he’s [the artist] exceptionally good!” Zimmermann’s wife coordinated a direct flight from Fox’s Berlin studio to New York with a final four small-scale paintings, the last remaining before Fox’s upcoming catalogued exhibition at FRAC Auvergne in France next month.

 Pius Fox at Pablo’s Birthday

 Simon Linke at Carriage Trade.

Cyril Moumen, director of Gallery Nosco (London), noted solid response to New Jersey and Cairo-based artist Ibrahim Ahmed’s mixed-media works, adding “I’m very, very happy to have Ibrahim’s works shown in this institutional-type setting, versus a traditional booth format. It feels very special this way.” In debuting Hugh Hayden’s Fossil Fashion series of layered and sculpted (and undeniably figurative) t-shirts, Paulina Bebecka of Postmasters Gallery (New York) recounted that “people who knew Hugh were pleasantly surprised with his new body of work and curious to figure out his next steps.” She added that though only two materials were used in the works’ compositions, fabric and a binding medium, due to their “tree-like presence” many visitors assumed they were carved wood. Hayden chimed in: “some had an ‘aha moment’ when they realized it was T-shirts, and when they hear that’s all they are they still can’t quite understand it.” The artist Doreen Garner, presented by Cindy Rucker Gallery (New York), admitted “This is my first time at an art fair, but the mechanisms I’ve put into place are effective.” She gestured to a statement sculptural work in cast-silicone and other media, noting its visceral connotations and references to forced medical traumas enacted upon African-American women by men of power throughout the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. “People are getting a 3D view because of the mirror behind it,” she continued, “they’re initially attracted to its shiny quality � then they learn the story behind my work and they leave devastated.” Garner paused to consider this. “And that’s kind of my point � for viewers to take something away.”

But I guess we need to take this with a grain of salt. For more Two Coats of Paint art fair picks, check out my Instagram feed.

VOLTA NY, Pier 90, New York, NY. Through Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Related posts:
Interview: Leslie Smith III in Madison, Wisconsin
2016 Spring/Break Art Show Quiz

Brooklyn painters go west
Squeeze Hard (Hold That Thought)


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