Ever wondered what really goes on behind the staid
gallery art scene? Curious about exploring that perennial notion of What
Art Is, and how a purple puddle becomes a Pollack? Then the Scope art fair
is for you. This is art in the raw two floors of hotel suites with doors
flung open wide for your viewing pleasure. Art is displayed informally
across the beds, hung in the shower stalls, affixed to ceilings, windows and
even carved into nearby hedges. Touch, feel, prod and experience both the
provocative artwork and the emerging artists in this informal downtown
Held four times annually in various US cities, Scope
offers the opportunity to truly get intimate with the creative process.
This year's eclectic highlights included room installations by Nick Maus and
Shelby Hughes, two recent Cooper Union grads, who wrapped their bed in a
paper canopy, apparently anticipating an eminent hotel cum treehouse slumber
party. Nearby there was an entire room filled with Karen Azoulay's lurry
a garlic and mesh flypaper installation suspended from the ceiling. Only
the most savvy, art-school flies need apply.
In celebration of women crafters worldwide, Gae
Savannah displayed her colorful series of millinery-bouffant footstool
collectibles (recently reviewed by the New York Times) and Orly Cogan
presented a series of erotic crewelwork, posing a thrilling alliance damour
between masterbation and needlepoint.
Moody, nightsky landscapes were on offer by Suzan
Woodruff, whose acrylic works on fairly large-scale panels nudge at a
distant brewing storm. DCKT showed a continuing series of shadow-play India
inks on paper by Mario Muller, which garnered several commissions and
merchandised well with the graphic, pop dÃ¯Â¿Â½cor of the hotel. Ralf Ziervogel
showed a mature body of meticulously detailed ink drawings on paper which
explored themes both banal and horrific, including his Bill Cosby pullover
and a large work seemingly wrought from Dantes Inferno.
Returning to the West Coast for this show was curator
William Fong ,who presented an ambient series of resin/acrylic etched blocks
by Gabriel Delponte, pink urethane apparel by David Baskin and a small
series by Annie Wharton, whose color-blocked work suggestively follows in
the footsteps of the Eames studio.
For those with a penchant for video, this second
year-second city lineup did not disappoint. Screening continuously was a
disturbing and challenging DVD by Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry,
documenting in real time the lives of homeless youth in Seattle. The more
whimsical Little Black Dress presented by Cathy Daley, navigated the
unexpected foibles of a most ubiquitous garment. Fashionistas with a
cultivated sense of noir, ready your checkbooks!
Enigmatic, saturated watercolors by Russell Nachman
fairly jumped off the walls, and his affable yet slightly manic portraits
like Bocolic seemed to have particularly resonance at this West Coast
show. A crowd bubbled and purred at the Plus Ultra Gallery where Jeff
Hands fake fur canvasses depicted iconic scene-makers and offered tactile
evidence of a thriving art sub-culture. Without a doubt, one to watch is
Vonn Sumner whose oil series of metaphoric self-portraiture all but sold out
and drew discreet collectors from both coasts. With a recent studio move to
Manhattan Beach, the West Coast can once again claim him as our own.
Never have we experienced a more vibrant group of
galleries with passionate young curators who love the art scene and are so
committed to showcasing emerging work. Good luck to Robert Curcio and his
team at Scope. We apologize for not mentioning everybody, and can't wait
for the next event in London!
You can learn more about the future