SCOPE LOS ANGELES, Held at The Standard Hotel Downtown  18-21 July 2003

Review written by Debra Stevenson  -  Design Studio

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 setting.

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 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 fun 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 d�cor 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 events at



Bradley McCallum / Jacqueline Tarry:  Priska Juschka Fine Art, Brooklyn NY or

Cathy Daley:  Newzones Gallery of Cont. Art, Calgary Canada  or

Gae Savannah:  Art Resources Transfer, NYC  or

Jeff Hand:  Plus Ultra Gallery, Brooklyn NY   or

Karen Azoulay:   or

Mario M. Muller:  DCKT Contemporary, Inc. NYC  or

Nick Maus and Shelby Hughes at Daniel Reich:

Orly Cogan:  or

Ralf Ziervogel:  Rare Gallery NYC  or

Russell Nachman:  David Hunt or

Scope Art Fair:  Robert Curcio at

Suzan Woodruff:  George Billis Gallery, NYC  or

Vonn Cummings Sumner:  Stevenson Fine Art  or

William Fong Curatorial Projects:


Review written by Debra Stevenson  - Design Studio - LA Fashion


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