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Art Fair Hopping by Richard Solomon

By |March 19th, 2013|Uncategorized|

The weekend of March 9th was art fair time in NYC. Many fairs were going on simultaneously around town and I had the pleasure to attend two.

The first was Fountain Art Fair featuring many up and coming artists showing at a diverse mix of worldwide galleries. My favorite pieces were done by Orlando Arocena, an artist that wears many hats including creative director, fine artist, illustrator and brand consultant.

His work has a clean graphic simplicity that evokes 30s mural art which was so popular in large scale environments at that time. He had on display 6 works which explore the combination of traditional and contemporary aesthetics, a "mash-up" of influences from Advertising and the Cultural arts – delivered through a digital medium called Vector.

Orlando Arocena

My second stop was also at an armory, the Park Avenue Armory. This show was a far cry from Fountain, having been organized by the Art Dealers Association of America, a trade association of the nations leading galleries. Many of the works are by heavy hitters of the contemporary art world as well as the greats of the 20th century. I have picked two pieces that I would love to have in my home. Incidentally they both came from the Mary-Ann Martin | Fine Art.

My eye was immediately riveted on a large rather dark oil portrait of a very intense looking man. I couldn't take my eyes off this piece… So Strong and unforgiving, turns out it was a self-portrait of the great Mexican Artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros.

David Alfaro Siqueiros
Note from Mary-Ann Martin | Fine Art:
"Excerpt from the catalogue for Portrait of a Decade: David Alfaro Siqueiros,1930-1940 by James Oles, 1997: “The inscription on this solemn self-portrait indicates that it was painted in Taxco in March 1930, just prior to the artist’s incarceration in Lecumberri, Mexico’s federal penitentiary. Siqueiros was therefore familiar with the remote colonial town, located in the mountainous state of Guerrero, before moving there after his release in November.

In this work, the artist places himself within an awkward and claustrophobic interior; his head is framed by the corners of two unadorned walls that jut deeply into the background. Similar spaces appear in the portrait of Moisés Sáenz and Emiliano Zapata, and in Proletarian Mother, although the walls here are much more simply articulated. In each case, however, the juxtaposition of the human figure with architecture increases the relative scale, and thus the solidity and monumentality of the subject.

Siqueiros wears a blue work shirt, the costume of a man who a few years before had organized his fellow muralists into a ‘syndicate’ of craftsmen, and who had just spent several years as a union activist among miners and peasants in the state of Jalisco. The shirt is thus symbolic of his role as a member of the proletariat, rather than of the artistic elite of the capital. His deeply tanned features are also indicative of a life spent outside of the ivory tower. The crossed position of his arms, reminiscent of the pose of ancient Egyptian kings, serves to distance the subject from his audience. Indeed, this is the only self-portrait in which Siqueiros revealed so much of his own body. The look of confidence, however, would appear repeatedly in his self-representations throughout the decade.” "

Isabel De Obaldia

The other work was a sculpture that at first glance looked like it had been unearthed from an archeological dig, taken from a lost civilization. This sculpture was done by Isabel De Obaldia, a contemporary artist living and working in the Canal Zone inside Panama. This work is entitled "Blue Idol" and touched a strong cord in me.

I have passed the stage of analyzing why or how artwork "gets to me". But these three works stopped me in my tracks and that is what wonderful art does. It stops you in your tracks.


Art Basel Miami

By |December 18th, 2012|Uncategorized|

I've just returned from a week at the annual Art Basel Miami Art Fair and what a week it was.

20 separate fairs showcasing everything from the big names: Picaso, Braque, Chuck Close, Richard Prince, and Henry Moore, to the young and upcoming artists from every part of the world. There were individual fairs dedicated to graffiti art, contemporary Asian art, environments, and sculpture, etc. Art Dealers from Buenos Aires, San Diego, New York, Madrid… you name it, were buying, selling and showcasing.

And the people watching… don't get me started, let's just call it "a show". This is a place to be, and to strut your stuff.

Needless to say, I enjoyed myself for what has become an annual pilgrimage.

I was lucky to have my artist, Mark T. Smith as my wing man for the week's festivities. Mark's studio is in Miami and he is a font of knowledge about where to go and see the most interesting art as well as what to do after dark.

If you love art and need a break in early December, come down to Miami to take the pulse of the current art market.

What follows are some pictures from the fairs.

Art Basel Miami Art Fair Catalog

My Favorite Photograph by Robert Polidori
Senora Faxas Residence,
Miramar, Havana, No. 1, 1997
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print
40 x 50 inches

My favorite painting by Edna Reindel
The Bull Fight, about 1936
Oil on Canvas
25 x 30 1/4 inches

Peter Sarkisian
Registered Driver, Door, 2010
Molded fiberglasses, steel,
clear polycarbonate, vellum,
video projection, and audio.
42 x 50 x 18 inches.

Li Hui Sculpture entitled "Cracked" with the artist in foreground.
Artist was flown here from China for Art Basel week.


Li Hui Sculpture entitled "Cracked" detail

SeonGhi Bahk
Relationship 2012
110” x 36” x 36” / 110” x 16” x 16”
Charcoal, nylon, threads, etc.
Enrique Chagoya
Liberty, 2006
Jacquard Tapestry, Number 3 of 8
72” x 74”
Chuck Close
Brad, 2009
Jacquard Tapestry, Number 5 of 10
104” x 78”
Enrique Gomez de Molina
Enrique Gomez de Molina

Mark T Smith