VOLTA NY Turns Up the Power
Solo booths with artists from Aboudia to Thomas Nozkowski expected to bring crowds.
“I completely believe we’re going to double attendance this year,” from about 20,000 to 40,000, says VOLTA NY director Amanda Coulson in a video on the show’s website. She is talking about the fair’s new location at Pier 90, on the far west side of Manhattan, steps away from the behemoth Armory Show, which takes place at Piers 92 and 94. “But I don’t think the fair is going to change that much,” she adds. (See VOLTA Announces Exhibitor List, New Venue.) That’s a good thing for art lovers who have come to prize VOLTA for its carefully curated, invitation-only, and largely single-artist booths.
VOLTA was founded in 2005 in Basel, and held at a former power plant (hence the title) as a satellite of the Art Basel fair. It was acquired in 2008 by Merchandise Mart Properties (MMPI), the same company that acquired the Armory Show in 2007, and has been billed as a sister fair ever since, with the shows cross-honoring VIP access (see What Dealers Are Showing at the 2015 Armory Show and The Go-To Guide for Armory Week).
For the past two years, the fair was held on Mercer Street in SoHo and prior to that in a showroom in midtown Manhattan. Noting how much the landscape has changed from a few fairs to the now jam-packed Armory Show week (see Plan Your Armory Week 2015 With Our Guide to the Best Art on Show and Your Art Agenda: 12 Exclusive VIP Events Not To Miss During Armory Week), Coulson said “asking someone to get on a shuttle bus to go crosstown, that can lose you a lot of people, as committed as they are.”
The solo-artist booth appeals to visitors and exhibitors alike, as it allows for seeing a healthy sampling of a specially selected artist’s work in-depth. And don’t miss the VOLTA artnet Salon, the partnership behind several high-profile panel discussions that will touch on such topics as collecting digital art, the future of the New York art scene (see Why I Believe New York’s Art Scene Is Doomed), and prospects for the Cuban art market after the resumption of ties with the US (see The Volta Salon 2015 with artnet).
“We particularly like Volta NY for the solo booth presentation, as it’s a good opportunity to give the fairgoers a better overall feeling for what this artist does in a way that you can’t do with one or two works in a group booth,” said Jenny Baie, director of Rena Bransten Projects in San Francisco. The gallery will be showing the work of Bay Area artist Marci Washington this year. “We chose Marci Washington for this fair because we believe strongly in her particular vision and stunning technique, all of which will make a strong statement in a solo booth. It is also our hope to get her exposure to curators and clients who might not see the work in San Francisco.”
Ethan Cohen Fine Arts is showing the work of Ivory Coast–born artist Aboudia, who is known for his multi-layered, collage-style paintings depicting “Nouchi” street life and references from his own childhood growing up in the urban suburbs of Abidjan. Spokeswoman Alexandra Loulias said the gallery chose Aboudia “because we believe his work has a strong presence and he brings an edge to the fair.” VOLTA appeals to the gallery because of Amanda Coulson’s leadership and the added plus of the new location. “She has done a fabulous job directing and we are especially looking forward to the new location right next to Armory. With guests projected to double this year to over 45,000, this gives our participation in VOLTA a greater impact.”
Gallery MoMo is showing the work of Japanese artist Katsumi Hayakawa, who creates three dimensional installations and wall works made of paper and glue. Assistant director Momo Sugita told artnet News the goal “at this year’s fair is to introduce Hayakawa’s work—which are not only aesthetic with his high skill but also has elements of his identity—to as many people as possible,” adding that “the format of the fair puts a lot of value on artists the galleries represent.”
The gallery 313 Art Project is participating in VOLTA for the first time, showing recent paintings by Kiwon Park, including the series “Width” (2015). International director Bonaventure Kwak said these consist of several layers of traditional Korean paper on which numerous strokes of line are drawn. “Although deeply influenced by Western minimalism or Dansaekhwa, Park inherits and converges it into a very independent and evolving way,” Kwak said.
Peter Makebish Gallery will be showing work by Romanian artist Adrian Tone. Asked about his selection, Makebish told artnet News via email: “I chose Adrian because I like his process and they are resolved paintings. Powerful gestural work with precision and thought. I love VOLTA. It has a warm team. I participated last year and with great success.“
Denis Gardarin Gallery will be showing work by Rudolf Polanszky, a key figure in the Viennese action movement of the 1960s and ’70s. His “Reconstructions” series of paintings employ varied materials including paint, textiles, wood, plastics, asphalt, and foil.
New Haven, Connecticut gallerist Fred Giampietro is exhibiting at VOLTA for the third time. He told artnet News: “We are showing new paintings by Clint Jukkala and new steel sculpture and paper collage by Jonathan Waters.” He added: “We chose these two artists which we feel have a dialogue with each other. We also feel as though this work is very current and shows a tremendous range.”
And when you’ve had your fill of art, check out VOLTA’s selection of pop-up dining options on the pier. Local chefs Sara Jenkins and Tamara Reynolds return as Er Baretto, their collaborative New Italian project that had its debut at last year’s edition of VOLTA. Aaron Lefkove and Andy Curtin will jointly run a pop-up outpost of their Brooklyn seafood spot, Littleneck. And for your caffeine fix, check out Everyman Espresso.
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