SCOPE Art Fair 2016 Is Not Afraid to Bring on the Bling
The annual, and unusual, art fair adds a dash of riotous color to Armory Week.
The annual SCOPE art fair provided the usual mix of riotous color and splashy art, combined with more serious, intellectual pieces from an eclectic mix of US and international galleries.
For the second consecutive year, the fair took place in a two-floor building on the far west side of Manhattan, just blocks away from the Armory Show and VOLTA piers. Exhibitors seemed enthusiastic about trying out New York, especially with the main fair just steps away.
“Scope is well established,” said Sandra Jackovcic, director of Osme Gallery in Vienna, noting that the gallery has exhibited in the Miami edition. “We sold quite a lot there and thought we’d try out the concept in New York,” she explained. “With the timing of the Armory show we expect overflow,” Jackovcic added, in terms of the attendance.
The gallery’s large booth featured a lively mix of artists it works with, from Freshwest Design’s eye-catching turquoise glass swimming pool coffee table, to large scale C-prints by Helmut Grill (who is having a solo show at the gallery in June), and beautiful watercolors by Argentine artist Ignacio de Lucca.
Osme also showed work by more established artist names including Yayoi Kusama, Matt Collishaw, and Tracey Emin.
During opening night, Scope announced that artist Aron Belka is the winner of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. The series was launched in 2010 by Russell and Danny Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation and Bombay Sapphire, and involves a nationwide search for the next big name in visual arts, with a focus on emerging multicultural artists.
The atmosphere at Lower East Side gallery Castle Fitzjohns’s large booth felt like a party, with many of the artists on hand to discuss their work. We spoke with Sam Tufnell, whose playful illuminated resin sculptures on plinths immediately called to mind Mike Kelley’s “Kandor” series, as well as with artists the Producer BDB x Flore, who collaborated on a number of large-scale street-art style, resin-coated portraits of icons including John Lennon, Kate Moss, Bob Marley, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. As the artists explained to artnet News, they like to put a contemporary spin on the clothing and accessories they outfit their subjects with—hence Marley in hip jeans and contemporary sneakers and Basquiat with an iPhone in hand.
We also loved an entire wall covered with various colored gummy bear mugshots by artist, Whisbe, titled KaliedoScope (Vandal Gummy), 2016, in which each bear holds a “Department of Corrections, New York” placard labeled “Bear, Gummy.”
We talked as well with Danish photographer Carsten Ingemann, who was on hand at In The Gallery’s booth to discuss his haunting “Darkness” series of photographs. Ingemann told us he spent 30 years as a war photographer before he turned his attention to fine art. He explained that he finds the concept of darkness and the state of mind it evokes perhaps more frightening and unfamiliar as anything he witnessed while documenting various wars around the world. Of the above photo, Creatures of the Night, he says “you don’t know what these animals are, but you know you’re being watched.”
Amid the fun of the fair’s undeniable bling factor, we also enjoyed several more quiet and contemplative works at South Korean gallery, Seoul Contemporary, including Won Young Kim’s three dimensional paper artworks depicting bird wings, and Dong Su Lee’s meditative “Flow” paintings of a bowl and an open book.
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