The Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair 2012
The year 2012 brought a brand-new art fair to the city of Los Angeles: the Affordable Art Fair.
“Affordable” is defined here as $10,000 or less for each work of art. If you were paying attention to the prices at the LA Art Show and the LA Fine Art Show, you’ll realize that restricting an entire show to works under $10,000 is a rather novel concept in art fairs. (Mind you, the kinds of shows I exhibit in are typically way below this price range.)
The Affordable Art Fair is already a big hit in New York and a couple other places. I hope it becomes a regular show here; Los Angeles could use a few more art fairs, especially fun ones like this.
To get to the Affordable Art Fair, all I had to do was walk out of the Convention Center (where the LA Art Shows were held) and cross one street:
…and then climb a bunch of rickety stairs to get to the rooftop deck of LA Live, where a ginormous tent was pitched:
It hardly felt like a tent inside. Sturdy walls, bright lights and carpeting made it very welcoming:
Some of the booths I liked best were right by the entrance, so we’ll start there:
The first booth was the Conrad Wilde Gallery from Tucson, Arizona. I loved just about everything they had on display, including this gnarly wall sculpture (visible in the photo above):
Jessica Drenk, “Cerebral Mapping,” 2012, books, wax and glue, 100×42 inches, $10,000. Conrad Wilde Gallery. It says it’s made from “books” but it looks more like “strips of pages from books” to me. Quibbling, I suppose. More work from the same booth:
Robert Moya, “Untitled 2,” “Untitled 6,” and “Untitled 3,” glue on panel, 14×14 to 24×24 inches, $950 – $1800. Conrad Wilde Gallery.
Joanne Mattera, “Silk Road 125,” 2009, encaustic on panel, 12×12 inches, $2400 (between “Silk Road 120” and “73” above and below). Conrad Wilde Gallery. This is an artist I highly regard; I read her art blog religiously and have heard her speak publicly before. I even have a signed copy of her book about encaustic painting, a medium I greatly enjoy looking at and hope to someday learn.
Pieces by Jessica Drenk (left), John Dempcy (center: “Vent Life,” 2010, acrylic on panel, 36×36 inches, $3200), and an artist (right) whose name I failed to note, sorry. Conrad Wilde Gallery.
Miles Conrad, “Bioslice Pink,” “Bioslice Green,” and “Bioslice Orange,” 2006, encaustic on panel, 10x10x3 inches, $600 each. Conrad Wilde Gallery.
Clearly if I ever find myself in Tucson I need to visit the Conrad Wilde Gallery! I just loved their display.
Moving on, we suddenly find ourselves in the Australian outback:
The Cicada Aboriginal Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.
OK, the gallery itself is located in staid Brisbane, but the artwork is produced by Aboriginal Australians (the native peoples) many of whom live in the outback. I find their traditional art inspirational and exciting to look at, so this booth was a real treat for me. Here are a few highlights:
A selection of works from the Cicada Gallery. Upper left: Yinarupa Nangala, “Mukula Rockhole,” 18×15 inches, $1950. Upper right: Matthew West Tjupurrula, “Ngarru,” 18×15 inches, $1700. Middle left: Maisie Campbell, “My Mother’s Country,” 18×15 inches, $990. Middle right: Wintjiya Napaltjarri, “Pinari Rockhole,” 18×15 inches, $1850. Bottom: Charlie Tjapangati, “Pirrinya,” 12×24 inches, $1600. All paintings acrylic on linen.
Left: Wintjiya Napaltjarri, “Pinari Rockhole,” $1950. Middle: Charlie Tjapangati, “Pirrinya,” $1440. Right: Kayi Kayi Nampitjinpa, “Ngaminya Rockhole,” $1850. All: acrylic on linen, 34×11 inches, from Cicada Gallery.
Returning to the U.S. we pay a quick call on Artspace Warehouse, a European gallery with a relatively new storefront in Los Angeles. The gallery’s focus is affordable art, dovetailing nicely with the theme of the Affordable Art Fair. My friend Barbara Kolo‘s works, the two blue paintings in the center of the photo below, were featured in the booth alongside works by several other artists. At least one of Barbara’s pieces sold at the fair, which makes sense because her work is lovely (and she uses dots, which I think is fabulous!). Congratulations to Barbara, Artspace Warehouse, and the lucky buyer!
Artspace Warehouse, Los Angeles, California.
Meandering further through the fair, I enjoyed this visual feast from the Accola Griefen Gallery from New York, a painting hung on a custom-painted wall:
Here are a few more pieces that caught my eye as I wandered hither and yon:
Mauro Soares, “Vincent,” acrylic, 42×42 inches, $10,000. Offered by Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York. I’ve seen his work before, at the Los Angeles Art Show in 2010. I still love his technique but wish he’d find more interesting subject matter to cover. But his skill is undeniable.
Works by Anat Shiftan & Andrea Bonfils shown by Anelle Gandelman Fine Art. Left: Anat Shiftan, one “Bronze” and 8 “Celadon” pieces, all porcelain, 8×8 inches, $500 each. Right: works by Andrea Bonfils, “Momentum,” 2 panels above (crow in tree branches), each panel 40×20 inches, $4800 for the pair, and “Colored Woods” below, 30×40 inches, $4200, all oil and encaustic on panel. Yeah, I have a thing for encaustic.
At the back of the tent were tables and chairs which I gratefully made use of (and the obligatory Wolfgang Puck cafe, which I studiously ignored).
While resting, I noticed a display of, well, something strange and interesting. I needed to see what it was. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be uber-geeky “maker” stuff, a DIY 3-d plotter called “The Replicator” by MakerBot. They had several of the things set up, whirring away, making 3-d stuff out of molded plastic… very very slowly.
The upper box is the “Replicator,” which you can buy for under $2000. (The lower box is just a display case.) Considering the technology involved, I’m impressed it’s so cheap. Remember when 3D prototyping was cutting edge technology? Now it’s something almost anyone can have at home. Amazing.
Here’s a closer view:
You feed a spool of plastic (it looks like the stuff that goes in a weedwhacker, and comes in various colors) in the back; it gets heated and extruded through a nozzle, kind of like a glue-gun. The nozzle is on an x-y plotter, and moves back and forth quite quickly. The platform it builds the model on moves slowly in the z direction, giving you the ability to create 3-dimensional plastic parts…slowly.
I watched for several minutes. While I could see the nozzle moving back and forth, I couldn’t discern any growth in the model bust. I guess it takes hours.
The hard part is generating patterns for the 3d objects. MakerBot has a huge library of objects you can make, but I’d think the most interesting (and hardest) part would be creating new parts that no one else has ever made.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Affordable Art Fair’s Los Angeles debut, and fervently hope it’ll be back in future years. I think this is just what Los Angeles needs: an easy, comfortable, entry-level art fair where buyers can shop without busting their budgets. I appreciated all the thoughtful touches the organizers put into it. Lots of comfy seating throughout the fair, a reasonable size and layout, a very useful printed guide, extended hours, and (great for cheap folks like me) a special “free entry” time. Thank you for that!
If it comes back, I’ll definitely be back.
Next up: Art LA Contemporary.