Marc Spiegler, Art Basel Co-Director, Maike Cruse, Art Basel Communications Manager, with Amanda Coulson, VOLTA Executive Director and Paul Judelson, VOLTA NY Exhibitor
Greg Boust, DJ from Le Baron
Critic and ArtReview contributing editor JJ Charlesworth
Wildflowers of Manitoba
Artists Andrew and Andrew
VOLTA NY Project manager Creixell Espilla-Gilar and Christian Viveros Faune, curatorial advisor
Curators Nathalie Kovacs and Victoria Brooks
Creixell Espilla-Gilar with critic and curator Paca Barragan
VOLTA NY closed its doors yesterday, and despite a very real global economic downturn, dealers have expressed their satisfaction with the level of sales and also with the celebrated critical format of the fair. The institutional response, together with the support of noted international collectors, has brought significant optimism to artists, dealers and collectors as well as to an art world in search of new exhibition, fair and sales strategies.
VOLTA NY celebrated its opening day with a record attendance of more than 5,000 registered guests and a total of 18,000 visitors for the four days of the fair. This year’s theme, “Age of Anxiety,” addressed the present socio-cultural moment directly through 78 solo artists presentations, showcasing artists and galleries from, among other countries, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Peru, Russia, Slovenia, Thailand and Venezuela.
Troels Carlsen’s work on view at V1 Gallery’s booth, VOLTA NY 2009
Surasi Kusolwong’s installation at HOET BEKAERT, VOLTA NY 2009
As winter snows gave way to comparatively balmy March temperatures, groups of important collectors made their way to VOLTA NY’s premises at 7 West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Among those in attendance were Mickey Cartin, Beth Rudin de Woody, Susan and Michael Hort, Richard Massey, Scott Miller, Sherry and Joel Mallin, Hugo Brown, Jerry Speyer, Frank Williams, Alain Servais, Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, Arnold and Pam Lehman and Anita and Poju Zabludowicz. While the market momentum has slowed considerably, many of these collectors and dealers welcomed the return to a more thoughtful engagement with the artwork on display and the time to consider un-pressured, therefore feeling more confident when finally committing to purchases; some of the work that had particular success was Iraqi painter Hayv Kahraman stylized images of women at Thierry Goldberg Projects’ booth, NY; Alejandro Diaz’s politically charged cardboard signs, neon text pieces and sculptures at Happy Lion, LA: Susan Collis’ precious yet seemingly pedestrian objects at Seventeen, London; Christian Schoeler’s dark portraits at Schuebbe Projects, Düsseldorf; Rina Castelnuovo’s immensely moving war zone photographs at Andrea Meislin, New York; Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong’s playful installation and paper works at Ghent’s HOET BEKAERT gallery and Troels Carlsen’s witty and inquisitive paintings on paper and found objects at V1 Gallery from Denmark. The artist had created his own limited edition T-shirt for those hit harder by the economic downturn, available at Imperfect Articles.
While some work grabbed the spotlight – such as Fernando Mastrangelo’s moving sculpture of a poor coca farmer standing on shards of mirror that recreated a map of Columbia, which ended up in both the New York Times and New York Post’s gossip-mongering Page Six for its controversial use of materials – others spoke more softly but with equal power, such as the moving painting by Indian artist Schandra Singh, depicting the city’s own Twin Towers. Singh–a survivor of September 11th–depicted each tower as made up by people: one is composed of the individual portraits of those who died as a result of the attacks and the other of a pattern of Muslims at prayer. The painting is being donated by the artist to the Ground Zero Museum, who visited the fair where representing gallery Bertrand & Gruner, Geneva, exhibited, even it though it was not for sale.
VOLTA NY held their much coveted opening party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in collaboration with the Guggenheim Young Collectors Council. VOLTA NY and Tribeca Grand Hotel brought together curators Natalie Kovacs and Victoria Brooks to curate a VOLTA NY Special Project entitled, A New Stance for Tomorrow. This three-fold project included a domed installation and performance in the Sanctum of the Tribeca Grand Hotel, a series of short films inspired around, and including the films, of Charles and Ray Eames in the Grand Screening Room, as well as a cinepod installation onsite at VOLTA NY.