For better or worse, an art fair is ultimately about buying and selling. And the buyers are an undeniable force in what is shown. But what about those of us who can often only buy with our eyes?
I’ve walked the SOFA Fair in stolen moments over the last four days. What follows is my own personal Shopping Cart – the one I’d roll home if money were no object.
Of course, my cart ignores the contents of our own booth. I’d obviously roll all of our own work home – and some we will - or we wouldn’t have brought it.
Top of the list is this quiet wall set by Sibylle Peretti at Heller Gallery. Like virtually everything I’ve seen of this artist’s work, it takes me into another world – a place that is both soothing and disturbing.
How does one not fall hopelessly into the details of a work like this?
Very occasionally in our field the contrasts in a work are at least partially anchored in history, as they are in “Dove”, the 210-piece cast and cut crystal Libensky Brychtova panel that adorned the Czechoslovak Communist Party Headquarters until the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
So much for Socialist Realism. Kudos (again) to Heller Gallery for bringing this masterpiece to SOFA.
I’ve admired the work of the young Canberra-trained Japanese artist Masahiro Asaka for the last couple of years.
Having the chance to finally meet him and enjoy a few minutes with his work at Kirra Gallery was a highpoint at the end of our Saturday.
Also out of Canberra, an artist whose current work has taken a meteoric turn, Richard Whiteley was powerfully represented by a piece that I consider the strongest of his career
I’d only previously seen “Two Chambers” in photographs. It is even more powerful in person. My favorite at Ken Saunders Gallery.
All my favorites weren’t on the show floor. Between the amusement hall and the fair hall the dark corridor of Chicago’s stained glass history is an annual trek that occasionally frustrates my hopelessly acquisitive nature.
This quiet Frank Lloyd Wright panel has a timeless purity and integrity that calls out to me each time I pass it.
So, that’s my abbreviated list. There are others, but five is as high as I can count on the last morning.
Of those five, three are still unsold as of the last day, one is beyond the buying power of at least 99.99% of the world’s population and the last one is NFS.
Art fairs may be about buying and selling, but the best art will always transcend the commerce.