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VOLTA NY

On a very wet day, on the almost frozen banks of the Hudson River, VOLTA NY held its seventh annual exhibition, and inaugural showing at Pier 90 in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. The somber weather minimized the number of competing eyeballs for art and foot traffic on the exhibition paths. Selfishly, this helped me to connect on a very deep level with many of the galleries’ offerings.

VOLTA NY is a platform for challenging, often complementary — and sometimes competing — ideas about contemporary art. The show is related to The Armory, in that it happens simultaneously, however its focus is diffrent. Rather than a gallery exhibition focuses on its largest ticket names, or proliferating its booth with as many recognizable pieces as possible, the shows begs visitors to deeply focus. In short, the show is about organic discovery and solo projects.

Stopping for artsy snacks from Little Neck, Everyman Espresso and Er Baretto, and lots of desserts between the booths, the entire experience felt otherworldly because of the gloomy day and its disconnect with bright acrylic, neon lights and seemingly surreal visuals.

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Lee Price

Lee Price is an American figurative realist painter. Her hyperrealist canvases contain candid, pseudo-photographs concerning the relationship between women and food. Sometimes evoking secret moments of binging, and others featuring lonely moments of tea-sipping in a bathtub, Price captures the quiet war of emotional eating, using herself as the subject.

As a woman, I have been made to feel guilty for eating that extra french fry, for wanting that additional slice of cheese, or for not being petite. Women are constantly ‘food-shamed’ according to antiquated stereotypes of our gender should behave around cuisine. In short: eat little. We are held to impossible etiquette standards, we must be dainty, and yet, we must also be the cooks.

Food, the sustenance of life, and for many a joy of life, is also something which seeks to control us.

I have eaten crab rangoon in a bathtub. I have consumed a bag of Salt and Vinegar potato chips and a box of Oreos silently before a roommate came home. I have sneaked eating Frozen Yogurt on my walk home. I once got into a fight with a best friend over a box of Whole Wheat Strawberry Poptarts. All the aforementioned rest neatly in my annals of food guilt.

Yet, some of my most cherished memories also contain the ignition of my olfactory bulb and gustatory delights: pizza from Jumbo Slice, 2 am chicken tenders from Wingo’s, a Philly cheesesteak, my anniversaries at Dovetail and Colicchio & Sons, a weekend olive oil tasting in Napa Valley, sashimi-delivery-for-two with my boyfriend in the tangled sheets.

It wasn’t until the aughts that a woman finally won Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

I oscillate between a life of gluttony, of flippant uncaring, and of an extreme need to somehow tame my natural urges, and to count a calorie. My friends are all on a perpetual diet. I cannot read a woman-targeted magazine without an article on cholesterol, staying slim, or the right kinds of fats. If left unchecked, I would eat all of the world’s chèvre.

Lee Price, Ice Cream II

But, in truth, I adore food. I adore it at least three times a day. And Price shows this edifying and celebratory (almost orgasmic) side of fare, as well. However, she neglects to include the communal connotations of a shared meal.

Snack_52x40

From her studio in Beacon, NY, Price dreams up canvases “exploring food’s role as liberator, crutch, drug, and nourishment.” In a somewhat mocking turn, the city of Beacon, not far from the Culinary Institute of America, is also in the midst of a food revolution. The industrial town on Metro North has remained its relationship with farms not factories: Tito Santana Taqueria, The Hop Beacon, Homespun Foods, Max’s on Main, The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, Cafe Amarcord.

Let the food revolution continue.

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Affordable Art Fair, New York

With a private viewing that began on April 2, the four-day event known as the Affordable Art Fair, hosts 78 galleries and a huge array of contemporary art at The Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. On Thursday April 3, I called a gaggle of friends and joined a Thursday night party for young collectors. We browsed contemporary art while sipping cocktails by Slow & Low Rock and Rye.

Affordable Art Fair 2014 Spring, NYC(top left) Max and Suzy take in the sites, (top right) Lancaster Ballroom, The Savoy by Siobhan Doran, 2010, Giclee Print. Courtesy of Bicha Gallery. (bottom left) Freeze by James Burke, 2014, featuring mini Lego pieces. Courtesy of Bicha Gallery.
 
Affordable Art Fair 2014 Spring, NYC

The concept is simple, thousands of original paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs all under one roof, ranging from $100-$10,000, with more than half priced under $5,000. The work of young, emerging artists hangs alongside household names, while a wall for recent graduates of local art schools, and the Art Students League of New York, provides a chance to snap up work by a future master.

Affordable Art Fair 2014 Spring, NYC(Bottom Left) Davy & Kristin McGuire’s Fairies Series, mixed media video in jars from 360 by SHOPART, a print of the quintessential Greek, diner cup from the Rebecca Hossack Gallery.

This was my fifth visit to the Affordable Art Fair and yet, I still found myself inspired by the myriad of color frames, new concepts, and young buyers. The fair aims to make collecting universal, they even offer online guides for beginning a collection, framing or hanging art, or introducing art to children! Confused about gouache versus acrylic? Why not use the fair’s glossary for media and techniques.

Affordable Art Fair 2014 Spring, NYC(Left) Plaster sculpture, Arching Specimen, 2013 by Umberto Kamperveen, (top middle) four Buddhas by Garam Lee.

Since 1999, the globally traveling event has  welcomed over 1.4 million people and have garnered over $316 million sales in art, with fairs in cities including London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Singapore, Hamburg, Mexico City, Rome, Milan, Seattle, Stockholm and Hong Kong.

Affordable Art Fair 2014 Spring, NYC(top left) Nathan Vincent’s knit yarn and foam weapons and explosives, (top right) PURE EVIL serves as guest artist for Coates & Scarry gallery. Various, pop-art and spray-painted canvases faux drip to the floor in ‘Mel Ferrer’s Nightmare’ and Andy Warhol’s Nightmare, (bottom right) LuLuPa Hutong, Wood Cut, by Chinese, young artist Huang Kai.
 
AffordableArtFair_2014_4(top) Stitched Up by Katharine Morling (bottom left) Erica peruses the offerings from Uprise Art, an NYC-based collectors club (bottom right) Doublefaced No. 23 by Sebastian Bieniek. With eye-pencil and lipstick, Sebastian draws on the side of the model’s face creating portraits that are both humorous and somehow unsettling.

Way back in 1996, Will Ramsay opened Will’s Art Warehouse in southwest London to bridge the public’s increasing interest in contemporary art and London’s highbrow gallery scene. This eventually turned into the Affordable Art Fair. The founder explains, “I do not want art for a few any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few.” Here’s to art for everyone.