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The Affordable Art Fair

Shaking up the dusty model of art as an elite pastime, the Affordable Art Fair showcases new artists, galleries, and programming! Yesterday I was even treated to a Robert Blackburn printmaking station and workshop, free local beers from Heartland Brewery, cocktails by St. Germain, and knit wall installations (Renee Prisble, Orange Jelly, 2012, sweaters, polyfill, zip ties). Many wonderfully dressed individuals also descended onto 7 West 34th Street, 11th Floor and their sartorial whimsies were just as enjoyable as the art hanging.  The fair attempts to introduce the young or newbie collector with a series of tips from not-so-stuffy community. Some of these include:

  • Speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Exhibitors are happy to talk and this is a great way to get firsthand knowledge about the work and/or artist. When you are considering an artwork, ask about the artist, where they are from, how long they have been with the gallery, if their work is included in any major collections, or if the artist has won any public art prizes.
  • Budget! Budget! Budget! Know what you are willing to (and what you can) spend and stick to it!   If the piece that has caught your eye is out of your budget, ask if there are any other works by the same artist especially in a different medium. Original prints, such as screen prints and etchings, are a great entry-level option as they can be lower in price than a painting.
  • Look again-take your time-and follow your heart! Take some time out to have a drink or a snack  and think through your choices.
  • Come ready! Take time to think about what will work best in your space.  Do you need a large or small piece, something vertical or horizontal, will the work be exposed to a lot of sun, what colors will work best, who will be seeing the work (are you putting it in a bedroom or living room)?
  • And, most importantly HAVE FUN!!! ART IS FUN!! 
Oh hello! That’s me, rocking UGallery tote swag. 

UGallery.com, one of the many exhibitors, is a funky tech start-up based in San Francisco that works in both original art and more affordable prints (via their Paperwork moniker). The gallery was nice enough to invite me (and a ‘plus’ +1) to the Private Preview. Because I am a modern woman, my plus one does not always strictly mean my boyfriend. Yesterday, my plus one was my wonderful friend Rishi. Rishi and I went to undergrad together where we both fell in love with Edward Said’s Orientalism and a shared sociology (AND American Studies AND International Affairs) professor, Melani McAllister. We have both relocated from Washington, DC to New York, NY. OK, rambling aside, Rishi was the perfect choice because we both enjoy free alcohol and the power of creation (art)! I knew he was the right choice when I realized that he hand needlepointed the belt he chose to wear to the event.

Clockwise from Top Left: Rishi rocking an Affordable Art Fair Tote, A detail from ‘Daniel John Gadd’s, Creature Fear II, 2011, oil and string on panel’, snapshots from the open artist studio, Mike Chavez’s ROTFLMAO, screenprint and acrylic on canvas, AND a phenomenal fascinator and matching earring set on a fellow visitor. 

 This is Engine Gallery’s booth displaying work by Raymond Waters. That Haute Couture is made with filmstrips from Citizen Kane (there was also a dress done with porn stills).

Dinah Dufton’s Child’s Play series from Will’s Art Warehouse.

Andrew Boder, Wolf 1-6, Acrylic on Paper on Panel, 2012 from Blunt Collective.

Eric Mistretta, When You Were This Big, 2011, Candles and House Paint on Panel

A whole new meaning in “dog collars”.

Christian Dorey’s take on Andy Warhol, Cool Hand Luke, Hunter S. Thompson, etc. Originally from Vancouver, Christian Dorey has been living in Montréal since 2001. Inspired by pop art, expressionism movement, music and cinema, intuition and political engagement well describe his work. He is represented by Arteria.

Clockwise from Top Left: Laura Murray, Inheritance, from Visual Arts Gallery/SVA, A general snapshot of the fair, Artist Pure Evil’s signature, Clinton Demenez‘s small scene shadowboxes are futuristic and apocalyptic, Ivar Theorin, Untitled (Ram), 2012, paper over armature.

Do not feed the artwork! Cecile Plaisance’s Barbie 1, 2012 from Envie D’Art Galerie.

Photorealism! Daryl Zang, Bliss, 2011, 32 x 48.

A detail of Rebecca Cole’s Comics 01 which is made using recycled comics, etymology pins, and hand cut butterfly silhouettes.

Vanessa Smith, Floor, Acrylic on Canvas from the Mark Jason Gallery.

Rachel Denny, Gazelle, 17″ x 9″ x 11″ from Portland Fine Art.

Three fashionable Affordable Art Fair goers, including Jean and Valerie from the fashion blog that “sets a bad example for older women”, Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.

What piece of art would YOU purchase? Most of the items were under $1,000 for originals, with the most expensive pieces just under the $10,000 mark. 

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

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