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Entering Upper East Side’s darkened Park Avenue Armory, it became unquestionably clear that the AIPAD Photography Show, presented by The Association of International Photography Art Dealers, was a different type of art fair. Less exhaustingly frantic and frenzied than the increasingly countless other art fairs, AIPAD projected a quieter and friendlier atmosphere featuring galleries from around the world. However, the calmer atmosphere did not indicate that the art was any less enthralling. The galleries at AIPAD exhibited a range of photographic work from photography legends such as Weegee and William Eggleston to more contemporary talent like Massimo Vitali and Vik Muniz, whose hauntingly ingenious Orphan Girl at the Cemetery, after Delacroix, from Gordian Puzzles remains one of the most memorable pieces at the fair.
While many of the AIPAD booths captivated attendees, a few booths stood out from the over 80 galleries at the fair. Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery displayed an exciting group of artists from Kansas-born Lori Nix’s desolate and slightly unsettling photograph of a sand-filled abandoned subway car to Frieke Janssens’ circular shocking, yet oddly glamorous portraits of smoking children inspired by a YouTube video of a chain-smoking Indonesian boy. One of the most popular works in the fair seemed to be Gregory Scott’s video works like Reconstructing Pollock, where he recreates Jackson Pollock’s paintings through unexpected materials from cake to silly-string.
Another booth with a wonderful collection of artists was New York’s P.P.O.W Gallery who showed artists from the always clever Martha Wilson to photographer’s Walter Martin & Paloma Munoz. Martin & Munoz’s intriguing photographs depicted close-ups of scenes from the ultimate kitschy object: a snow globe, monumentalizing the moments in the globe and developing a sense of narrative and drama.
Not all the AIPAD booths needed to show contemporary photography in order to be captivating. The Staley-Wise Gallery exhibited a selection of classic fashion photographs from greats such as Richard Avedon, David LaChapelle, and Lillian Bassman, whose dramatically angular and haunting Night Bloom: Anneliese Seubert in Givenchy Haute Couture dominated the booth.