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Starting on May 8, the inaugural Downtown Fair focused on modern and contemporary art. Produced by the team behind the popular satellite art fair, Art Miami, they successfully brought together pieces from around the world. Works from upcoming artists stood side-by-side household names like Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol. Located in downtown Manhattan, the fair attracted art collectors, enthusiasts and visitors in town for Frieze week.
With 50 top galleries housed at the 69th Regiment Armory, the beautiful historic space showcased an array of art, though still able to be much more intimate than larger fairs. From over 200 submissions, the exhibitors were carefully selected from the advisory committee. While each gallery brought great work, certain ones garnered more attention.
A crowd favorite was the C. Grimaldis Gallery from Baltimore, which exhibited work from artist Chul Hyun Ahn. He created pieces from LED lights and mirrors; the works revolved around themes of space and depth, illusion and light. His larger installation, Railroad Nostalgia, commanded many to stand and stare into the seemingly endless railroad track and question the meaning. The stimulating works proved to have a meditative quality, as well as inspiring conversation between viewers.
The Peter Blake Gallery displayed an elegant collection of work. Each piece could be considered minimalistic from a distance, until examining the intricate details. The curation included various artists, and the range demonstrated the gallery’s clear vision. One of the chosen pieces was Matthew Deleget’s Oooo, Oooo, Oooo, three wooden pink frames that were hit by a hammer; the actions are specified within the description to highlight the importance and meaning behind the creation process. In contrast to the obvious contemporary work, an oil painting by Robert Sagerman demonstrated paint’s ability to also be dimensional and fresh. Though an oil painting can be considered traditional, Sagerman’s complexities lie in the layers and colors of the paint and show the modern way of utilizing oil paint.
Another gallery with a strong focus, the BOSI Contemporary gallery displayed André Feliciano’s work. Replacing flowers with plastic cameras, Feliciano poses questions around the relationship between the object being photographed and the photographer. The audience realizes that they are capturing miniature cameras, instead of flowers. Feliciano considers himself a “gardener” or cultivator of art, observing the myriad places that art can be discovered and bringing these situations to light.
Fun, stand-out pieces included Johnston Foster’s shark sculptures made from construction cone materials, Nancy Dwyer’s Me, Man, Men, Mean, a wooden sculpture of the word “mean” and Sarah Frost’s Jump Space, a massive collage created with discarded computer keyboards.