It’s art fair season in San Francisco again. artMRKT San Francisco is one of four fairs including Bridgehampton, Houston, and Miami organized by Jeffery Wainhause, Max Fishko, and additional “unnamed” art dealers. The fair this year was held at the Fort Mason Center-Festival Pavilion from May 16-19th. In the spacious building, I counted 77 participating galleries (give or take one or two).
According to the venue’s website: “artMRKT San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier contemporary and modern art fair, will feature 70 galleries from around the globe, bringing some of the world’s most intriguing artists and galleries to San Francisco. In showcasing historically important work alongside relevant contemporary pieces and projects, artMRKT will create an ideal context for the discovery, exploration and acquisition of art.” Thankfully, I received numerous free V.I.P. (very important person) passes avoiding the $20 a day charge. Being considered a “ V.I.P.” allowed access to attend all four days of the fair. However, my schedule only permitted for one visit on Saturday.
Overall, the art varied at the fair to match diverse tastes. If my bank account allowed 3 purchases of fabulous art without the all mighty dollar being a factor, here they are in no particular order:
It’s hard to not be cynical in regards to the art fair circuit. Amazing art critic Robert Hughes loudly and proudly displayed his anger at the commodity of art in a movie titled The Mona Lisa Curse. Andrew Pettie of The Telegraph: “In The Mona Lisa Curse, Hughes traces the pernicious rise of the commercial art market back to 1963, when Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous portrait was exhibited in New York. The Mona Lisa, says Hughes, was treated as thought it were a film star. People came not to look at it, but to say that they’d seen it. This ‘feeding frenzy’ over a single painting marked the start of a process by which works of art became celebrities in their own right. And from the 1960s onwards, as Hughes recounts, acquisitive collectors started buying works of art not because they liked them, but because they expected a financial return.”
When the downturn happened in the economy, I had clients contact me to make sure that their investment (my art) wouldn’t go down in price. Could Robert Hughes be right that art has now become an investment to trade like stocks and bonds? Hey, I’m not putting down making money and buyers. Because without those two elements, I wouldn’t have a pot to piss in to buy art supplies and feed my big dog. However, the art market has become so very trendy and chic that for this artist- I can’t compete and/or don’t want to.
Anyways, I’ll stick to what I know best and create. Let the V.I.P.’s hedge their bets on the hottest artist today. I’m an artist for the long haul and will collect/produce art that inspires, engages, and raises some good old-fashioned hell…