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Trong Gia Nguyen: 24-Hour Fair Primer
by Trong Gia Nguyen

24 Hour Fair Primer with Trong Nguyen

You can’t be an art snob if you spend too much time looking at art. So in honor of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, which was previously screened at Paula Cooper, I am investing exactly 24 hours – alright, I am breaking it into four 6-hour days – to take in the entirety of fair week. If you’d like to join in, here’s the timeline of when and where you'll find me.



4pm… Scope Art Fair opens. There are a lot of extracurricular programs at Scope, including US VS US, a series of performances that investigates human nature consumed by self-consumption and strife. Think smartphones and cancer. Also partake in an art frat party within the party called “Come On Guy,” on the mezzanine floor. Dude, where’s my cab?

5:30 pm... Squeeze in Sculpture Center's off-site project at Bloomberg Headquarters. Speculative Futures is an exhibition on "futurology" (and stuff) curated by Regine Basha and features works by several artists, including Cao Fei and Julieta Aranda. The latter has created an installation about all those darn spam emails coming from Nigeria.

6pm… Armory vernissage. Welcome to the big leagues. First, grab the best and biggest, darkest, chummiest art-friendly sunglasses you can find at Daffy's on 57th street and walk westward to Pier 94. Pace through the Modern and Contemporary sections while air-kissing and catching up with your fellow worldly brethren. Bring your Veuve-filled water pistol and shoot at all the red dots and bookends masquerading as Jeff Koons' balloon dogs. Feeling even more underambitious? Then skip or continue racing through Pier 92 (or vice-versa) and bolt it to the next chapter of people-watching for the evening. Who’s got time to look at art, really?

8:30pm-10pm… Armory MoMA benefit after party
… Price of admission: $125. Potentially seeing Terence Koh give some lucky collector a golden shower: Priceless. You might also want to catch the still avant-garde Warhol films, including the exceptional installation of Screen Tests.



2pm… Before hitting the fairs, start your afternoon (are we in Berlin?) off in the village and check out the likes of Gavin Brown on Greenwich Street and youngling Werble Gallery (Anna Betbeze's munched carpets are on view) on Vandam Street. Around the corner is a Manhattan Mini Storage that has a free hot chococlate machine and Damien Hirst-like glass enclosures filled with neatly lined boxes and shelves. Just pretend they are expensive pharmaceuticals and diamond encrusted bowling trophies.

2:30pm... Red Dot and the Korean Art Show
... Both fairs share a space at 82 Mercer in SoHo, and based on the information on their websites, I have no idea what to expect. If worse comes to worse, just jaunt by the old Deitch Projects Space and relive the grandeur that was the Art Parade, or go buy some cheap stationary and blinds at Pearl River. Stop in Lucky Strike for a burger while you're at it.

4:30pm... Hitchhike eastward and take a peak at some of the Lower East Side galleries like LMAK Projects and Canada (a show called Dadarhea just opened), and definitely have a look at the original runs of Lynda Benglis at the New Museum. It's a sure-fire hit – fingers crossed not to accidentally step on any art.

5:30-8pm... Pulse returns to the Metropolitan Pavilion this year. We're going to miss the west side pier walking past the children’s soccer field and parents selling cheap hot dogs and cookies on the weekend, but the central location makes it that much more convenient to take in Chelsea or the Shake Shack afterwards.


6:00pm... We don't know if he'll still be there, but Jack Early is slated to sing some pretty pretty songs at Daniel Reich, including the wonderful It Don't Rain in Beverly Hills, which was re-recorded by Dean and Britta for Edie Segewick's screen test in Thirteen Most Beautiful...

6:30pm... Don't forget about the ADAA's Art Show, that trusted, elegant fair at the Park Avenue Armory. One is sure to run into an unforgettable thing or two, and we don't mean Bill Cosby or Madonna.

8:30pm... PooL at the Gershwin Hotel. PooL distinguishes itself as the last standing of hotel fairs and the only one of the bunch that exclusively shows un-represented artists, who man their own rooms. The spunky "little fair that could" seems to get it just right in its New York iteration. Not too chic, not too shabby. And this year PooL director Thierry Alet, who is no slouch of an artist himself, will also take a room. Please disturb.

10:30pm-Midnight… Fountain. Last year ArtSlant took a booth on the boat – yes, the fair is on a ship, and it rocks. Luckily, so do some of the art. The evening parties on Friday and Saturday are filled with good vibes music (Tecla, Ninjasonik, and others are performing) and a fun crowd who seem to enjoy the total fair experience. It can get nippy on the deck. They serve hot soup, but bring hand warmers anyway.



2:00pm... Begin at the Independent fair in Chelsea
, who have once again taken over the old Dia space. It didn't feel so much like a revolutionary concept last year, but the crop this go round feels at least equally solid - no more cutesy DIY collectives and post-alternative spaces, SVP. Some of Manhattan's best like Andrew Kreps mix along with the cool European set such as Tulips & Roses from Brussels.

4pm… Volta. Located right across the street from the Empire State Building, the Armory’s little sister fair consists of smart, well-curated solo shows in a space much more manageable than the piers. Check out Trine Søndergaard at Martin Asbæk Gallery and Montreal’s BGL Collective at Parisian Laundry. Roll tide – and don’t touch those oaks! Oh, and also don’t forget the pingapong after party at Spin, if you can get in that is!

6pm... Take in DUMBO by stopping in the awesome industrial Smackmellon space, where the double shows of David Henderson and Shannon Plumb open this evening.

6:15-8pm... We are pretty excited about Verge's reincarnation as the Brooklyn Art Fair. Occupying several spaces on Front and Jay Streets, the fair is also charging artists just $500 for their own little cubby. A host of Brooklyn's finest are represented, from Parker's Box to BRIC's Rotunda Gallery and Famous Accountants. The view at Brooklyn Bridge Park isn't bad either.... and definitely stop in Superfine to refill the tank and think about an extension.

8:01pm... Maybe it's time to hit the snooze button on the 24-hour clock?

--Trong G. Nguyen

(Images: Cao Fei, The Building of RMB City, video still, courtesy Sculpture Center; Anna Betbeze, Second Ocean, 2011, courtesy Kate Werble gallery; Lynda Benglis, Phantom, 1971, phosphorous pigmented polyurethane installation at Union Art Gallery, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas February 3-7, 1971, courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Jack Early announcement, courtesy Daniel Reich Gallery; Trine Søndergaard, STRUDE#2, 2008-10, courtesy Martin Asbæk Gallery and Volta NY; Pan Mu, The Book of Mountain and Sea (Detail), courtesy the artist and Brooklyn Art Fair; Rosalind Nashashibi, Eyeballing, 2005, courtesy Tulips & Roses.)


Posted by Trong Gia Nguyen on 4/11/11

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