Art Fairs in the Snow — Spring 2015
Snow falling heavily outside.
Time to get dressed and get out there! I crunch over snowy sidewalks and wade through slush to find my Uber car. I’m ready to head downtown.
From inside the car I peer through drops of water blurring the scene: buildings, cars, snow, two figures standing under an umbrella.
After a slow drive downtown, I make it to PULSE art fair. I dash out of the car through falling snowflakes and more slush. The coat check line is 20 people long. I opt to carry my wool coat and enormous hotel umbrella around with me. I pass booth after booth of art. And “art.” Aloof gallery faces are poised to pop up and smile at any moment from their laptops set on tiny makeshift desks. Now I am wading through crowds of beautiful women wearing black coats, high-heeled ankle boots, riding boots, snow boots, boots with chains on them.
A man wearing red plaid from head to toe (I wish I had taken a photograph) air kisses a gallery owner: “So, tell me about this artist’s work. Uh huh, uh huh. Incredible. Wow. Really powerful.”
I am so thirsty. The drinks area is particularly jammed with people. Orderly rows of white wine and Perrier in tiny plastic wine glasses cover a table. I opt for the Perrier (it is still morning and I have much to see!).
A woman’s face constructed out of layers of tulle:
A statue of a naked woman emerging from a half-peeled banana:
and then a picture of another woman coming out of a Snicker’s bar:
A terrarium with running water inside a partially opened suitcase:
A chandelier made from a jumble of upside down wine, champagne and martini glasses:
Photographs of crumbling building interiors that look like paintings:
A ping pong table cut in half and attached to a mirror creates the illusion of playing a game against oneself:
A white neon outline of a man with a pile of coal at his feet:
I take a break for lunch at Cafeteria with my art PR girlfriends. Charging their iphones in every nearby socket while eating salads, they talk about art, artists, ski weekends in Vermont, the inconvenient snow day for their kids, the nanny who didn’t show up, and a pledge to restart a weight loss scheme.
I excuse myself and go to the bathroom:
Still snowing. We take a taxi (they are old-school PR girls) over to West Side Highway and Pier 90 to the Volta Art Fair.
What’s on view: notions of family, of home, of race, of human beings treated as curiosities and freaks, questions of verisimilitude, the relation between perception and knowledge.
Snow floating outside past the gigantic windows creates dynamic canvases interspersed with the art (you’ll have to imagine).
More gallery owners: Tessie, Fabiano, Emilie, Laurent, Camilo. From Vienna, Naples, Montreal, Paris, Boston. Perfect waves of hair, bad teeth. Enormous belt buckles, scarves tucked into shirts, jeans tucked into boots. Dreadlocks pulled back into a ponytail.
The PR girls arrange meetings with the gallery types for brunch, a coffee, lunch, a drink, dinner, all for next Monday. We cannot walk 5 feet without greeting yet another gallery owner and bisous-bisousing and blah-blah-blahing. I break off from the girls and walk the equivalent length of 3 football fields to find the food counter in the back in the hope of fending off an oncoming low blood-sugar attack. The only item on offer is a piece of olive oil cake, which I perch to eat on the edge of a red plastic chair, whose shape requires laying back in a horizontal position (which I decline to do).
Fortified enough to continue on my journey, I say goodbye to the PR girls, put on my coat and little, black wool cap and head out into the snow to hail another taxi to take me back uptown for my last stop of the day: Harper’s Books pop-up shop at the Carlyle Hotel. George Clooney is in the lobby, an old lady is swooning, and upstairs, the pop-up gallery is essentially a bedroom (and bed) covered in erotica, take out Chinese food, and a former lover I haven’t seen for 16 years.
Needless to say, I don’t stay long. When his current lover arrives, I say my goodbyes and slip out into the night to meet some friends for dinner at The East Pole.
Afterwards, when their Uber car drops me at Central Park South and 5th, I laughingly shout back to my friends: “Remember, I was very drunk!” (just in case I need to explain anything “unexplainable”) as I brace myself against the bitterly cold wind to walk the 2 blocks back to my embarrassingly comfortable hotel room.
Ah, NY. Goodnight.