Wow! What a thrill it was to experience this well run, tour de force art fair. Every detail was considered--and executed--professionally and thoroughly, including the shuttle buses that ran every 10 minutes from the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue to Randalls Island. You could also take one of the charming yellow water taxis from the 34th Street Pier, all bright yellow and checkerboard, resembling the beloved Checker Cabs of earlier New York days.
Either way, the scene was only minutes away from Manhattan but worlds away from the bustle. Getting off the bus, you felt transported to a place with a sense of calm and fresh air on your way into the cavernous, airy, inviting pop up "tent" which housed the fair and a variety of restaurants serving everything from fancy 3 course meals to gelato dished out from a pushcart. Even the gelato was the scrumptious upscale variety served by St. Ambroeus, so it wasn't exactly street food. In fact everything about this Art Fair was first class. I attended the second last day of the show, after the people who spent literally a million or more on a piece of art had already written their checks and gone home. So I can only imagine what it was like to see it on the earlier evenings when champagne was flowing.
What I especially loved about the fair was its sophisticated sense of globality. Galleries from forty different countries were there in force, representing a total of over a thousand different artists. No cheapo bargains among them. This was not art you'd find at the church fair where every amateur pulls out his rendering of the local schoolhouse. Or the outdoor art fairs in New York where very amateur pulls out her string drawings. These things were expensive. And the excitement and buzz around some of the installations suggested that many of them were indeed going to be sold before the fair is broken down at the end of today.
Of course, this art market is so hot many are predicting it will be another bubble and things will crash down on those who are today spending seven figure sums for what is, truth be told, a piece of canvas covered with paint. Or a steel structure that if the bubble bursts, could be melted down and worth only a hundred dollars.
But this is the craziness of today's art work market and it's great fun to at least feel part of the conversation for a few hours. Here's the link to the Daily Beast piece on Frieze New York 2013 which gives a good view of some of the pieces for sale. The Frieze was the talk of the town, at least for several days. Now, New York style, we're on to another conversation-worthy event.