Best and Worst at Untitled 2016 by Suzy Kopf
Untitled is beachy and beautiful, set in a huge white tent right on the sand. It’s much smaller than Basel, but the quality is high. We liked this fair much better for a number of reasons.
Untitled is still the curator’s fair, but not all the galleries this year got the memo. Some crammed everything they possibly could into their available space, down to the last inch. So much for white space equalling value. It does seem to be moving in a more commercial direction, compared to previous years with more “gimmicky” pieces of art, the kind that you typically see at other less curated and more crass fairs.
UNTITLED Art Miami 2015, Performance, images courtesy of Untitled
One good sign was that a number of galleries at Untitled were taking down their work on Friday night, wrapping it up and hanging new work, because entire booths were sold out. Most galleries didn’t bother to post wall labels, so their switchover seemed pretty easy to do.
I always like that this fair is less crowded and more spacious; this made us want to talk more about the art and less about the conditions surrounding us. It makes you really focus on the art.
Just to be picky, I have to say it was disappointing to see Rirkrit Tiravanija showing here, just because he’s a blue chip artists who has showed at the Guggenheim and is represented by Gavin Brown. He was trying to do a DIY T-shirt thing here, and in 2016, it just felt forced.
Best of Untitled 2016:
Orkideh Torabi, “Sup?,” Fabric Dye on Cotton at Western Exhibitions
Teppei Kaneuji, “Games, Dance and Construction,” Screenprint on unfinished plywood, at Jane Lombard Gallery
Simon Mullan, “Eric,” Black tile and grout at DITTRICH & SCHLECTRIEM
Maurico Alejo, “Studio Still Life” #2 and #4 at Curro Gallery
Lance Marcel, “Frog,” Foam, resin, pigments, glitter at Los Ojos Gallery
John Knuth, “What You Do Here, Affects the Atmosphere,” Acrylic/flyspeck on canvas at David B Smith Gallery
Andrew Jensdotter, “RuPaul,” at Gildar Gallery
David Kramer, “Night Moves (Real Estate)” and “Hopelessly Optimistic,” Acrylic and Gouache on paper, at Galeria Laurent Godin. Finally some political art!
AMLgMATD, “25.78 N,” aluminum tubing, plastic feet and nylon, at Exile Books, these were throughout the fair and very fun looking although I’m pretty sure no one was allowed to sit on them.
Roula Partheniou, “Brush Line #2,” Acrylic paint on MDF and Wood, at MKG127. Loved this use of material, very unusual looking in person.
Worst of Untitled 2016:
Caveat: I had trouble picking 10 I didn’t like, these were just the worst of a very good show, I don’t feel as passionately as some of my other worsts at other fairs.
Luis Hortala, “Le choix de la Reine,” Oil and cloth on wood and Flyleafs, digital print on rag at Rocio Santa Cruz
Henk Stallinga, “Lumen Balance,” Custom LED Lights and DMX software, at Gerhard Hofland
John F Simon Jr, “Dependent Improvisation,” High density urethane and paint, at Sandra Gering Inc
John O’Connor, “Delta (Butterfly),” Colored pencil and graphite on paper, at Pierogi
Nadia Ayari, “Continued,” Watercolor on paper, at Taymour Grahne Gallery
Sean Micka, “.3331” Unmounted Sapphire, at onestar Press
Adam Parker Smith, “Crush,” Fan and Human hair, at The Hole
Carlos Aires, “This is Not America,” Currency, Gold leaf and glass at ADN Galeria,
“Under the Paving Stone The Beach,” a collaborative project with Rirkrit Tiravanjia, Tomas VU, and the Columbia University MFA Students
Jimmy Everett, “Untitled,” Chairs, pigment at Wilding Cran Gallery
Takeaways from Untitled 2016:
As we got ready to leave, one of the curators of the fair came up to talk to me. This completely threw me off! I’m still not sure if he came over because I was wearing my Basel Press Pass or my dress was low cut? (Haha.) But, he was charming with an exotic accent and hard to understand.
It confused me because I’m not used to anyone being friendly or talking to me at Art Fairs! It’s highly unusual for anyone associated with a fair to directly engage you in conversation unless you’re standing too close to something expensive, so this was actually really nice.
I still think that Untitled is more commercial this year than it used to me, which is kind of a bummer, but it’s still way better than Basel and most of the other satellite fairs.
I hope they never expand the size and scale of this fair, it’s perfect the way it is. It offers a balanced amount of art and space; as a fair it is less overwhelming than most with wider spaces inside and between booths, and as a result, you are able to concentrate on the art.
We saw a lot of painting at Untitled this year, but more mixed media works than at Basel. We saw lots of bold color, less subtle coloration, but this didn’t feel obnoxious because adequate space around works.
Will’s favorite piece was John Knuth’s “What You Do Here, Affects the Atmosphere” at David B Smith Gallery. “It’s a textural abstract painting, which I liked immediately,” he said. “When the gallerist noticed my press pass, he took the time to explain that the artist made the painting by feeding different dyed sugar water to different flies and having them vomit, and specific texts and colors. I was mesmerized.”
Author Suzy Kopf is a recent Brooklyn to Baltimore transplant. Suzy is a painter and just completed an MFA degree at MICA. She is a co-founder of the Gowanus Swim Society, a Brooklyn, NY based art collective.