03.05.12 'Pulse Art Fair Preview: Neon, Hyper, and Life-sized' by Marina Garcia-Vasquez

As a vehicle to celebrate emerging artists in one space, The Pulse Art Fair opens today at the Metropolitan Pavilion with an array of artists and disciplines including video art, dance, and architectural installation. Last night, I had a walk-thru with Cornell Dewitt, the fair’s director, to go over the spatial and architectural-bent arts present in the show. He says that Pulse makes it a point to be “accessible, literally and metaphorically.” In a city that hosts dozens of art fairs like the monolith Armory show to the edgy Independent, Pulse tends to run in a glowing medium. It’s central location and eclectic mix of galleries makes for great inspiration grounds. The art here can be as opaque as in contemporary art gallery but Pulse strives for diversity. From a young Estonian artist to Fred Wilson, and a Fred Torres collaboration, Pulse’s manageable-sized gallery allows for intimate moments with the art and gallerists.

Upon entry, the Lead Pencil Studio installation in the Pavilion’s lobby brings the city into an art world space. The plywood set is an architectural take on a Chinatown street, with life-size re-creations of chain-lock doors, post box, fire escape, and storefront. The installation is meant to emphasize all of the formidable pieces attached to a building and it’s street life that an architect did not put on that building. We are left with the stark imaginary formations of order and security from urban planning, emergency exits, and an attempt at street art. The plywood objects represent the hustle of city-life, but in their plywood manifestations we are hyper aware of their artful re-imaginings. We remember that we are in an art fair. Dewitt says of the space, “the world is falling away and you transfer yourself, bizarrely into this clarified art world.”

As we enter the gallery on the left-hand side, the familiar work of Larissa Nowicki attracts any book collector or typography bandit. On display is Nowicki’s collection of processorial art, dedicated to deconstructing a series of hardbound Skira “Of Our Time” books, shredding them, and basket weaving them into back into page-objects of pixelated colors. As a former graphic designer and book designer, Nowicki tired of computerized design and set forth for a more tactile relationship with books; her artwork reinvents form and meaning. She plans to further develop the Skira series from the woven paper to Prisma color pencils to oil paintings, reminiscent of the master’s for whom the books are monographs for. Follow her progression on Man&Eve’s London-based gallery website.

Other honorable mentions are Driss Ouadahi’s streetscape portraits and paintings, presented by Dubai’s Lawrie Shabibi Gallery; Anne Lindberg’s spatial threaded installation in neon with Carrie Secrist Gallery; Pablo’s Guardiola’s hyper landscape “I wish to communicate with you” with Romer Young Gallery; and Tracey Moffat’s First Job series of interiors of high-fructose colored job sites of the 50s with Tyler Rollins Fine Art. Moffat’s work investigates a woman’s role in society and is reminiscent of some of Cindy Sherman’s portrait tactics.

Be sure to check out the younger Impulse collection of artists on the second floor like Chris Duncan’s yarn metaphors presented by Halsey McKay Gallery.

Pulse’s attempt at keeping it’s fair inclusive and fresh is successful. All in all, it has an unpretentious open-to-the-public vibe.

Pulse Art Fair, The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Chelsea

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