VOLTA: A Commerically Driven Fair

by Art Fag City on March 29, 2008 · 14 comments Events

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Something about Volta’s all black advertising irritates me, and its position on the 11th floor of a corporate building certainly isn’t helping. If the Armory favors commerce at the expense of supplemental arts programming, its sister fair Volta does nothing but heighten that focus. While Volta’s special projects appear on their website, (what makes them so special is anybodies guess since they are all commercial endeavors), I couldn’t find anything about lectures or panels. I called the press office to find out about this side of the programming, but their representative could only tell me that Paige West had given a talk yesterday about collecting and some vague details on a panel put together by a consulting firm. Clearly the support non commercial projects isn’t a priority, a position I’ve always felt to be rather short sighted, given its ability to not only enrich the fine art community but to create a healthier market.

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William Pope L at Kenny Schachter / ROVE Projects LLP

As for the quality of the show itself, despite VOLTA’s success in recruiting a number of reputable galleries in a short amount of time, the results were underwhelming. The fair was difficult to navigate, it lacked character, and I found a lot of the art average at best. As a result, I wrote almost nothing about any of the galleries, but for the small cluster in the South East corner of building worthy of note; Roebling Hall exhibited the photographs and pop bottle sculptures of David Ellis, Travesía Cuatro displayed the abstracted architectural constructions of Jose Dávila, and Kenny Schachter / ROVE Projects LLP were promoting the conceptual artist William Pope. L, and photographer Muir Vidler. William Pope. L’s pop tart drawings and peanut butter collages, undoubtedly spoke with the greatest clarity, the material a staple of those who live off food stamps, and a marker of empty consumer culture. Of course, such art making materials were also chosen for their inherent instability as a means of resisting the market. It seems in keeping with the fair, that these desires would ultimately be consumed by the saleability of the object, the pop tarts and collages now hermetically sealed and tastefully on display.

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Itamar Jobani at Noga Gallery

While the sale of such work may create a number of conceptual problems they didn’t have when they were made, this is pretty low on the list of VOLTA’s concerns. If I were them, I’d spend a lot more time considering how they ended up with a show including Noga Gallery’s Itamar Jobani. But, you know, that’s just me.

  • http://bloggy.com/ Barry

    Ha! Someone told me today that he really liked that Jobani piece. I didn’t know what to say.

  • http://bloggy.com/ Barry

    Ha! Someone told me today that he really liked that Jobani piece. I didn’t know what to say.

  • Niall

    Pope’s work give’s me much more cause for concern than Jobani – they are conceptually very weak and aesthetically of little merit. We really needed Pope to tell us about the “emptiness of consumer culture”. Truly awful work.

  • Niall

    Pope’s work give’s me much more cause for concern than Jobani – they are conceptually very weak and aesthetically of little merit. We really needed Pope to tell us about the “emptiness of consumer culture”. Truly awful work.

  • Art Fag City

    They aren’t supposed to be of great aesthetic merit. Also, while the emptiness of consumer culture may not be a new idea, I do think he’s doing something interesting with it.

  • Art Fag City

    They aren’t supposed to be of great aesthetic merit. Also, while the emptiness of consumer culture may not be a new idea, I do think he’s doing something interesting with it.

  • Ben Stewart

    Your taste is questionable these days Paddy. The Jobani piece was a very ambitious and successful work.

  • Ben Stewart

    Your taste is questionable these days Paddy. The Jobani piece was a very ambitious and successful work.

  • Ben Stewart

    Your taste is questionable these days Paddy. The Jobani piece was a very ambitious and successful work.

  • Ben Stewart

    Your taste is questionable these days Paddy. The Jobani piece was a very ambitious and successful work.

  • asshole

    Amazing what I had seen (and heard) at the Volta recently in Basel… those organizers should be in jail!

  • asshole

    Amazing what I had seen (and heard) at the Volta recently in Basel… those organizers should be in jail!

  • asshole

    Amazing what I had seen (and heard) at the Volta recently in Basel… those organizers should be in jail!

  • asshole

    Amazing what I had seen (and heard) at the Volta recently in Basel… those organizers should be in jail!

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