We're spending this weekend at the Affordable Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, where galleries from around the world are filling their booths with artwork priced less than $10,000. And while we're in the neighborhood, we'll head over to Café Grumpy, on 20th Street, for one of our favorite cups of coffee in the city. Update: the fair closed after March 29th. To stay updated on what's going on right now, sign up for our #YourArtWeekend newsletter here.
THE ART /
At the Affordable Art Fair, the Metropolitan Pavilion is packed with booths, and each booth is packed with art. Walking around can be a bit overwhelming, but part of the fun of a fair like this is to take in tons of different styles and ideas and art all in a single day. There are certainly some misses among the booths -- I'll let you decide for yourself what works for you -- but you're also likely to find quite a few gems as well. Most of the artists represented here are still establishing a market for themselves, which can be an especially exciting time to see their work. For the $10,000 pieces, the "affordable" in the fair's title is somewhat of a misnomer, but you can find plenty of great art priced under $1,000 as well, if you spend the time looking. Either way, an afternoon at the fair is a great place to spend a day seeing, thinking, and talking about art.
Image credits: Manifold Editions (left); Eyestorm (right).
There are all kinds of galleries here -- from great small artist-run spaces like 440 Gallery, based in Park Slope, to huge print publishers like Manifold Editions, which is showing lower-priced work by celebrated contemporary artists like Chris Ofilli and Damien Hirst. One of our favorite booths to visit was London-based Eyestorm, which brought a great selection of work by artists working with traditional printmaking, including some wonderful screenprints by James Hunter. On the second floor, you can even see the Fair's "artist in residence" Piero Manrique painting a massive canvas over the course of the weekend.
At the Sugarlift booth (#2.11 if you want to visit us!), we are rotating artwork every day and showing pieces from each of our three major exhibitions, plus new works commissioned just for the fair. We've especially enjoyed sharing our new artwork, including the colorful "Sticks and Stones" series by Adam Frezza, incredible pen drawings by Guno Park and the innovative oil-on-paper still-lifes by Andre Ribuoli. We were also excited to see Lizzie Gill's "Crown Jewels" highlighted by Vogue in an article on art and fashion at the Fair, and to show more of Jon Legere's "Jetsemblage" series, which were part of our "Cut & Paste" exhibition.
There are so many booths, so many artists and media and styles and sizes, that sometimes it's hard to know where to start. What's great about sorting through all that's offered here, though, is the feeling of discovery when you find something that speaks to you in an unexpected place, in an unexpected way. Who knows -- maybe your favorite piece will be in the back corner of a booth that at first glance seemed skippable, and the gallery you came here to see will be showing pieces that don't speak to you. Come with an open mind, fresh eyes and comfortable shoes, and discover what works for you.
WHAT TO DO AFTER /
There is a café at the fair, on the second floor, if you're in the mood for some on-site snacking. For a cosier spot, head over to Café Grumpy on 20th Street, which has a selection of seriously good coffee and a wonderfully Luddite prohibition of Wi-Fi and laptops.