Fri March 28
Friday night witnessed the ridiculously long line outside the Swiss Institute on Broadway in SoHo for the experimental and “subversive” Dark Art Fair. Providing a kind of art fair alternative, the concept was to hold a fair without the use of natural or electric light, thus engendering a unique experience within which to experience art. An international selection of galleries and artists displayed work customized to these conditions, using candlelight, glow-in-the-dark work, light sculpture, film and video, and unplugged performances. A little overly ambitious in its aspirations, it was nonetheless a curious, if not completely compelling experience. “Booths” were the size of picnic tables, and the entire venue evoked a distinct sardine-in-a-dark-tin effect. Nonetheless there were some notable highlights including Martin Creed Records available at White Columns (New York), and Liam Gillick wall texts at Air de Paris (Paris).
Opting NOT to attend any of the opening night parties (Scope at Tribecca Grand Hotel, PooL at Chelsea Hotel, Armory at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel), we meandered just a hop-skip-and-a-jump down the block to “Roulette” at Location 1. Though not officially related to the fairs, it was a relevant art event/ happening, so I will mention it briefly here. Providing opportunities for innovative composers, musicians, sound artists and interdisciplinary collaborators to present their work, Roulette serves as an alternative venue for contemporary music and intermedia art. Friday’s programming included ex-Fluxus member Jeff Perkins’ light-projection collaboration with “Messages,” a psychedelic sound duo comprised of Tres Warren and Taketo Shimada, which explores raga, drone, techno, through electric guitar, tanpura, voice, percussion, and turntables. Though I was skeptical at first, this psychedelic light show of mutating and flickering abstract colors and shapes, actually proved to be quite moving and relevant, especially when juxtaposed against the attention to light given just previously at the Dark Art Fair. As a footnote, we heard that later that night, the Dark Art Fair was ironically shut down by the Fire Department for overcrowding and fire hazards. More on Pulse tomorrow.