• Shoulda Coulda Gone to Volta

    Date posted: March 7, 2014 Author: mauri
    Wilmer Wilson IV (CONNERSMITH., DC) restages his durational performance "From My Paper Bag Colored Heart for the Saturday" midday crowd
    Wilmer Wilson IV (CONNERSMITH., DC) restages his durational performance "From My Paper Bag Colored Heart for the Saturday" midday crowd

    Many art fairs do their best to put in a classy air. In my opinion, this should also involve making the viewing experience as direct and digestible as possible. Volta is the only fair that attempts to do this in limiting the number of artists each gallery is expected to hang in their given booth. The result avoids many of the traps other fairs fall into, like shamelessly catering to collectors by tightly hanging booth after booth with the work of every big art name the gallery can drum up. Want to see a Katz, a Morris, and a Murakami all on the same wall? Why? Isn’t that kind of aesthetic mash-up what the Internet is for?

    Volta rises above all this in allowing the work to shine, growing in importance by opening the viewer up to visual relationships from piece to piece. The organizers have created a viewing environment that feels professional without reverting to the typical big fair art sprawl. As spectators, we are able to see something of how a career is developing, rather than having to settle for a singular statement that offers one stanza in the developing poem that is an artist’s complete body of work.

    As someone who doesn’t have any spare cash in my decidedly meager bank roll, collecting isn’t really an option. I think anyone else who is in this art game for the love is or has been in a similar situation. This leaves us to be attracted to fairs that are focused on giving something back to the viewer, like allowing one to see and compare the work with our impression of how it contributes to the larger conversation. Volta affords us this opportunity, and for this we can all be glad. The fair closes on Sunday, so get over there this weekend for a fair experience that won’t leave you with tired eyes and a mushy feeling brain.

    By Matthew Hassell

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