Art fair season is in full swing in NYC. This month alone brings Scope New York, The Art Show, the hundred-year-old Armory Show, the Armory’s upstart answer Independent, Volta NY, and ArtExpo — it’s a lot for even art lovers to take.
For those unaccustomed to art fairs, they’re basically the art world’s answer to the trade show—just more, um, arty. Even still, they usually feature notoriously bad lighting, impersonal booths, and crowds that feel more like being in a cattle drive than a culture shock. Operating under a given theme — contemporary art, for example — galleries from around the world, or a specified region, gather for a few days to show off their wares. Usually, there’s a selection process for each fair, and galleries pay a steep price to be included (so they in turn can sell their work to a who’s who of art enthusiasts).
The parameters to entry for each art fair are probably the most plausible way of gauging the art — although that’s deeply steeped in fame and commerce, so it really has no direct bearing on the quality of the art. Even within a single art fair, it’s difficult — and probably fruitless — to draw a single conclusion. That’s because by their very nature they are varied. Artists come from all over the world, working in numerous media, for infinite reasons.
Scope made itself stand out a little bit from the orderly masses with the quirky and slightly rundown location of the iconic post office Skylight at Moynihan Station, recently the location of Fashion Week events (it was stamps and mail as usual at the Eastern entrance).
The event featured work from 75 galleries from 18 countries and four continents.
Here are some standouts for data visualizers:
And here are some pieces that were just cool:
Rani Molla has a digital media master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School. She’s a journalism reader, writer, photographer, videographer, data visualizer and general doer. Follow her on Twitter.