I should title this blog post “confessions of an art junky”. I know only a few people whose appetite for looking at art is more voracious than mine.
The Seattle Art Fair, founded in 2015 by the late Paul Allen -- his heirs promptly discontinued all his art-oriented philanthropy -- is now an independent event.
Hooray, after a two years pandemic pause it was last weekend at the Lumen Field Event Center. I lost count but something like 80 galleries from all over the USA and a few from other countries trotted out their latest and greatest.
I love it! I’ve been looking forward to it for months.
I am energized even by the work that I do not understand, do not understand why anyone would buy, do not understand why anyone would make it in the first place. At a rule-of-thumb level of accuracy I guess that I can walk by perhaps 80% of the work in the fair with no more than a glance, 15% of the work I can say to myself “very well done but no thrill” – the remaining 5% are the relatively few pieces that blow me out of my socks, leave me literally weak in the knees.
One of the endearing aspects of this particular art show is a particularly northwest issue – I wander about in jeans and a striped t-shirt and the galleryists don’t know whether I’m a penniless retired engineer (true) or a high-tech millionaire (false). I stopped to admire a dazzling Art Nouveau poster of the 5th Vienna Sucession (1892) in a vintage bronze frame (price tag $58000) and had an engaging conversation comparing this piece with Alphonse Mucha’s contemporary work.
The hit of the show is a brand new glass sculpture by Preston Singletary. https://seattleartfair.com/projects/killer-whale-totem/ The photograph in this link doesn’t do it justice. It is stunning. Placed in the entry court of the event center my immediate reaction was “Well, I can go home now. Nothing else will top this!” The back of this piece is flat and polished to a mirror surface so that you look through it to the sculptured and sand-blasted figures on the front.
I can hardly wait for next year’s fair.