Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Fair for All and No Fare for Anyone (with press credentials)

"Art fairs aren't fair," criminally underrated Los Angeles painter Karen Carson quipped to me last Saturday, halfway through the city's annualesque descent into art-world multitasking known as Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Her remark, made in the midst — of all places — of a new show of Chuck Arnoldi's unrepentant 1980s abstractions at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, begged the obvious question, "But are they art?" As someone who tends to avoid even regular openings because of the kinesthetic and pheremonal interference generated by herds of desperate careerists, I was surprised to survive the weekend with a firm answer: Maybe.

With exponentially frantic circles of activity expanding around last weekend's fair to cap off the official "L.A. Arts Month," the horror vacuii of art events — extravaganza displays, special gallery programming across a dozen or so art scenes, unique performance events, fundraising auctions, video screenings, cocktail parties, and anti-censorship protests — takes on an almost transcendental sublimity, like surrendering to the overwhelming intricacy of a Persian rug or Bach cantata. Almost.

Read the rest of Can an L.A. Art Fair Be Loved? -- my debut LA Dispatch on artinfo -- here.

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