One of the events mentioned in my previous article was the Affordable Art Fairthat opens tomorrow and continues for four days at 7 W 34th St in Manhattan. I attended a preview this evening and cannot recommend it. The price of admission is equal to that charged by museums, and this is not a museum quality exhibition. The floor space is divided into cubicles, one to each gallery, and most of the gallery owners crowd as many works into the small space allotted such that there is little or no negative space. This horrendous presentation does not do justice to the work and hurts the eyes of the many viewers whose numbers in confined spaces represent another form of crowding. Among the many works exhibited I saw very few bargains. There are postcard size paintings and photographs for $100 and some 6″x6″ paintings for $300. Medium size and larger works all have four and five figure price tags. The works on display represent a diversity of styles and media, and the exhibitors include out of town and in some cases overseas galleries whose offerings one might not otherwise see locally. But most are NYC galleries whose art works are presented much more attractively at each gallery throughout the year (see the Affordable Art Fair website for a list of exhibitors).
For more affordable art try BWAC‘s “Color of Hope” Spring 2009 Fine Art Show where the works are attractively presented in a spacious Civil War era warehouse with spectacular views of New York Harbor. On Sunday I previewed the exhibit that will open on Saturday May 9th at 499 Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn and was impressed by the many very strong works and by the way the space was arranged to provide natural light where possible and to let the work breathe. Each artist has a large panel, and the artist run organization sets guidelines for how the work is to be displayed. Prices vary in the main exhibit, but there are some smaller works available for under $100. There is also a charity silent auction where smaller works have a starting price of $35. The exhibit continues on weekends through June 14. A modest donation is requested but not required, and a series of musical performances will accompany the visual art. In the interest of full disclosure I mentioned inmy previous article that my wife is one of the BWAC exhibitors.
In both exhibits I noticed very few works with explicitly Jewish subject matter, but in my opinion visual art is most Jewish when it is abstract, and the medium becomes the subject matter. At AAFNYC there are paintings of Woody Allen watching the Knicks and of a Hasid watching the Mets, and at the BWAC show a few of the photographs have Jewish subjects.