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Art Fair
Clear evidence of renewed confidence at VOLTA NY 2010 (16.3.2010)
Mathias Kessler, Nowhere to be Found, Galerie Heike Strelow, Frankfurt, Photo courtesy of Carrie Villines
Mathias Kessler, Nowhere to be Found, Galerie Heike Strelow, Frankfurt, Photo courtesy of Carrie Villines
  VOLTA NY 2010 got off to a blisteringly good start on Thursday , March 4th, with a record registered first-day attendance of 5,000; by Sunday, March 7th, that figure had risen to almost 20,000, up from last year. Demonstratively strong sales, which reached over the 3 million dollar mark by closing, as reported by VOLTA NY's 84 exhibitors, was a keen reflection of renewed collector confidence
in the contemporary emerging art market.

This year's eclectic new talent at VOLTA NY has elicited considerable interest, including the salon-style presentation of Moldavian artist Alexander Tinei (VOGES Gallery, Frankfurt /Ana Cristea Gallery, NY) with his entire presentation sold into important private and public
collections in both the U.S. and Europe (prices raged from $7,600 – $12,000). Visitors and institutions alike—such as the Smart Museum (Chicago) and the Liverpool Biennial—were stopped in their tracks by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery’s (New Orleans) arresting installation of
Skylar Fein’s work, two of whose major pieces, Gun Rack and Black Flag (Marcuse), were promptly acquisitioned by major private collections for $20,000 and $40,000 respectively.

The robust spending didn't stop there. By mid-afternoon of opening day all the Oscar de las Flores drawings at Katherine Mulherin Contemporary (Toronto/Los Angeles) were sold out (prices ranged from $5,400 to $18,000), some going to a private collection in Basel, and
Paul Pretzer’s disturbing but intriguing oil paintings at Hamish Morrison Galerie (Berlin) were a sell-out, with the Rubell family acquiring more for their existing collection; samsøn (Boston) sold six Todd Pavlisko drawings, one to collector Mike De Paola, which went for $4,000 - $9,000, while determined interest was expressed for his arresting video work and his table sculpture Still Life sold for $40,000. Meanwhile, FAS (London) sold a range of paintings and a sculpture by Steve Goddard ($38,000-$40,000) in addition to holding numerous remaining works on reserve, Eleven Gallery (London) sold all three Ben Turnball “New York” pieces—comic book collages of the NYFD and PD—selling at $30,000, while over at Dorsch Gallery (Miami) Richard Haden’s trompe l’oeil sculptures—seemingly beat-up quotidian
objects made of precious materials—were the visitors’ favorite, with the rusty fire extinguisher Distinguishable going for $10,000, and Baggage, a piece of solid mahogany masquerading as a dented metal suitcase, being snapped up by Beth Rudin de Woody for $16,000.

VOLTA NY was also excited to see other heavy-weight collectors—such as Paige West (Philadelphia), Mark and Livia Straus (Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art), Patricia Vargas (Buenos Aires), Robert Harshorn Shimshak (San Francisco), father/son team John and Stuart Evans (London), Phillip and Shelley Aarons, Francis van Hornegger (Bruges), Susan W eiler (New York), Laurence Benenson (New York), Alain Servais (Brussels) as well as the art fair light towers like Don and Mera Rubell (Miami), Michael and Susan Hort (New York), and Susan Goodman (New York) —descend early to do the rounds and stop in with dealers like Fruit & Flower Deli, exhibiting Venice Biennale artist Jan Håfström to huge critical feedback; Callicoon Fine Arts, who sold a total ten Nicholas Buffon abstract paintings, a selection of which went to an Ohio hospital collection, a New Museum trustee, and a leading Spanish foundation; they were priced from $400-$4,000.
Madder139 sold the $40,000 work, by Damien Hirst's reportedly favorite artist GL Brierley as well, while another of her two large works went into the cross-cultural repository of the Domus
Collection (Beijing).

High-profile visitors were also in appearance at Gallery Diet (Miami), where former-PS1 exhibitor Charley Friedman attracted the attention of Joao Ribas (Curator of Liste Visual Arts Center) and Robert Duncan (of Duncan Aviation), who then went on to purchase A
Reason for Being priced at $22,500 by Ghost of a Dream , represented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery (London). Close by, at Galería Leme (São Paulo), three of South America's most prominent collectors, Richard Akagawa, Arthur Casas and Ana Carmen Longobardi, showed a focused interest in Brazilian artist Marcelo Moscheta’s intense, emotional landscapes.

Amid brisk business, Neil Farber’s work, a mixture of dark childhood fear and grown-up fantasy, was sold by Pippy Houldsworth (London) into to three major collections, Sagamore Hotel, Progressive Insurance and Patrick Collins; prices were from $5,000 - $25,000. A
touch of the macabre continued at Heike Strelow (Frankfurt), where Mathias Kessler's striking Nowhere to be Found—a decomposing skull with live coral growing from eye and nose holes—keenly priced at $15,000, sold to a major American collection; at fellow-Frankfurter
Anita Beckers’ booth Maria Jose Arjona (who’ll be performing as part of the Marina Abramovic retrospective at MoMA) received several invitations from some of Europe's most respected museums.

The institutions in attendance included Bass Museum Miami, Brooklyn Museum , Chelsea Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, DIA Foundation, DZ Bank Collection Frankfurt , Hirshhorn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum New York , The New Museum , MoMA, PS1, The Sculpture Center, Sotheby’s, Weatherspoon Art Museum and YCC Guggenheim . Personalities included Bill Arning, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Adam Budak, Chief Curator, Kunsthaus Graz; Ian Berry, Tang Museum; Susan Cross, Chief Curator, MassMoca; Prospect 1 New Orleans Curator Dan Cameron; Thom Collins (Director, Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College); Marie Fraser, Curator, D'art Contemporain de Montréal (MACM); Claude Gosselin, Director Montreal Biennial; Paulette Gagnon, Director, MACM; Joe Ketner, Curator Milwaukee Art Museum; Miranda Lash, Curator New Orleans Museum of Art; David Liss, Director of Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto); Mark Lanctot, Curator (MACM); Robert Morrow, Director of the 21st Century Museum, Louisville; Jasper Sharp, curatorial advisor VOLTA
Basel, Lowery Stoker Sims, Curator Museum of Arts and Design (NY); Dorothea Strauss, Museum Konkret (Zürich); Lisa Tung, MassArt; and the board from the Groeninge Museum , Bruges.

Fair Director, Am anda Coulson, was delighted with reports of significant sales from new and established galleries exhibiting at the 2010 fair, “Our theme, No Guts, No Glory, has particularly resonated: the 84 exhibitors came in hard with strong solo presentations and have systematically demonstrated that, even in the face of these most challenging of economic times, the art world is robust, agile, and still actively doing great business.”
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