Incubator for Earthquakes by Bigert & Bergström definitely rattled!
"Incubator for Earthquakes" by Bigert & Bergström definitely rattled! Courtesy Seattle Art Fair

The Seattle Art Fair happened. I was there. So were other people, though organizers won't tell me the official attendance numbers. Things were bought and sold. I was shocked when a man inquired about a glass sculpture that cost $60K and he didn't immediately faint.

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On the whole, I am less impressed with the fair than my predecessor was—it was fine. While I definitely appreciated seeing work by artists from across the world, I struggled with the question: who is this for? Collectors? Art lovers? The general public? Artists? Gallerists? Everyone seemed to walk around a bit in a daze (like me) or tut disapprovingly at the Bread Face demo.

In any case, here are some of the works that broke through the Big Indifference—both big and small.


To a Flame was acquired by the Frye Art Museum for their permanent collection.
"To a Flame" was acquired by the Frye Art Museum for their permanent collection. JK

I've really been blown away by White's recent work—I'm loving the shift in perspective and how he's playing with the layout and interface of various apps on our phones. The way the light illuminates the face of White's subject reminds me of the way light moves in a Georges de La Tour painting—less warm, though. Makes me wonder what at a 17th century Mary Magdalene would look like when scrolling through the Infinite Feed.

"To a Flame" was acquired by the Frye Art Museum for their permanent collection as part of a two-year partnership between the art fair and museum. The Frye also acquired three other artworks from three other Pacific Northwestern galleries and artists: Jeffry Mitchell from PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Ko Kirk Yamahira from Russo Lee Gallery, and Mary Ann Peters of James Harris Gallery.

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To a Flame was acquired by the Frye Art Museum for their permanent collection.
"To a Flame" was acquired by the Frye Art Museum for their permanent collection. JK

"Peripheries #3" by Heather Day at Joshua Liner Gallery

This picture doesnt do this painting justice.
This picture doesn't do this painting justice. JK

The pictures I took of California-based Heather Day's work really don't do it justice at all. Her pieces are deeply satisfying to look at—the blend of colors, movement, and line come together to create captivating and attractive pieces. Throughout her work I noticed that this bright magenta would sometimes make an appearance amongst all those cool tones. Something hot to keep your eyes focused.
MMMmmMmmm, dat magenta.
MMMmmMmmm, dat magenta. JK

Aaron Johnson at Over the Influence Gallery

How the Lemons Got Loose by Aaron Johnson
"How the Lemons Got Loose" by Aaron Johnson JK
God, I love the gremlins and sentient orbs in Aaron Johnson's paintings. At the Over the Influence booth, the Los Angeles/Hong Kong gallery featured the work of Brooklyn-based Johnson. I jokingly said to myself (I was alone in the giant convention center), that “This is me on acid.” Not really though—I didn’t see any multidimensional elves while tripping balls.

In any case, Johnson’s paintings have a sense of atmosphere to them—they’re creepy, but I like them. I felt particularly drawn to the portrait series along the back wall of the booth—most of the figures had little teeth. Remind me of Tic Tacs.

Happy Pappy--this is literally my phone background right now.
"Happy Pappy"—this is literally my phone background right now. JK

"MFMF [YRB]" by Dan Gluibizzi at Russo Lee Gallery
MFMF [YRB] by Dan Gluibizzi
"MFMF [YRB]" by Dan Gluibizzi JK
These were small but sick—I'm a sucker for colored plexiglass. The Portland-based artist was super playful in an accessible way. No cheap thrills here. I'm most used to seeing his work in two dimensional, watercolor form, but his style's translation to sculpture worked perfectly.

Anthony James at Melissa Morgan Fine Art
Portal Icosahedron by Anthony James.
"Portal Icosahedron" by Anthony James. JK
I had to end with the girl that everyone was talking about. Anthony James's infinite sculpture drew interesting and weird comparisons: the Upside Down from Stranger Things, a robot's uterus, The Void. All are correct. I was 100% That Guy who spent five minutes trying to figure out exactly how the sausage was made—my guess was that it was a complex system of one way mirrors that were able to reflect into infinity. A part of me hoped that this piece of art would be able to rip the fabric of time and take us all out of here. Got as close as I could to the glass, closed my eyes waiting for it to take me. Nothing happened.
Is this what death looks like.
Is this what death looks like. JK

The Seattle Art Fair 2020 will be back next July 23-26. And so goes another year.

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