In my youth, I was an art dealer on the international scene attending art fairs representing a gallery I ran in London. Memories of those days flooded back as I entered the Beyond the Borders International Art Fair. When you go to this sort of fair you are able to walk up and down the isles covering thousands of miles with just a few steps. We held court in our booth for the SD Art Prize and SDVAN, made valuable introductions, advised collectors on purchases and spotted talent. There was a buzz in the air that this was the place to be on the opening night. Our wish is that our county can support an international fair on a regular basis and there was a tangible optimism Sept 2-4, 2009 that that might be possible.
True to the title of the fair, it was very exciting to see galleries represented outside of America. Arte 256 Galeria from Tijuana displayed Alida Cervantes who continued her tradition of portraits like the one she did of Jean Lowe for our Movers and Shakers project. Tomas Rivas who has delighted us at the Lux showed with ACG from Chile. Tania Candiani (New Contemporaries) showed with Sumo Arte We were thrilled with the work of Rodrigo Echeverri from KBK. We know one of his paintings of super realistic red bricks sold during the fair to a local collector. Both those galleries are located in Mexico City.
Sales are one of the big things that make an art fair exciting. The pressure is on our local collectors to buy while the work is on location. The fair attracted lots of visitors (from LA and Orange County mainly) who also felt the need to decide before the day’s end.
The Bird Project of the Paint Night Group sold numerous small works and we were pleased to hear that at least one of Matt Divine’s sculptures also sold during the show. Sales were also reported from the Art of Photography booth. I discovered a new artist Stephen Foss represented by Julie Nester Gallery out of Park City, Utah. (an impressive piece was acquired by a La Jolla doctor).
Iana Quesnell’s (SD Art Prize) exquisite drawing of a fully loaded lace table seating graced the stage. Eric Phleger Gallery (newest addition to the art scene in Leucadia) showed Raul Guerrero (SD Art Prize) and Ed Moses side by side. The Klines’ Peaces was a special exhibit with work recently shown at CCAE.
Representing La Jolla, Galeria Jan launched Taylor Marie Prendergast, a highly talented and very young local painter. Madison Gallery featured Luc Leestemaker who was present to sign his book. CJ Gallery from downtown SD, hung the huge tea bowl series by Hoon Kwak.
The fair for me was a combination of exhaustion and exhilaration. With an incredible team of volunteers, including Alexandra Rosa, Dave Ghilarducci, Deborah Francis, Carol Beth Rodriguez, Rosemary KimBal, Kay Colvin, Lisa Van Herik, Virginia Lukei, Tania Alcala, Michele Guieu, and Silvia Valentino Karabashlieva, we greeted over 3000 collector, artists, and art professionals. This mighty band informed all those that attended about our efforts at SDVAN. Our SD Art Prize stand looked magnificent with the works of Kim MacConnel, Brian Dick and May-ling Martinez. The hotel and grounds are delux and the staff of the hotel and the organizers of the fair including Ann Berchtold and Julie Schraeger did a super job. This was a first class operation and most of the leading lights of the art world in San Diego were present.
My recommendation is to save your money, stay close to home, no airfare and no hotel bills. Instead, buy local. Just to be contrary, my next blog will be from London for the Frieze Art Fair and Venice for the Biennial. But after all someone has to spread the word about art in SD.
Davie Hickey gave a lecture at the Beyond the Borders International Art Fair and you can read a report on it in our SmART Collector: Ask the Art Critic: Dave Hickey feature.