Haley Jane Samuelson Yesterday, I woke up and the sky was full of blues, changing, arching over themselves, 2012
In a weekend dominated by the Frieze Art Fair, Miami's PULSE Art Fair was a much more accessible event for most, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th street. The two-story event housed a myriad of international exhibitors, bringing a massive variety of contemporary art with them.
Its eighth New York exhibition, PULSE felt more cohesive than either NADA NYC or Frieze, yet also was the most varied in regard to media. That is to say, the artists at the event pushed the envelope in regard to their materials and their subject matter. While there were definitely more eye-popping displays of grandiosity at Frieze (which is to be expected), PULSE had an overall vibrancy that permeated the fair.
Upon my entrance, my first interaction at the fair came from the hyper-engaging artists of the Mike Weiss Gallery, particularly Cameron Gray. His pieces were found posters, altered to have glitchy, psychedelic video shining through in certain areas. The most mesmerizing was his The Grandest Erotic Encounter of My Early Manhood, showing a model on the beach, he bikini now a constant movement of cascading colors.
In a fitting move by the organizers, the Nancy Hoffman booth was placed beside Mike Weiss Gallery. Asya Reznikov's Jackpot series was particularly enthralling, a collection of three lightboxes of a pregnant woman's stomach with slot machine imagery, evoking discussion on maternal worry and the unknowing of the future and health of an unborn child.
New York's Steven Kasher brought works from the perpetually coordinated world of Miles Aldridge, as well, furthering the glossy, neon-laced sentiment of PULSE. Aldridge, with his always impeccable hypercolor direction, straddles the line between art and fashion in such a way that merged with the design of the fair. Like Aldridge's work, the fair was meticulously organized, down to every minute detail.
Israeli artist Lee Yanor's As Far As I Can See played with materials, as well, pressing the image of a dress on its own material, silk and voile. Tis large pieces comes from one many of PULSE's international exhibitors, Tel Aviv's Zemack Contemporary.
Haley Jane Samuelson's photographs of dancers, a series called "The Indecisive Moment," was also a highlight of the fair. Her work was a highly lyrical investigation of dancers as a prototypical artistic muse, and how that shapes the art itself. By placing these dancers in nature, the subjects become rhythmic nymphs, free in a sense, yet still noticeably constrained. These are haunting photographs, beautiful in a way that is reminiscent of European fairy tales.
Upstairs, IMPULSE housed solo showcase booths, from whom the PULSE Prize winner is selected. This year, it was the painter Marjolijn De Wit, from Otto Zoo.
PULSE exhibited a broad variety of photography, and that was refreshing, given the somewhat limited selection of photography available at the other Frieze satellite fairs, like NADA and Cut/Log. While Frieze is still king, PULSE was a viable and attractive alternative for those wishing to avoid the trek to Randall's Island.
Review by Travis Huse
Images Courtesy of PULSE