In the beginning of March it’s art fair week in New York. Art fairs are a market place that connects hundreds of galleries with crowds of art lovers. The Armory Show is the flagship with a number of smaller satellite fairs going on around town. Visiting an art fair as a couple is a fun thing to do. Not only do you get to enjoy the creativity of all those artists, you get to compare your likes and dislikes. See if you can agree on what is meaningful, smile provoking, outrageous or beautiful—or what is not. And see if you can find an artwork you’d both like to live with in your common home.
You can find pretty much any subject at an art fair. My mission at the armory show was to find an artwork that depicts a bride. And I actually found one. Artis, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting the Israeli art scene with the rest of the world, featured three works by artist Keren Cytter—with one of them showing a groom kissing his bride. The blue ballpoint pen drawings are derived from the covers of romance novels and were commissioned by Artis. The roughly 2×2 foot works on paper were attached to the wall with scotch tape (at the instruction of the artist) and priced at 12,000 each.
Let’s say as a couple, one of you wants to buy a work of art for your home and the other is looking for something more practical like furniture. At the investment of a million you could compromise on a flock of sheep that doubles as stools (at Ben Brown Fine Arts). The French surrealist sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne wanted to “bring the notion of usefulness to sculpture and demystify art,” as the New York Times quotes the artist in an article remembering him shortly after his death in 2008. (btw: WBM editors spotted a similar flock of sheep in the Royal Palm Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco.)
So, as I visited the Armory show with my girl, what was our favorite? We agreed on a painting by South African artist Gavin Rain available for 24,000 at the Leslie Smith Gallery. What on first glance looked like an abstract composition of dots, turned out to be a take on Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting. You just have to step back and squint your eyes hard enough or get out your phone and see Mona Lisa appear on the screen.
While it is possible to spend 5 or 6 or even 7 figure dollar amounts on a work of art, it is also possible to find pieces under a thousand. Hey, maybe the gallery lets you register.
Art fairs are happening throughout the year. Upcoming ones include Art Basel Hong Kong 3/15-3/17, Art Dubai 3/18-3/21, Affordable Art Fair New York 3/25-3/29, Art Cologne 4/16-4/19 and Art Market San Francisco 4/30-5/3. Great resources to find out about art fairs are art-collecting.com and artsy.net.
About the author:
An artist by profession, Joachim Marx, studied painting in his native Cologne, Germany and at the New York Academy of Art, where he received an MFA in 1991.
He paints figures floating in a world of paint, classical oil portraits on commission and rents out his abstract works through his website artrental.us.
His work was shown in solo shows at the Consulate General of Germany in New York; Caesarea Gallery in Boca Raton, FL; La MaMa La Galleria in New York; Schloß Opherdicke in Unna, Germany; Museum im Torhaus, Siegburg, Germany; Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn and in 2008 one of his paintings was in Chelsea art Museum.
He also designed church windows for a church near Fulda, Germany. German public television featured him and in a 30 min documentary.
He lives with his 9-year-old daughter in New York City. Besides working in the studio, he teaches children’s art classes.