Bridgehampton, NY: This weekend the Brooklyn-based survivor of the East End major art fair sorting, Market Art + Design, opened its eighth installment on July 5, 2018 in Bridgehampton, NY to a jovial preview crowd of nearly 4,000 people. Massive air conditioners kept the heat wave at bay—hey, brown’s the new green!—and the gigantic pop-up building with 80 art galleries and bespoke furniture brought high spirits with eye candy for everyone.

Market Art + Design leaves no doubt with its name that this is to be a mercantile event, and I hope a successful one as many well-known East End galleries are participating this year. I noted many names that would have participated in the customarily higher end Art Southampton, if that fair had continued, so I expected a bump in quality as the art fair scene along the lines of the traditional model is consolidated.

The first gallery that stood out for me is positioned near the fair entrance, offering wares one would more likely expect to see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art than an art fair. Galerie Fledermaus, a Chicago based gallery, had many to-die-for prints of the Austrian symbolists Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and Egon Schiele (1890-1918) (You read the dates right, Schiele did all of that in 28 years.)

Many were printed from etched glass, a technique lost to history as I doubt a single school would teach it anymore. Some research is in order before spending the asking prices, $4,500-$30,000, but these seem in line with the quality, rarity, and historical importance of this early Modernism.

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"Self-portrait" by Egon Schiele, 1917. Glass print. Exhibited with Galerie Fledermaus, Chicago.

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Here’s a thought: Given the raucous nature of pop-up fairs, galleries should consider loaning or renting an artworks to collectors for a brief period of time, so they can experience it in their home or elsewhere in the contemplative setting for which it was intended. Subtle, slow-revealing artwork doesn’t have much of a chance in a crowded stall; ’tis like reading a novel during a thunderstorm.

Gallery Tableau of Seoul, South Korea, made the trek to Southampton to show some quiet beauties that are a combination of twigs and paintings of twigs, with a gradation so delicate one could not spot the place where the found physical object stopped and the painting began. This perfect work by newcomer Kwan Soo Kim will surely find a home here where it can be enjoyed in a quiet setting.

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"The Branches of a Tree" by Kwan Soo Kim. Exhibited with Gallery Tableau, Seoul S. Korea.

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On the other end of the loudness scale, Jake Patterson—aka Yung Jake, aka Yung JAke, aka Lil Bitch on Twitter and social media—is having a moment, and a half dozen of his aggressive emoji portraits are exhibited at the Tripoli Gallery of Southampton, NY space at the fair.

Patterson markets himself with Hip Hop/rap culture, appearance, music, and signage, all made slightly suspect by the CalArts entry on his resume. California Institute of the Arts is a high tuition Southern California private art school that launched many mainstream painters, such as Eric Fischl and David Salle. The school is known for teaching clever marketing and this shows up again with Patterson, who interviews only by text—with, of course, lots of emojis.

His paintings are an assemblage of text emojis, the new cuneiform, painted to fun effect. Constructing a painting from other images is as old as the hills and was a method popularized by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593), whose paintings are assembled images of colorful fruit.

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"Vertumnus" by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, circa 1580.

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Jake’s works of goofy emojis are novel and high energy, and Tripoli, always current, is smart to show them at this time.

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"eric" by Yung Jake. Portrait constructed of emojis, UV cured ink on dibond, 62.5 x 53 x 2.5 inches. Exhibited with Tripoli Gallery.

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The design end of the fair was not as prevalent as I hoped and few booths were dedicated to design and furniture. Les Ateliers Courbet represents some of the best designers around, but due to shipping problems their stall was lightly populated.

The most improbable gallery turned out to be one of the most rewarding.  Improbable because of its location in a town in the Mojave Desert northeast of Palm Springs, a scorching plain  that stretches from southern California to the Colorado Desert.  The Sunfair ,with an ambitious program, exhibits some furniture/art overlaps including the work of  Brian Richer whose stone carvings of chairs were a hit of the fair. The pieces can be viewed as a chair coming out of stone or one returning to stone, petrified wood.

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"Stone Chair" by Brian Richer. Exhibited with The Sunfair, CA.

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There are many other worthwhile galleries and works too numerous to discuss on deadline, but be assured the fair has a buzz to it and its massiveness and variety assures there will be something there worth traveling for.

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BASIC FACTS: Market Art + Design runs from July 5 to July 8, 2018 at the Bridgehampton Museum, 2368 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. www.artmarkethamptons.com

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