an excerpt from the article...
One curator I talked to at Satellite Art Show, a brand-new fair at the Parisian Hotel, called one of her artists “hyper-emerging, because he has never sold anything before.” This seems to be an apt metaphor for Satellite, which is an upscale offshoot of last year’s Artist-Run Fair. Many of the galleries, collectives, and artists presented were in their 20’s, though not all, and a young, casual, noncommercial attitude made the fair a comfortable place for artists to come together.
I went to Satellite alone, expecting to be in and out quickly, but I ended up spending about twice as long as I intended! This was probably because everyone at this fair was so friendly, ready to talk with you about the work, and ask you about yourself. There was also a good chunk of Baltimore artists and galleries here this year and it seemed worth it to stay and push off some other fairs to the next day.
Satellite reminded me of other smaller artist-run fairs I’ve been to and a part of. It’s the kid sister in spirit to NYC’s Spring Break, an Armory satellite show. Artist-run always means a DIY approach and this is both great and kind of terrible to evaluate, as a journalist and viewer instead of as an artist. Wall labels were generally absent, price lists are often disorganized stacks, and lighting solutions are ad hoc. The crowd is young and the party starts every night at 7 in the lobby and on the street in front of the hotel.
An artist-run approach sometimes reveals why galleries and curators are needed. Often, some distance between the artist and the work is helpful. Artists can be too sensitive – a few folks followed me into the hallway if they thought I hadn’t spent enough time in their rooms or they thought of one last thing to tell me. A few felt it necessary to tell me what other reporters had already reported. As a general rule, I don’t read other reports until after I’ve written my piece because I want to form my own opinion.
I enjoyed the well thought out installations of hometown favorites Terrault and Platform, who clearly considered how to elevate the hotel space they were given in clever ways that I believe would have set them apart to me, even had I not already known them. Also strong installation work from Doppelgänger, Grin, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid.
The work at Satellite is a little bit of everything– photography, textile, painting, sculpture, but the true star is installation. Some galleries or collectives showcased the work and others chose to showcase the hotel room. For this reason, I have mentally dubbed the show the “cave show” because so many rooms had very limited lighting and made it hard to see the work.
A number of the rooms were filled with artist collectives, rather than galleries, and artists who were sharing a room with other artists, attesting to the affordability of the fair. I had my press badge on and I think the artists felt obligated to talk to me. Sometimes this is so great and you learn so much you were curious about. But sometimes, this can be awful when someone interrupts you and tells you what the work means or that the pieces on the wall are their “babies.” How am I supposed to objectively evaluate someones baby??
Overall, the artists at Satellite were super friendly and I did end up listening to a few life stories about their work, and in some cases this made me feel terrible if I was planning to put their work on my ’10 worst’ list. Our discussions made me empathize with the artists and like them, but it didn’t change my mind about certain works that I found to be less compelling than others.
On the whole, I enjoyed Satellite far more than I expected to and plan to return in the future.
Read the original review