I’ve been going to the Clio Art Fair for a few years now and every year it appears to be growing in scale and quality. This year artists showed their works in a great West Chelsea location over the autumnal Columbus Day weekend to record attendance for the openings as well as the Sunday brunch.
Before attending I took my notebook and my camera, just in case.
There were a little crowd at the front door of a luxury building in the 29th street. There was a discount rate for art students at the door and many smiling faces perusing the collection of artworks adorning the gallery walls. Some of the artists were showing their works for the first time, such as Thomas Fazio, whose sculptures seemed to have a biological trait, with molecular shapes and almost living breathing character to them. There were many standout female artists showing some of my favorite works of the show. Yumiko Hirokawa was exhibiting stunningly colorful acrylic, leaf, and pen drawings depicting masses of protesters taking to the streets in “Fight Like a Girl”. Hyun Jung Ji and her gouache on paper art works were a definite standout as well. “Kafka on the Shore” shows some dream-like (or nightmarish) visions of intertwined scenes in strong color schemes with a very detailed drawing style (see also “Hardboiled Child” and “Pink Factory”). I couldn’t help also being pulled in by the works of Minjin Kang whose beautiful color pallate had a pastoral and calming effect on the brain, creating nostalgia of childhood summer vacations. The plexiglass sculptures of Annie Amelyte Kim were also very moving by exuding vibrancy, fun and originality. The show this year consisted of about 51% American artists and 49% International artists.
During the brunch, I met Misha Capnist, - one of the art advisors of the fair - who enthusiastically took me to have a drink and a look around, explaining the concept behind Clio: Clio Art Fair's primary goal is to create a direct dialogue between artists and art collectors, artists as well as the curators. Clio integrates work from emerging, middle career, and iconic independent artists (in some of the past editions, Clio hosted Vito Acconci, Nina Berman, and Zana Briski). This edition has been curated by Asya Rotella.
For nine editions in the past five years, Clio is effectively creating a niche vision on the art world, a world made by art lovers and not market rules. Clio Art Fair prides itself on challenging the art market methodologies by only including artists with no representation, and is also accepting Bitcoin, and Litecoin!
The range of prices is wide, (going from $ 300 to $ 20k, the size of the artworks passing from a small little acrylic on paper to a bronze sculpture) and the offer, too. Sculptures, art on paper, huge framed or non framed canvases, installations, lightboxes and many others.
To talk about the artists, it has been a pleasure to meet and talk to some of them, I also scheduled some studio visit (as the founder, Mr. Alessandro Berni regularly does during the year) as the ones I met were melted with the good vibes of the place and of the Fair, and the general feeling is to be in a family-run enterprise, with a high professional and human level.