Contemporary art Fairs News USA

Screaming for attention

Pulse art fair may not have found its voice, but it's not keeping its mouth shut

Background 2, 2013, Marko Tadic (Ikon Arts Foundation)

Pulse is not exactly an uneven art fair. For the most part, its greatest peaks are not too far and above its lowest valleys, some of which truly plunge. The multi-artist booths are often full of paintings, photos or light installations that barely speak to one another, or to the rest of the art on view throughout. Eclectic and aesthetically scattered, this fair embodies the problems that accompany pluralism. In an art world that seemingly knows no bounds, which has colonised large swaths of New York real estate for an entire week, there is certainly room enough for this event. But organisers are still figuring out what to do with their allotted space. More than anything, this is a show that is still finding its voice.

There is a sustained amount of aesthetic shouting, and it begins early on. At the front entrance of the fair, the main doors are covered in an ugly abstract pattern of purple, green, orange and yellow stripes, and the weakest work inside complies with the adopted colour scheme, as if it were screaming for attention. Appropriately, the best art is the most tranquil. At the stand for the Ikon Arts Foundation, a group of small collages by the Croatian artist Marko Tadic elbows practically everything else aside, even though these hushed works are still lifes. One interior, Background 2, 2013, depicts a room with a table, a painting, and four chairs, but no people. It's a silent space, and the intimate scale of the work—15 inches by 10 inches—echoes the lack of noise. Tadic's work is on the right track. Getting to the end of a busy week for the New York art world, it's time for some peace and quiet.

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