’The Art Fair Is Present’ exhibition, New York

’The Art Fair Is Present’ exhibition, New York

This curiously titled exhibition at Danziger Projects was born from a fascination with performance artist Marina Abramovic’s recent MoMA retrospective, titled ’The Artist Is Present’.

Among video works and installations, the Serbian artist sat silently at a table in the museum all day, every day for the duration of the show. Both gallerist James Danziger and illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme were enthralled by this performance - and have used it as the basis for a show that provides a commentary on the closed nature of the New York art world. Its title - ’The Art Fair Is Present’ - is a direct reference to the exhibition that proceeded it.

Delhomme, known for his sharp satirical sketches of the fashionable and famous, visited the Abramovic show several times. Several works in his new series capture the extraordinary experience of sitting with the artist - also documented on his amusing blog, The Unknown Hipster. ’I felt like a forgotten lump of clay on a sculpture stand, half dry, and not very enticing, that after a little consideration the artist finally decides not to use,’ Delhomme says. ’I thought of Marina’s performance as a living illustration of the philosophical concept of how art looks back at us.’

His new work, and a selection by artists such as Jim Krantz, Paul Fusco and Bernd and Hilda Becher, is arranged like an art fair booth at Danziger Projects, with pieces clearly identified and priced. The installation includes a table at which the gallery director will sit and chat to visitors. The aim is to create a dialogue between visitors, the work and the gallery - a reaction to the passive experience created by most Chelsea galleries, in which visitors are often ignored.

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