Scope Art has been putting on a show for 15 years now in NYC.

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That’s 15 years of innovation, calculation, consideration, and imagination. But with that, it’s also 15 years of potential repetition, and reconsideration: played out ideas, dead ideas, and bad ideas. In an art fair context, galleries are literally pulled apart and totally stripped down. There’s no dressing up here. Art is the only defense. You’re getting art in its rawest form – it’s jarring, it’s messy, and its not necessarily pretty. But as global and, frankly, unapproachable as art fairs are, they’re intended to be incredibly personal. It is the responsibly of the visitor alone to figure out where the art fits into his or her own life. In that way, the stripped down nature of a fair really makes it easier for a viewer to make it a quiet and singular experience. For seconds at a time, all the other art; all the other potentials simply disappear from view as any given piece incorporates itself in your mind. And this happens hundreds if not thousands of times for a person. Every piece. It’s been 15 years now for Scope. This works.



As for trendsetting within the fair, there’s the givens – the old standbys that will always wow a crowd by name alone, think Warhol; Banksy. But even they aren’t addressed as legends because within this stripped down setting, there’s no guards standing around ‘priceless’ [at an art fair? No such thing.] works, there’s no barriers, no high-tech sensors. The art is corralled and treated equally, for better or for worse. In this way, great new talents are presented on the same playing field as these masters.


Consider Matt Bilfield, whose work, “See No Evil” (Krause Gallery, New York – from $6,500) is composed of 3,136 painted wooden dowels arranged in a grid matrix. It’s the modern color-by-numbers, but his subjects, often blonde white women dealing with first world problems, are highly reminiscent of that of Liechtenstein. On that note, first-world, or “1%” art was evident through the show, from Mark Beard/Princess Ormolu’s rough-and-tumble depictions of, well, other princesses (ClampArt, New York – from $3,500), to Lawrence Atoigue’s acrylic and aerosol geometric reworks of the Goyard and Louis Vuitton monograms (Interstate Gallery, Detroit – from $5,000) to Stephanie Lee’s luxury automobile key fobs floating through space (SIANY, New York – from $5,000). A brief extension of this money interest came from Guy Stanley Philoche’s ‘Game Series’, which was is a truly worn, dynamic, aged interpretation of the classic board game ‘Monopoly’, something so satisfyingly identifiable and associative.