Art Palm Beach embraces street art and immersive experiences

At 21, Art Palm Beach may be the oldest of West Palm Beach’s surviving art fairs, but it’s setting itself up to be the newest.

“We are opening up a continuum of what art is today,” organizer Lee Ann Lester said.

Fielding 75 galleries, the fair will open with a private preview Wednesday and run through Sunday at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

The fair is not abandoning traditional art.

For example, Schantz Galleries will show works by veteran glass master Lino Tagliapietra. Trotta-Bono Contemporary will mount a show featuring recent work by Jose Bedia, a trailblazer for a generation of Latin American artists. The fair will honor Bedia with its Visionary Award.

But such established names will be balanced with an influx of emerging artists and new media.

“We’re taking the building and creating a whole new experience,” Lester said.

Visitors literally can become part of the art by entering installations such as Stefano Ogliari Badessi’s inflatable environment Inside the Dragon’s Breath or Shawn Kolodny’s multiroom Fake Fulfillment Center.

The new Uninhibited Urban Art Pavilion will feature street artists such as Mister E, Mr. Brainwash, CB Hoyo and John Paul Fauves working on their art. Also new is the Edge|Emerge section where affordably priced, envelope-pushing art in new media will be displayed.

“Even seasoned collectors want to see what’s exciting and new,” Lester said.

Badessi’s Inside the Dragon’s Breath will be set up outside The Directed Art Modern’s booth. A balloon installation measuring 46 feet in diameter and 17 feet high, it’s made of Mylar plastic bags, plastic wrap and paint.

“When you go into Stefano’s installation, you are consumed in an entirely different world,” said Valeray Francisco, a partner in The Directed Art Modern.

It’s not a passive piece of art. “How people move inside the space affects the space so it’s constantly in flux,” Francisco said.

Inside the booth, Francisco will focus on work that deals with introspection such as Zena Holloway’s otherworldly photographs of underwater sirens and Dominik Schmitt’s lush paintings incorporating images of human organs.

Art dealer and agent Marcel Katz has a hand in a number of exhibition spaces.

In Raise the Caliber, DetroitWick will exhibit bullets and guns suspended in lucite. The weapons were acquired through buy-back programs or seized at crime scenes.

The walls will be decorated with Black Crow Studios’ wallpaper featuring soothing swirls of colored water. The studios’ photographs of guns suspended in colored water will be hung on the walls. Proceeds from sales benefit the Caliber Foundation, which supports victims, families and communities affected by gun violence.

Katz’s booth will concentrate on art connected to street culture. The display will mix established artists such as Banksy and Invader with emerging artists. Cameras scattered throughout the space will live stream to a wall of TV monitors and visitors’ senses will be stimulated by sounds and scents as well as sights.

“The more senses I can hit, the more you’ll remember it,” Katz said.

Artist Kolodny knows a thing or two about fake fulfillment. Until recently, he ran fancy nightclubs. “I was in the business of selling fake fulfillment,” he said.

He now makes prints in which the delivery systems of drug addiction, such as pills, syringes and vials, are associated with big-brand logos and other dead-end avenues to fulfillment.

Kolodny’s Fake Fulfillment Center will engage visitors in activities such as raking a Zen rock garden pebbled with 250,000 capsules or “Blister Twister,” where they scramble to connect with blister packs featuring major brands’ logos and signature colors when the brands’ name are called out.

Visitors exit through the gift shop, where Kolodny’s art and clothing sporting his images are for sale.

“At the end of the day, it’s a vehicle to showcase the art,” he said. This is an art fair, after all.


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