Within SCOPE 2008

So far, my favorite art fair has been SCOPE NEW YORK, not only because of the work but because of the scale of the exhibition.

From what I saw, the stars of SCOPE were undoubtedly some of the Latin American artists. Two galleries, one from Brazil (Mendes Bahia Arte Contemporanea) and the other from Columbia & Spain (Galeria Fernando Pradilla) had the strongest pieces on display.

Looking back as I leave scope...artifice rules

At Mendes Bahia Arte Contemporanea, the Japanese-Brazilian artist, Rogério Degaki, immediately attracted my eye and the buzz is that he’s red hot at the moment.

Not only is he exhibiting with art world superstar Takashi Murakami nowadays (or so I hear) but his work is a highly palatable fusion of J-pop and what the gallery tried to convince me was Brazilian sensuality (I would called it a sex shop aesthetic). His paintings, unfortunately, seemed a few steps behind his sculpture in terms of skill and interest.

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Sidney Phylocreon, also at Mendes Bahia Arte Contemporanea, had a series of riveting “drawings” on display. Composed of daily reflections on violence (according to the galleryist, since I don’t read Brazilian Portuguese), the drawings sandwich together sheets of glass (or were they plexiglas?) with handwritten lines that form quite lovely handgun or rifle forms. I inquired about them (I was THAT enamored) but they were all sold out.

Sidney Phylocreon at Mendes Bahia Arte Contemporanea

Then there was Argentinean photographer Marcos López at the Columbian/Spanish Galeria Fernando Pradilla. His work was an eye-opener for me. The large, sometimes kitschy and always vivid images include hand-painted elements and staged scenes that are rich allegories about Argentina and its quirky culture.
Check out López’s website for more images by someone who I think is going to be a major name to watch.

Marcos López at Columbian/Spanish Galeria Fernando Pradilla

For more from SCOPE check out my complete Flickr slideshow here.

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