For the inaugural New York round of the Verge Emerging Art Fair, being held March 4-7, 2010, at YellowFishArt Gallery, owner Alessandro Mangiarotti is exhibiting an installation on a bed. The improvised display, by French-Turkish art duo Lorand Revault and Ali Umut Ergin, saves the Montreal shop $500. That's what it'd cost to remove the King Size from a room at Verge's Dylan Hotel site.
Welcome to contemporary art's newest showcase, an exciting prospect for small fry like the four-year-old YellowFishArt who'd be swallowed by leviathans in a bigger expo, yet still a Darwinian test of survival skills.
"The aquarium is full of sharks, but you jump into the water, drink your scotch — and remain very aware," says Mangiarotti. While his outfit specializing in Italian and Japanese artists may not easily afford the splurge, it apparently can't afford to sit out such a promising forum's big city debut.
Verge is not, however, a true virgin. It was conceived from the detritus of the Bridge Art Fair, a non-profit noted for sparking controversy during its three-year career.
Billing itself as "the only art fair exclusively devoted to emerging art," Verge puts over new works in all media, with an eye toward combating stasis in evaluating and exhibiting art. It builds on Bridge's embrace of themes ranging from golems and murder mysteries to stunt professionals and "swarthy men in fast cars."
Like Bridge, Verge coincides with Armory Arts Week, which sees thousands of artists and art connoisseurs descend on the City each March. It's hardly the only satellite fair to orbit the Armory Show; Verge joins fellow upstarts Independent and Critical Design as well as veterans Scope, Pulse, Pool, Fountain and Red Dot.
Another established art fair, Volta, is located a scant seven blocks from the Dylan. Newcomer Verge stands to draw some of Volta's traffic, a windfall surely not lost on Verge Artistic Director and Brooklyn artist Edoaurd Steinhauer. With so many satellites vying for fair-goers' attention, being strategically situated could make the difference in a critic's ability to squeeze one more venue into his/her crammed agenda.
Originally, seven countries were slated to supply Verge's entries, including Greece, Germany, China and Serbia. In the end, Japan, Canada are France are what's left of the show's non-U.S. contingent. Ten galleries have a Brooklyn address, including the Williamsburg-based Gitana Rosa Gallery, which promotes eco-sustainable through its themes and methods as well as through donations to environmental causes.
Though peddling art that's as divergent as their sources, Verve's motley affiliates are apt to agree on at least one thing: Mangiarotti's belief that "there's no way to participate with a zillion-dollar gallery like a Gagosian."
Here's a list of participating galleries, ateliers, storefronts, artist collectives and artist-run spaces:
• ANTIDOTE, Brooklyn, NY
• AS Projects, Paris, France
• Boltax Gallery, Shelter Island, New York
• Cellar Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
• Alice Chilton Grace Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Front Room Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Galerie Yellowfishart, Montréal, Québec, Canada
• Gitana Rosa Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Khaki Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts
• MS Projects, Brooklyn, NY
• Megumi Ogita, Tokyo, Japan
• Sara Nightingale Gallery, Shelter Island, NY
• Nroom Artspace, Tokyo, Japan
• NURTUREart, Brooklyn, NY
• Jonathan Schipper/Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY
• Satori Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Slate Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
• Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
• Spence Projects, Brooklyn, NY
• Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
• Tache Gallery, Richmond Hill, NY
• Van Uxem Projects, NY, NY
The Dylan Hotel
52 East 41st Street
New York, NY