New American Paintings/Blog

Emerging Again: D.C.’s (e)merge Goes Into Its Second Year by New American Paintings

Last year’s preview night at (e)merge was a big, ruckus party. Amidst the large crowds it was often difficult to navigate the hallways between exhibitors, and the wait for the elevators always seemed impossibly long. While it may have been loads of fun for those of us sipping PBRs by the pool, perusing and buying artwork that evening seemed to require a bit more resolve and determination. This year, the second for (e)merge, the crowds on preview night were noticeably thinned, particularly among the younger set who were likely turned off by the $45 admission price ($60 at the door). The new cover charge seemed like a calculated move by organizers, one of a handful of changes that made this year’s event seem more streamlined and manageable for exhibitors and visitors alike. Whether these changes translated into more sales is anybody’s guess, but sales may not be the right metric to measure the success of (e)merge. At least not yet. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor (All photos by Matthew except where indicated)

Chajana denHarder performing Singularity (Artist Platform). Photo by Tony Wilson

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Highlights from (e)merge: the artists platform by New American Paintings

Unlike the gallery platform, two-dimensional works were a bit less common in the artist platform at (e)merge. It’s not surprising — in their call to artists the organizers expressed an interest in site-specific work that engaged with the idiosyncrasies of a hotel setting. But it may also point to the organizers’ desire to favor experimentation over commerce in this portion of the fair. There were simultaneous performances throughout (e)merge, and they were hard to miss, but we also got a look at a couple of two-dimensional works as well. New American Paintings’ contributors, Matthew Smith and Alex Ebstein, discuss the artist platform at (e)merge, which closed yesterday. More after the jump!

DC Cheer!, an artist project led by Kristina Bilonick, greeted artists with encouragement as they arrived. Photo by E. Brady Robinson

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Highlights from (e)merge: the gallery platform by New American Paintings

(e)merge kicked off with a preview and poolside party on Thursday evening. Featuring two platforms, one for galleries and the other for unrepresented artists, the fair occupies the first three floors of the Capitol Skyline Hotel as well as the lower level parking garage. I took a look around the gallery platform on Friday — just about 40 exhibitors — and will be checking out the artist platform on Saturday. My report on the galleries, with lots of images, after the jump.  – Matthew Smith, DC Contributor

Bathroom installation by Andy Moon Wilson, at Curator’s Office

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D.C.’s Fair Share: a Q&A with the organizers of (e)merge by New American Paintings

The (e)merge art fair (September 22 – 25, 2011) — founded and organized by Conner Contemporary Art co-directors Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith, as well as by Helen Allen, founder and former director of Pulse — officially opens its doors tonight at the Morris Lapidus-designed Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington, D.C.. The focus of the fair is on emerging artists, but not just those arriving via their dealers and gallerists. Nearly half of the approximately 80 exhibitors will be unrepresented artists vetted by a selection committee that included White Columns director Matthew Higgs, megacollector Mera Rubell of the Rubell Family Collection, among other art professionals. Which practically guarantees that (e)merge won’t be another big-box art fair. Earlier this week I caught up with the organizers of (e)merge, no doubt very busy with last minute preparations, to talk about the concept behind their project. Our conversation after the jump. – Matthew Smith, DC Contributor

The Capital Skyline Hotel, site of the (e)merge art fair. Image courtesy of (e)merge.
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