March 17, 2009 - PULSE Contemporary Art Fair - Wrap-up
March 17, 2009


Photo by Liz Ligon

PULSE New York Enjoys
Steady Volume of Sales
and Record Attendance.

The 4th edition of PULSE, the largest US art fair dedicated solely to contemporary art saw a 35% jump in attendance this past week, and was home to steady sales. The 17,000 art enthusiasts who visited the fair from March 5-8 constituted the highest attendance to date, showing that it had “continued to grow despite the economic climate”, remarked Helen Allen, Executive Director of PULSE. And as one participant noted, “the attendance figure meant that three times the number of people visited my gallery during the four days of the fair than came during the course of a year”, quickly adding “The exposure for the galleries plus the cultural programs resulted in a robust fair and even sold out booths for some galleries.”

The 101 exhibitors from 26 countries welcomed discerning collectors and buyers who made thoughtful purchases. “While art fairs continue to adjust to the changing market place, they have proven to be an essential component of the art community, and PULSE appears to be among the most resilient”, Allen remarked. “Our objective is to create a strong show and a welcoming venue for exhibitors and collectors alike. An art fair should be an informative public forum, which is why we continue to expand our programming and outreach”.

Among the guests attending the VIP Private Preview Brunch, the PULSE Party at the Hotel on Rivington, and the fair, were celebrities, established collectors, and noted art world professionals including actors Glenn Close, Morgan Freeman, Fran Drescher, and Lost star Yunjin Kim; collectors Antoine de Galbert, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Ron Pezzuti and Donald and Mera Rubell; artists Laurie Anderson, Richard Prince, Andreas Serrano, and Mickalene Thomas; and many art professionals including Katelijne De Backer, Director, The Armory Show; Glenn Fuhrman, Founder and Director of the FLAG Art Foundation; Daniel Houg, Director, Art Cologne; Mike McGinnis, Worldwide Director of Contemporary Art, Phillips de Pury and Co.; and Shamim Momin, Curator of Contemporary Art, The Whitney Museum.

“New media works continued to be popular at PULSE, particularly those representing complex mechanical works or whimsical themes,” said Allen. Bitforms Gallery NYC hit a high note with the sale of Daniel Rozin’s Mirrors Mirror. The interactive kinetic sculpture containing 768 mirrored tiles that react to the presence of a viewer went to a Czech collector for 150,000 USD. Bryce Wolkowitz also had a strong showing in new media and sold two Jim Campbell video-displaying LED boards for 50,000 USD and 36,000 USD, as well as a series of artists’ catalogues encased in clear acrylic and neon-light cases by Korean artist Airan Kang, of which he sold more than 20 between USD3,500 and 3,800 USD. Hilger Contemporary sold two John Gerrard real time 3D animations for 25,000 USD.

The most significant increase in popularity was the interest in drawings and works on paper, many of which displayed the same whimsical themes or were obsessive in their technique. Patricia Sweetow of San Francisco basked in this trend, selling four large mixed-media works on paper by David Huffman depicting elephants, pole dancers and astronauts for 20,000 USD. Freight + Volume sold three Michael Scoggins notebook paper drawings for 10,000 USD. London’s Madder139 had a big hit with Paul Chiappe, selling six of his photorealistic drawings for prices ranging from 5,000 USD to 8,000 USD. The gallery resorted to hanging magnifying glasses next to the works to prove that they are indeed drawings and not photographs. The sales technique attracted the interest of museum professionals from areas as diverse as Minneapolis, Houston, and Paris. Maxwell Davidson of Davidson Contemporary sold obsessively-lined drawings by the relatively unknown artist Kevin Osmond for 2,500 USD to 6,800 USD each, and a sculpture for 7,500 USD.

Oil paintings that featured a lush, thick surface were also in high demand. Mark Moore sold out his booth of 14 of Alison Schulnik’s large oil paintings during the opening and on Friday sold three more works out of her studio, all for prices ranging from 2,500 USD to 25,000 USD. Angell Gallery found success with Kim Dorland, selling two works for 12,000 USD and 16,000 USD. Dorland also scored big at the aforementioned Freight + Volume, who sold several of her works for 14,000 USD.

The New York 2009 PULSE Prize was awarded to Eric Beltz, of Morgan Lehman Gallery, for his drawings that depict figures from American history juxtaposed against natural themes and spiritual texts. The finalists included Nicola Verlato of Bonelli Arte Contemporanea, and Karine Giboulo, of Galerie [sas].

PULSE New York 2009 also presented an unprecedented number of cultural programming including 18 large scale installations and sculptures, the fair’s first ever sound installations, a series of informal talks entitled PULSE Profiles, and an expansion into social networking in the form of pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Social networking resonated in the original programming, evident in the Marina Fokidis-curated PULSE PLAY video lounge Random Rules. For the lounge, Fokidis solicited Youtube playlists from artists including Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Miltos Manetas, and Annika Larrson.

Crowds gathered to watch artist Miriam Cabessa meditatively paint a massive canvas with Arab keffiyeh and Jewish tallit headdresses over a grueling 11 hours during the opening day. Guests at Friday night’s PULSE Party in the penthouse of the Hotel on Rivington enjoyed a raucous performance by musical comedienne Adira Amram.

PULSE will return December 2 – 6, 2009 in Miami.

For more information about PULSE Contemporary Art Fairs, please visit or call +1 (212) 255-2327

Media Contact:

For further information, images, or interviews please contact:

Andy Cushman
Blue Medium, Inc.
T: +1 (212) 675-1800

PULSE Contemporary Art Fair
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