While there are plenty of well run art fairs in New York every year to keep us locals happy, Paris Photo has cemented its place as the singular standout event on the art calendar for photography collectors. Held in the expansive vaulted space of the Grand Palais, it brings together a wider selection of galleries than the AIPAD show and smartly crosses into the world of photobooks with booths from publishers and rare book dealers alike. If “more” is what you’re after, than Paris Photo is like drinking from a firehose.
The idea that an art fair can be “reviewed” like any other museum or gallery show is more than a stretch of normal definitional boundaries. While each booth is undeniably carefully curated, trying to come to some larger, overarching conclusion about what is on view in aggregate is next to impossible; it’s a little like trying to review the contents of the stores at your local shopping mall. Each of us will be drawn to different works, and so a “review” of a fair like Paris Photo is really more like a guided tour than a critical assessment.
My approach to the fair has been to give each booth the undivided attention it deserves, and after seeing what is on offer, to select one or two images that are of particular interest, ranging from the fresh and new to the unexpected and unknown. My goal has been to choose works that fall outside the realm of the usual suspects, and I have generally avoided selecting prints that have recently been on view in New York gallery shows or that we have already reviewed in another context.
The report is divided into five slideshows of image highlights, roughly organized by physical location in the Grand Palais; this first report chronicles the booths found at the far left of the fair (assuming you are standing at the entrance) and each subsequent report (over the next few days) will tackle a chunk of territory. Gallery names/links are followed by notes on the work featured, including the artist/photographer name, the price of the work (typically in euros or dollars), and some additional notes and comments.
So let’s get started:
Part 2 of this report (covering the area to the middle left, closer to the center) can be found here.