PooL, a perennial alternative hotel art fair in New York and Miami is coming to Chicago. It promises “…to create a meeting ground for artists, art dealers and curators with the pupose of advancing the career of the participating artists.” It “…also provides the public with access to art and encourage them to support emerging artists.” The show costs $1,650 to enter after you get juried in (the fair will jury in 25 -50 artists) and will be at the Hampton Inn & Suites, several blocks from the concurrent Art Chicago and NEXT shows this year.
The purpose of the show is very much like the mission of The Artist Project, which in its first year was largely ignored by the dealers, curators and serious collectors, while being reviled the second year as it descended into a street-type art fair. It’s an expensive undertaking for an independent artist and there isn’t much time to think about it as the deadline for entry is in a few days. I’ve gotten two emails and a follow-up phone call soliciting my entry. My experience with The Artist Project leaves me to believe this is a vanity show.
It’s kind of strange that this is a vanity venue, yet it seems to have credibility in the art world. However, I am interested in how this will be received and how it will work here. Will it be like the first TAP, sort of a premium Around The Coyote and largely ignored, or will it get some attention as an auxiliary fair like it does in NY and Miami?
I think NEXT or Art Chicago should still have a showcase for emerging artists in one form or another and it should be sponsored by the Merchandise Mart. There would be no entry fee (10-15 artists would be hand picked and the Mart would receive a commission if work sold). The show would be a way for prospective dealers, curators, collectors, etc to check out the work without a desperate artist in their face and the work would be in a professional setting—the TAP setting was not very inviting. The other professional galleries could benefit too by seeing new talent. The overall idea of TAP is still viable but the model never worked as was proven.
As a side note, I never did like the hotel idea. Stuff laid out on beds, leaning against walls and hanging in bathrooms looks funky.