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Personal recommendations: the pick of PULSE

Chris Jordan, "Lightbulbs" (2009), $25,000


Chris Jordan, "Lightbulbs" (2009), $25,000



For the second year running PULSE have come up with a quite splendid fair on Pier 40. Thought-provoking, entertaining, wide-ranging, and even surprising, these are all words that I would happily apply to the art down there, and what is more, there is a fantastic atmosphere at the fair, which I put down to gallerists who are confident in their artists whether or not they are making huge sales.

Let’s start here, and get another starry sky image at the top of the page. At Paul Kopeikin you’ll find Chris Jordan’s image of 32,000 lightbulbs, which is the equivalent of the electricity that is wasted in this country every hour because of televisions and computers left in standby mode, faulty wiring and the like. So depressing a thought carried by such a beautiful image might, in another artist’s hands, be simply crass. It’s an indication of the quality of Mr Jordan’s art that it is the thought that makes us uncomfortable, rather than the image.

Al Farrow, "Mausoleum II, (2008)

Al Farrow, "Mausoleum II, (2008), $75,000

Next, another piece that is as provocative as it beautiful. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t aware of Al Farrow’s art until I came across it here on Catharine Clark‘s booth. These pieces are really disconcerting: churches, synagogues, mosques, and mausoleums crafted from armaments. The effect is as unsettling as the idea is simple, and I was delighted to make Mr Farrow’s acquaintance. I want to see more of his work soon.


Devorah Sperber, "After Marilyn II" (2008), $35,000


Finally, an artist whose work I do know well, though I’m not going to apologize for recommending her again. Devorah Sperber shows with Caren Golden. She does magical things with perception. Here’s her portrait of Marilyn Monroe conjured from hundreds of spools of thread and a single crystal ball. Her art may lack the discomfort that Mr Jordan’s photographs and Mr Farrow’s sculptures cause us, but her ability to transform one order of reality into another that is entirely different makes her an artist every bit as engaging as they are.

(I also visited Volta yesterday, which I enjoyed enormously. My round-up is on ARTINFO. Then last night I went to see the sublime Meredith Monk performing Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim. I shall be writing that up for Total Theatre.)

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