Artist installations were placed on the main floor in one of two large reception rooms. Most notable was the table-top work by Tristan Hamel (Finland). Rectangular, lidded boxes sitting like a ring of townhouses on a schematic map drawn on planks laid-out as a horizontal canvas. Viewers stopping to lift the box lids, found different fillings; tiny landscapes in some, paper waves between which paper fish appeared when a red button was pushed in another, a stack of Ikea instructions the size of a calling card, etc. The action also activated a recording of voices, presumably in Finnish, adding another dimension. Other installations in the first floor areas were derivative (e.g. hanging lamps reminiscent but not nearly as interesting as Judy Pfaff installations) or constructed in a monotonous style (e.g. knotted rope bunches piled on either side of a water fountain) and a live (and much mentioned) artist performing the continuous typing of a practice sentence using only two fingers, studiously avoiding learning to effectively and fiercely ignoring visitors wandering through the lobby.
The second floor hotel rooms housed the weekend gallery displays. Two artist’s works shown by Nomad Gallery (Brussels) captured our interest. Small, colored assemblage works in plaster for the wall by Duhirwe Rushemeza (Rwuanda/ US) and shallow relief portraits carved in very thin laminate wood by Aime Mpane (DR Congo). In some the different tones of the laminate provided skin tones while the surrounding surface areas were painted. Some areas cut all the way through the thin panel may have pushed the technique too far. The non-functional Objet made of unusual combinations of found materials by Florian Japp displayed by Gallery Rockelmann & (Berlin) looked terrific in the homey bedroom setting standing bedside and bolted to a wall, as did the paintings by Jeffrey Teuton. Goya Gallery (Baltimore) again brought interesting including a print portfolio, and two small Joyce Scott bead figures added to ceramic figurines neatly displayed on a table that replaced the beds. The small paintings by Sally Egbert on the walls showed the mastery a long career of painting, subtle color space complemented with a found object here and there to complete the compositions. The intimate display space made for plenty of art talk among viewers and between viewer and gallerist.
Down in the artist inhabited parking area, location of loud live music, graffiti style and new eco art installations, artist Daniel Wilson provided the best end to our emerge visit. Sitting in the backseat of a red Taxi we saw city streets pass by, video projections on an old style projection screen set up in front of the car, and heard conversations recorded during Wilson’s 4-months as a late shift (5pm- 5am) NYC cab driver and experienced the anticipations of gallery hopping in the Mother-of-all-Art. Upbeatable. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/nyregion/cab-riders-riffs-secretly-recorded-for-the-sake-of-art.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&)