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July 2015 - Dallas

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was exemplified by a sound installation amongst dislodged and broken-up architectural fixtures that extended beyond the pavilion. Artist Pamela Rosenkranz's extraordinary installation drenched the Swiss Pavilion in a pool of pinkish-white liquid meant to mimic the standardized northern European skin tone. The liquid was filled with elements and name brands best known for their promises of beauty, well-being and happiness — biotin, Evian, silicone and Viagra, among them — while the entire pavilion reverberated with the synthetic sounds of water, generated by a real-time algorithm, and a fresh scent recalling a baby's skin permeated the air. I was also transfixed by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's kinetic sculptures made of real trees inside the French Pavilion — an experimental ecosystem that illustrated the constantly evolving state of nature through sound, light and motion. The Russian Pavilion, painted green to emphasize the post-Soviet generation of invited artists, presented a pensive oversized cosmonaut, his helmet overcrowding the confined space. Genius Axel Vervoordt amazed with yet another sensational installation inside the Palazzo Fortuny titled Proportio. Exploring the concepts of sacred geometry and proportions in art, science, music and architecture, the dark and sumptuous rooms of the palazzo hosted elegant and impressive pairings, such as Sandro Botticelli's Portrait of a Woman, circa 1480, juxtaposed with a 1970s monochromatic Jef Verheyen canvas and Ellsworth Kelly's Red, Yellow, Blue III, 1963. FRIEZE ART FAIR By mid-May, the art world's focus was on New York City. While the most expensive painting ever sold — Picasso's Les femmes d'Alger (Version "0"), 1955 — went under the hammer at Christie's to a Qatari sheikh for $179.3 million, Frieze Art Fair was being set up on Randall's Island, making it clear that buying contemporary art is neither as comfortable nor as easy as it used to be. Although mostly predictable, there were some beautiful new works by Richard Tuttle at Pace Gallery. The best booth was Lehmann Maupin gallery, where a massive spiral installation by Kader Attia, Halam Tawaaf, was created from almost 3,000 beer cans, each bent in the middle as if in submission. The work is a commentary on Islamic culture, mimicking the movement of the Kaaba, while the cans represent the idea of alcohol — a sin in Islam. 1:54 NEW YORK Most art fairs fail to impress me these days, with new ones opening almost every week and tending to showcase the same galleries and artists from Basel to New York, London to Hong Kong, but this one must be mentioned for its freshness and quality. 1:54 New York was the first NY edition of the London-based Contemporary African Art Fair, a truly amazing presentation of poignant, important and extremely well-selected voices from a continent gaining recognition at a fast pace. Galerie Cécile Fakhoury from The Ivory Coast brought Vincent Michéa, while Axis Gallery showcased stunning photography-based work by Sammy Baloji, and A Palazzo Gallery highlighted Edson Chagas, winner of the Golden Lion at the previous Venice Biennale edition for the Angola Pavilion. COURTESY GALERIE CÉCILE FAKHOURY COURTESY THE ARTIST AND A PALAZZO GALLERY Clockwise from top: Vincent Michéa's Bintou #2, Or series, 2013. Meystyle Lattice LED wallpaper, Nordic Waterfall. Lee Broom Crescent Lights. In the Japanese Pavilion, Chiharu Shiota's The Key in the Hand. Francis Sultana's Anita stool and daybed in patinated bronze with kidassia upholstery. In the Swiss Pavilion, Pamela Rosenkrantz's installation: a pool of pinkish-white liquid meant to mimic the standardized northern European skin tone. Edson Chagas' Found Not Taken, Luanda, 2013.

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