So last week we lent New Yorkers Frieze Art Fair, and by all accounts, you both seem to have got on pretty well. We like what you did with the place. Frieze kind of looked cool again in the Big Apple.
But while London's flagship contemporary art event was weekending in Manhattan, the much more discreet Other Art Fair was in the midst of setting up in the Ambika P3 space in Marylebone (a stone's throw away from Frieze's usual Regent's Park venue). What the venue lacked in impact (it's in the bowels of Westminster university, which you access through the underground parking lot) the private view made up for in cheap wine, happy vibes, live music and a guy walking round in nothing but a ragged old pair of underpants (he wouldn't offer an explanation).
Taking a decidedly anti-Frieze approach to selling art, the goal of the Other Art Fair is to connect art lovers direct with the artists - cutting out the dealers and middle-money-men in-between. So, on the plus side, artists get more money while punters get more bargains, but on the downside, you don't see half so many expensive facelifts.
From the 100 exhibitors showing (a shortlist whittled down from 500 by an elite committee which included artist Chris Levine and critic Francesca Gavin), we selected our top five artist highlights from the show:
Caren Hartley: Playing with form, function and material, Royal Academy graduate Caren Hartley creates a tableaux of faux-real vessels, often created from metal, but which appear utterly fragile and easily breakable. With these beautifully constructed objects Hartley plays with our perception of materials, subverting the familar and domestic into beautiful design objects.
Jebila Wolfe-Okongwu: Building vibrant sculptures of bananas created from old banana boxes and a recurring banana motif in his paintings (all intentionally pretty phallic) are Wolfe-Okongwu's way of dealing with his percieved identity as an African artist.
Giorgio Granozio: There is something about Granozio's methodical, precise approach that pleases as he breaks down landscapes in geometric fields, applying architectural principles to his image-making, achieving clean, linear and uncluttered results.
Alberto Fusco: With meticulous attention to detail and an almost military-like approach to folding paper, Fusco's 3-dimensional shapes are beautifully executed to create geometric sculptures and organic pattern formations.
Timothy Hon Hung Lee: Tim Lee's intricate ink-on-rice-paper art works impress for their sheer detail. The delicacy of the materials is in contradiction to some quite dark subject matter as he explores loss, saddness and mortality. His style is a hybrid of ancient Chinese painting techniques and European art traditions.
The Other Art Fair runs until May 13, 2012