I am a contemporary art nutter in that I spend oodles of money to travel to South Beach every December to see the newest, the greatest, the weirdest art out there at Art Basel Miami. I also travel for the Armory Show and other ridiculous out-of-town fairs. Places where I can see crazy art and actually, potentially, have an opportunity to buy it.
I enjoy contemporary art fairs much more than, say, an afternoon at MOMA (though I do love MOMA, too), because I’m a shopper at heart. Just like when you’re window-shopping in Georgetown, it’s only fun for me if I have the potential to actually take the stuff home.
And so when I look at art, I think, would I really want that in my living room? Would it go with the rest of my house? What does it say? What would it potentially say to next Friday’s dinner party guests?
Now, I haven’t actually invested—yet. And it might be a little while still. I bought a condo in May and it then took me five months to actually purchase a real television. Baby steps, people. But art is high on my to-buy list. Higher in priority, in fact, than a new kitchen (if you know me, you are not blinking an eyelid at that statement).
Last night I wandered the halls of the Capitol Skyline Hotel at the (e)merge art fair in the hopes of falling in love at first sight. The galleries had traveled from near and far, from Baltimore to Amsterdam, and even from an art truck that bops around Puerto Rico. One full floor of the hotel is taken over by (e)merge, and each of the emptied hotel rooms have their own distinct mood, music, and lighting, reflecting the gallery and its art.
It is a friendly fair, in that the gallery owners themselves were in the rooms, striking up conversations with visitors and eager to tell us all about the fresh young artists whose work they are representing. It’s also friendly in that there weren’t many pieces at price points over $1,000. I could totally take this stuff home, I thought, which just made it more exciting.
The (e)merge fair only takes up one floor of the hotel, along with some downstairs ballrooms, but that’s because it’s just a baby fair—this year is its second year. I hope, one day, that it will be big enough to take over the entire hotel, or perhaps one of D.C.’s larger venues. I am all for growing and supporting contemporary art in D.C.
Wandering the halls were some of DC’s most eclectic art fanatics in all their weird glory. I loved the colorful outfits, the crazy hair, the big hipster glasses that were shuffling around, punctuated by enormous minotaurs on stilts pacing up and down the halls—no joke. People were buying, there were transactions and excitement, and it was great to be around it.
After we checked out all the gallery rooms, we went downstairs to the pool for a Thievery Corporation concert. Outside you could buy burgers, chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs straight off the grill, and there were bars posted around the perimeter of the pool.
I was disappointed that only Eric Hilton got on the stage to spin. Though I adore him and his music set a great ambiance, when an event touts “Thievery Corporation,” I was expecting the group of 10 or more. Instead this was “Eric Hilton from Thievery Corporation” spinning by the pool, and (e)merge should have been more upfront about the entertainment.
Regardless, it was a lovely evening. And even with the $45 ticket price ($60 at the door, gulp) that included no drinks and no food and only one-tenth of the promised entertainment, I was still so happy to support contemporary art in D.C.
(e)merge is open through the weekend. Get there quick to check it out and snag the art you want for your walls. Click here for more information.
Friday, October 5: 12pm – 7pm
Saturday, October 6: 12pm – 7pm
Sunday, October 7: 12pm – 5pm
$15 ($10 Seniors and Students/valid ID)