[ COLLIDE ] showcases an unconfined, collaborative take on the annual art show
By Anthony King | SDUN Reporter
One of the region’s top events focused on showcasing and selling art returns Nov. 7, bringing art collectors, artists and gallery owners together for a weekend given away to putting San Diego on the international art map.
Called [ COLLIDE ], the Art San Diego’s 2013 Contemporary Art Fair runs from Nov. 7 – 10 in Balboa Park, and founder and executive director Ann Berchtold said this year is going to be like no other. With a hefty catalog highlighting the more than 70 artists, gallery owners and exhibiters at this year’s fair, Berchtold just might be right.
“The theme of this year is [ COLLIDE ], which comments on different types of creative intersections—cross-disciplinary, cross-natural, from art to film, from street to urban—and how they manifest in both a visual and social setting,” Berchtold said in her welcome letter.
Additionally, [ COLLIDE ] will be broken into four sections, or districts that represent different disciplines in art: contemporary art, contemporary product and furniture design, mid-century and modern art, and solo-artist curated booths.
Art San Diego 2013 provides a “new spin” on the concept of an art fair, Berchtold said. Far from a quick walk through a cavernous warehouse where attendees stand apart from the art and artists, she said she wanted to make an event that was far more interactive.
“Traditional exhibition design is co-mingled with public and performance spaces, [and] many of these spaces call on the attendees to participate or engage in an immersive experience,” she said. “This year’s theme is exceptionally exciting as it allows the artists to really showcase works which will engage and push boundaries.”
Last year’s art fair was the first held in Balboa Park and was used to focus on a fresh, new concept in how gallery owners reach their intended audience. Art San Diego was established in 2009 as the city’s first Contemporary Art Fair, offering attendees the chance to see and purchase art from vendors across the globe.
Now in its fifth year, organizers anticipate attendance at over 10,000 for the four-day event, starting with the Thursday night VIP reception. The 2012 opening-night event saw over 2,600 collectors in attendance.
“My hope was that the fair could provide a vibrant platform for San Diego’s enormous diversity of art and artists, and to demonstrate that the work created here stands up alongside leading international art,” Berchtold said following Art San Diego 2012. “The universal enthusiasm about the quality of [the] show revealed a strong appetite in this community to acquire great art and engage in an immersive artistic happening”
As a local gallery owner, Alexander Salazar has been a part of cultivating and showcasing art in San Diego for several years, and said he too feels the region is set to take its place as a leading player in the international art scene. Salazar runs Alexander Salazar Fine Art, and exhibits under the names White Box Contemporary, Salazar – Contemporary Art Exhibits and Salazar AIR.
“It’s important to me that every gallery in San Diego should support this fair,” he said, acknowledging Berchtold’s efforts to put San Diego “on the map” for art sales. He also has a number of artists he would personally like to show on an international level.
For opening night, Salazar will be hosting a champagne bar in one of his Art Fair exhibit spaces. On Saturday, he will host a reception—also at the Art Fair—for White Box Contemporary visiting artist Shinichi Sugimoto, featuring one of Sugimoto’s giant murals.
Additionally, Salazar will be bringing a collection of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs he exhibited in his gallery earlier this year. One night of that exhibit, called “The Agency – 1983,” was a fundraiser for Mama’s Kitchen.
“The Mapplethorpes are very important in that the Mapplethorpe estate didn’t know they existed,” Salazar said, retelling the story of the pictures that were discovered by The Agency Models Incorporated President Alfredo Santiago decades after they were taken, and several years before Mapplethorpe became an iconic photographer.
Salazar said he would like to sell the photographs as a complete set, and will have a catalog of them available at Art San Diego 2013 as well.
“We have a lot of museums that are interested,” he said, “but we’re trying to keep it together because it’s an archive … They’re not what you would expect.”
[ COLLIDE ] is Nov. 7 – 10 in the Balboa Park Activity Center, a 60,000-square-foot space partitioned and modified to feature over 60 galleries with approximately 1,500 pieces of art on display. The activity center is located at 2145 Park. Blvd.
On Nov. 7, the opening-night VIP reception starts with an invitation-only collectors club first preview at 5 p.m. followed by the VIP opening night benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego from 7 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $75 and the event is 21 and older.
Open Fair days on Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 are from 12 – 8 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 10 the fair runs from 12 – 5 p.m. with art talks and presentations each day. A 3-day Open Fair pass is available for $15 in advance or $20 at the door. On Nov. 9 from 6 – 8 p.m., “The Vault: Contemporary Art & Fine Wine” sees select art paired with wine from several wineries. Tickets for this event are $25 online or $30 at the door.
“The fair this year will truly explore what art can mean, what it can be and how it can feel,” Berchtold said. “It’s about feeding all the senses in a uniquely harmonious cacophony of experiences.”