Overall, Artopolis seemed to be a mixed success – I say this as someone who had zero intention of purchasing anything on display, so I can only hope it was a success for those looking to make and/or spend money there.  Security was up this year, so I couldn’t sneak in for free (sad face) but I suppose it was worth it to support such a large concentration of art in one place.

It could be my imagination, but there seemed to be fewer booths than last year – and many of the galleries, or at least artists’ work showcased by said galleries, were missing from what I remember.  Still, there was some high-quality stuff, and the usual jumble of “things I don’t understand.”  Bucky Fuller was somewhat of a theme in a couple galleries – but I somehow missed the Fly Eye Dome, and will need to stop back at the Merch Mart before June to catch it on display in the lobby.

They got the details right, however.  Not only did I see baskets of hand sanitizer around for the oh-so-topical swine flu scare (side note: if you aren’t supposed to touch the art, do you need your hands sanitized?), but the “Information” stations were whimsical:

"Information" was a floating sign and a little map on a pedestal

"Information" was a floating sign and a little map on a pedestal

Space does not permit me to recount everything I saw, but here’s a good summary – it was almost as interesting to see the people walking around as it was to see the art itself.  Many “artsy types,” old people with money, young students with no money… I wondered what the ratio of buyer to spectator was.  Had to be low.

A nice mix of art and life in the halls

A nice mix of art and life in the halls

I really, really regret that so many of these photos turned out grainy!  For how much light there was in the building, you’d think the camera would have been able to handle the shots without highly accelerated shutter speed.  Sigh.  In any case, the light bulb installation provided some light.  A professor-artist had put together an interactive display of old lamps – turning the lamps on and off would indicate how much energy was being used by the entire grouping, via a screen on the wall with small dots of some kind bouncing around, representing the power level.

Lamp installation, detail

Lamp installation, detail

One recurring theme was that the people manning the booths, possibly having fewer potential customers, always seemed to be texting or messing around on their laptops.   I got some good “inaction” shots.

These two gallery reps were hard at work

These two gallery reps were hard at work

All in all, a good afternoon.  Upcoming: thoughts on my DC and Boston trips (that is, once I’ve finally sorted all the photos and sufficiently reflected on them from an UP perspective).

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