Fresh Wind from Overseas
The first time we are represented at a trade fair in Europe
James Ulmer, Solance, 2022, Flashe on canvas, 101,6 x 121,92 cm, ©The Pit
It takes thirteen hours to get from Los Angeles to Cologne, and Adam D. Miller and Devon Oder are already looking forward to the trip.
"ART COLOGNE will actually be the first time our gallery has participated in a European fair," says Miller. Together with his wife, he has been running The Pit gallery in Glendale, situated north of Los Angeles, since 2014. What makes the art venue special is the perspective from which Miller and Oder curate their exhibitions: As artists, they have a creative’s point of view: they know what a gallery needs to do to provide space for development and collaboration.
Today, they represent sought-after names such as ceramic artist Jennifer Rochlin and painter James Ulmer, who is known for his bright and colorful, childlike, expressive style. The two will present the latter at ART COLOGNE.
Portrait of James Ulmer, 2022 © The Pit
Over the years, The Pit has become a hip scene meeting place. Art connoisseurs from all over the city flock to Glendale for openings, although the city is located outside of the downtown art district.
Miller and Oder proved they have a knack for finding exciting locations with their first branch, which opened last summer. As America’s blue-chip galleries followed their collectors to luxury vacation homes in Aspen and East Hampton at the height of the pandemic, Miller and Oder were drawn to the desert—to Palm Springs, to be precise—where they built a second exhibition space with room for experimental projects.
By participating in the Cologne art fair, the duo hopes to spread the word in Europe about their diverse program. "We’re hoping to make new connections with more European collectors, and curators." says Miller.
Media Art for the European Art Market
Manfred Mohr, P3010_5, 2020-2021, Dye sublimation on aluminum, 43 x 43 x 5 cm © bitforms gallery
Steven Sacks, the founder of New York’s Bitforms gallery, is traveling to Cologne with similar expectations. With his gallery, he has been an expert in the field of media art for twenty years. He represents new media-art pioneers including the American Claudia Hart and the Turkish AI shooting star Refik Anadol.
After several years away, he returns to Cologne this autumn. He is bringing works by Manfred Mohr and Björn Schülke, two German digital pioneers. “We haven't shown these artists in dialogue together and look forward to connecting and experiencing their works in the same space,” explains the gallery’s director Valerie Amend.
Schülke, a native of Cologne, will present new sculptures at the fair. What is special about them is they are powered by solar cells. Mohr, born in Pforzheim in 1938, became famous for his computer-generated drawings. In Cologne, paintings will be shown that he created with his latest algorithm.
Newcomer in the classical medium of painting
Matthew Hansel, As Above, So Below As For Love? No One Knows, 2022, Oil on canvas, 178 x 114 cm © The Hole
Also from New York is the team from The Hole. The staff around the owner Kathy Grayson has made impressive progress since the gallery’s founding in 2010. The list of artists includes newcomers such as the American artist Alex Gardner, whose surreal-looking paintings of black people are highly popular.
In the spring of 2021, Grayson, who began her career under legendary art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, opened a second gallery in Tribeca in addition to her main location in the Bowery neighborhood. Since February, The Hole has even been bicoastal with a new Los Angeles branch.
The booth as a place for encounters and inspiration
Matthew Hansel, The Land Our Love Burns Will Remain Black For Years to Come, 2022, Oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm © The Hole
Kathy Grayson is bringing the gallery’s flair with her to Cologne: pop-style paintings that exude optimism and reflect the fun artists have with the medium. "Post pandemic, we are excited to be back in Cologne!” says gallery manager Charlotte Grüssing. “The online art fairs lacked human joy, connection, and seeing the work face to face. I think people know our gallery as being curatorially ambitious and discovering talent."
A kind of color therapy that Cologne can certainly use in the gray month of November.
Text: Laura Storfner