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Palm Springs Fine Art Fair and Modernism Pt 1: PSFAF

President’s Day Weekend 2014 in Palm Springs Part One – the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. 

Every February, Palm Springs is the place to be if you are a fan and lover of all things post-war art and architecture, (bonus points if you love modern-primitive in the form of tiki as well as mid-century inspired lounge music). Two key events, The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair and Modernism Week kick off on the same night and turn the already tourist and eye-candy filled destination into even more of a visual and auditory orgy. While these two events take place, it is estimated (as stated in the PSFAF press release) that over 800,000 people, double the area’s population, gather together in the Coachella Valley for art, architecture (and of course, cocktails). Take into consideration that this year, the weather was in the ‘80s and ‘90s while the rest of the country was covered in ice, out-of-towners had quite a treat!

This year’s third-annual Palm Springs Fine Art Fair which took place alongside the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale at The Palm Springs Convention Center featured a packed Thursday Night Gala Opening, including an award ceremony for Palm Springs Arts Patron of the Year, arts philanthropist Harold Matzner. Throughout the weekend, the event included artists’ spotlights, a silent auction benefitting the Desert AIDS Project, along with numerous panel discussions.

The event played host to over 55 galleries from all over the globe, with over 16,000 people in attendance throughout the weekend. The cluster of people on opening night made it difficult to get a good look at the overwhelming amount of art so I snapped photos of some interesting characters and returned over the weekend to get a better look at the art.

During the opening party, I met James Stone, a mixed media sculpture artist from San Diego, CA. James creates sea creatures and eco-conscious marine themed sculptures inspired by and portraying the ocean’s flora and fauna, using forged aluminum and sculpted glass, hoping to create a dialogue by reminding the viewer that fish and other sea life are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. James work is created by the casting of hot glass directly into sculpted metal with painted accents, and the end result is beautiful. James also does commissions and makes household items such as tumblers, vases, bowls and lighting fixtures.

Throughout the weekend, I kept returning to the Peter Marcell Projects space to see four extremely life-like and un-nerving sculptures created by hyper-realistic artist Marc Sijan who is hailed as the successor and only artist to have worked with the legendary Duane Hanson. Peter Marcell Projects director Catherine McCormick told me that they always bring Sijan’s pieces to art fairs and added

“Not only are his pieces awe inspiring because of the intense level of detail, but there is also an emotional depth and mystical quality to his work. It is a very exciting time to watch him, as he has moved beyond Hanson and is entering new territory where he is the master.”

You can have a look at his website link, below, for more information. What I offer you here are several photos I took, which will hopefully give you a good idea why I think his pieces were the standouts of this year’s PSFAF, well, along with Vincent Tomczyk’s “Paper Crafted Eams Lounge”!

Please have a look at my PSFAF / Modernism photo album on Flickr for more event images.  I’d like to thank Lauren from Art Nerd for suggesting I cover the show, along with the show organizers and Brighthaus Marketing for their hospitality. And to all those planning on going to the opening next year, if you are staying or are parked in a spot around or near downtown Palm Springs, put on a comfortable pair of shoes, walk to the show and avoid the long parade of cars waiting to get into the Palm Springs Convention Center parking lot!

Mauro Perucchetti’s “Modern Heroes”

Palm Springs Fine Art Fair
James Stone 
Mark Sijan
Peter Marcell Projects
Vincent Tomczyk

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