The Emerging Fair: Scope

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Suzy and Will go to Scope Miami 2016

Scope is a fair attempting to grow up and become more like its neighbor Untitled, but it knows that it’s main market is mostly graphic arts and pieces for the young and nouveau riche. This fair is full of easily digestible celebrity and pop culture based art.

What’s frustrating is that pop art can be edgy and political, but the majority of it found at Scope falls flat into cliché and one-liners. Many works rely on texture or materials to be slick or glittery eye candy, but don’t offer much depth. There’s a lot of gimmicky art that you don’t need to consider for very long to understand. Not that all art needs to be a thought piece, but we got to a point where it all felt like “baby food” art in part because there was so much of it. We felt over-saturated.

Finding ten best pieces at Scope was a challenge. I saw many more pieces I hated at this fair than the others combined. It’s most similar to INK in style, but INK is a much better and more historically-focused fair.

Overall there was a lot of affordable art and many red dots, so as an artist, that makes me feel good that the under 10k market is doing okay, at least for now. This was also the most crowded fair, aside from Basel, with mostly a young beach-to-club-going audience.

Best Art at Scope 2016:

img_7257Drew Leshko “E44” for at Paradigm

img_7262 Abigail Goldman “Families Love Camping” at Spoke Art
img_7264 Matt Neuman “Shibooleth” Woodblock Monoprint on paper

img_7269 Cinta Vidal “Falling” Acrylic on Wood Panel, Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles

Swoon, a forever Mixed Media art crush! with Chandran Gallery, SF

img_7274 Inna Artemova “Hide and Seek” at Janine Bean Gallery, Berlin

Rachael Cronin miniature house at Red Truck Gallery, New Orleans

img_7281Andy Greenberg, “Art Faire: Sean Kelly” and “Guardians: Michelangelo” digital prints at Clary Gallery

Lucy Sparrow “Such a Sad Time” at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, felt and acrylic. This was my favorite piece at Scope, just a little installation squished in between booths. The artist was “serving” people by acting like it was a real lunch counter.

img_7285Shawn Evans “Limited Horizon” oil on canvas at Viviane Gallery

Worst Art at Scope 2016:

img_7253“Fin Film” by Piotr Krzymowski

Yassine Mekhnache at Krampf Gallery, Dubai

img_7260Robert Mars “Bright Star Kate” @ New Gallery of Modern Art (Charlotte, NC)

img_7266 Daniel Jacob’s Air Jordan sculptures at Alessandro Berni Gallery, Perugia

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-29-33-amLeft:  Scott Scheidly “Discobama” at Spoke Art, Right: Knowledge Bennett “Obama Cowboy” at Joseph Gross Gallery

img_7289Maarten Vrolijk at Rademakers Gallery

img_7293Eelus “When the Music’s Over” at Spoke Art Gallery

img_7295Indeed. Todd Sanders. “WTF,” Neon at Samuel Owen Gallery.

img_7297Sam Tufnell “Da_Da_Da” Cast Acrylic Resin and light up pedestal at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery


There was, on the surface, not a lot to really love at Scope this year. We had to spend a lot of time to find pieces we love. There was lots of bad art, but also some good pieces by artists I was familiar with, like Drew Lascoe and Swoon. I saw work by a few artists whose work has come a long way and that was exciting.

Overall, Scopt is a show for younger artists coming up in their carers and making a lot of work. Most of the work was easy to digest, not challenging or deep, but attractive in an immediate way.

There was a ton of ‘Celebrity Art’ – photos of famous people like Obama, Picasso, Frida Kahlo. This seemed like an easy ploy, since if you like the person depicted, you will like the art. A lot of this felt like an homage to Warhol, or attempts to recreate famous works of pop art. My opinion is always that if you want to make pop art, make NEW pop art. It’s sort of boring to see the same old styles revisited with new faces.

I think that Scope is definitely trying to become more like untitled, with their elegant pavilion right on the beach. They definitely poured a lot of money into making the space fancy and there was this clubby entrance with flashing lights and booze and a Gilt Lounge… this felt a little weird, very sponsored. There was also a Bombay Sapphire area that had sponsored artists as well.

I saw very few visitors over the age of forty at this fair, and I think the prices of the art reflected an attempt to attract a younger crowd. We saw a lot more people dressed up in sort of ‘art cliche’ fashion – like paint spattered jumpsuits – and it just felt energetic but a little silly. I definitely applaud Scope for working hard to appeal to young collectors. There was a ton of work under $1000, and the rest seemed to be under $10,000, and there were a lot of red dots. It seems that the affordable art market – under 10k – is pretty strong here.

After attending Scope in the past in NY, I thought we would see more that we’d like, but didn’t find it here. This is the fair to go to for those who like graphic art, pop art, street art, and graffiti-inspired at an accessible price point. It just wasn’t my thing.


Author Suzy is a painter and just completed an MFA degree at MICA. She is a co-founder of the Gowanus Swim Society, a Brooklyn, NY based art collective.

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