April 2nd, 2019
Bahamian Artist Selected For VOLTA NY Art Fair
Bahamian artist John Cox has been chosen to represent The Bahamas at this year’s VOLTA Art Fair in New York City.
Cox is the Founder and Director of Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts and is currently the Chief Creative Director for BahaMar.
VOLTA NY is an invitational show of emerging solo artists’ projects and the American incarnation of the successful young fair founded in Basel, Switzerland in 2005. It was conceived in 2008 by Artistic Director Amanda Coulson, also Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, and her husband as a tightly-focused, boutique event that is a place for discovery, a showcase for relevant art contemporary positions regardless of the artist’s or gallery’s age. Coming into its tenth year of operation, VOLTA NY is now considered a confirmed place to go for what’s new, exciting or as yet undiscovered, in art.
Last year, Nassau’s Popopstudios was invited to participate as a space with Bahamian artist Heino Schmid. The presentation was deemed a success in terms of giving an international platform to what’s happening in The Bahamian art scene and so there was a general enthusiasm to return and show the world that The Bahamas isn’t a one hit wonder.
Amanda Coulson states, “At the Venice Biennale after Tavares Strachan’s huge success, my mantra to inquisitive curators or art lovers was always: ‘There’s more where that came from!’ So building on Strachan’s success with Heino Schmid and John Cox is a way to keep building the Bahamian profile overseas.”
Coulson continues, “Although Popop is not a traditional commercial gallery like many of the participating galleries are, in my continuing consulting role to the fair, I am free to recommend up-and-coming art spaces and artists from around the world and, now that John is no longer a colleague, I was able to recommend him as an ‘artist to watch’ and felt that the timing was right, coming off his showing in Miami this year.
“I am also involved in ‘curating’ the fair in deciding on the placement of booths and I’ve put John’s work across from a very important African-Amercian artist called Willie Cole, a renowned “urban archaeologist” whose emotive upcycled assemblages and steam-iron printmaking will dialogue nicely with Cox’s assemblages and will be a way to show that The Bahamas can easily compete on a level playing field when it comes to visual arts.”
In the end, a good art fair presents a glimpse into what is happening in the arts globally and it’s important especially to represent areas where the regular New York art public, and those visiting the fair from Europe and Asia, might not regularly get to see in their art travels.
Coulson said, “VOLTA NY welcomes about 22,000 visitors to its space over the course of 4 days, which is 5 times the visitors we get at the NAGB in an entire year, so the reach this allows a country, gallery or artist is extremely important.
“Curators will be there, other galleries that might decide to represent the artist in their country, art journalists…so really it’s a win-win situation: the fair presents its best face in covering peripheral regions (representing the Caribbean, we also have a gallery from the Dominican Republic) and the artist gets a type of exposure of which an important London gallery would be envious.”
In an effort to attend the VOLTA NY art fair, a fundraising site has been established to assist Cox in securing his entrance fee at the fair. The entrance fee for Art Volta is $13,000 and the site hopes to raise $6,500.
Thanks to Amanda Coulson for her contribution to the article.
By Dionne Benjamin-Smith
Bahamian Art & Culture Newsletter