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Even the floor plan of the artDC art fair has the District written all over it. Plain as Mass Ave., there’s a red-carpeted path cutting a swath through the grid of booths. Of course a District art fair has a diagonal state avenue.
It’s otherwise distinguished by local galleries, who contribute the lion’s share of the quality contemporary art on display. A trio of small wall-based installations by Evan Morgan at Martin Irvine‘s booth had me wondering: Where’s this guy’s solo show? Fresh from Mica, he contributed the only sculpture in the show that had me wanting to see more. His blown-glass, wall-suspended tear drops will draw immediate comparisons to Graham Caldwell, whose large blown glass and steel armature work is showing at Annie Gawlak‘s booth down the way. But Morgan’s wall installation seems incidental to his work, and the blown pieces themselves put me in mind of Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Unfortunately, seeing more work might disappoint: Morgan’s larger portfolio has more misses than hits. Nevertheless, Irvine picked the hits.
DCist picked up on the strong District presence, too, and believes this is a good showing for the city. Critically, that review mistakes the fair for a curated show. The national and international galleries that exhibited alongside the locals weren’t chosen—they bought in. The fact that there were so few decent exhibitors among them only points to a lack of confidence in the local market. Not a feather for the city’s cap, really.