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Dark Fair 2008 at Swiss Institute, NY

This coming April 23-26, the organizers of the Milwaukee International will bring a unique 4 day event to the Kolnischer Kunstverein in Cologne: DARK FAIR. This subversive and experimental miniature art fair will take place without the use of natural or electric light. An international selection of galleries, non-profits and artists will display work custom to these conditions, using candlelight, flashlights, oil lamps, work that glows in the dark, light sculpture, battery-powered video and unplugged performances.


The Milwaukee International Dark Fair at the Swiss Institute was intended to be an art fair with no electricity, an art fair in the dark. This is in keeping with the Milwaukee International’s motivating idea to take the art fair idea and make it interesting, instead of, you know, kind of boring. Galleries from around the world were eager to participate, and many featured projects made especially for the conditions of the fair, including KS Art’s candle sculptures by Jeff Davis, Marlo Pascual's candle picture/sculpture at White Colomns, and Picture Box’s entire glow-in-the-dark print portfolio featuring a ton of great artists including Jim Drain, Paper Rad, Brain Bellott, & Melissa Brown. There were a few cheaters, like Marianne Boesky who showed Sue DeBeer’s re-creations of Brion Gysin’s Dream Machines, and wich we et live becaue they were such good ideas to have in the fair. Also Ports Bishops glow-stick portrait studio at Little Cakes, which was not only perfectly in the spirit of the fair, but an incredible way of making photographic portaits.

We constructed restaurant-style booths instead of normal art fair booths, to encourage hanging out. Normally things aren’t so casual at art fairs but we thought it would be a good idea to encourage this sort of interaction, sitting down to talk with gallerists and artists and collectors and whoever, or groping in the dark, or whatever normally happens after the art fair closes, but during open time.


DARK FAIR will also feature a ‘Video Night’ curated by Matthew Higgs, ‘Submerging Artists’ by General Store (a group show of underwater sculptures), a red carpet project by Paul Druecke and ambient video presented by Inova/Small A Projects. Also, a special screening of Lars Laumann’s ‘Morissey Fortelling the Death of Diana’ presented by Maureen Paley and DJ & nightly performances including Spencer Sweeney, Gavin Russom and more.

DARK FAIR Cologne is an initiative of Milwaukee International and made possible in cooperation with Kölnischer Kunstverein and ART Cologne 2009.