In recent boom times, some dealers and artists were accused of catering too much to the demands of the market. So will the recession mean more adventurous, less sellable artwork? If Dario Robleto’s solo exhibition at D’Amelio Terras’ booth at this week’s ADAA Art Show is any indication, dealers will just find ways to be even more sales savvy.
Robleto’s meticulously crafted sculptures, constructed from materials like audiotape on which recordings have been made or 19th century ‘hair flowers’ made from the hair of loved ones, represent personal stories to those in the know. In addition to six new pieces at the Art Show, Robleto is offering a “unique commissionable sculpture” titled “Love Survives the Death of Cells,” for which couples will record their heartbeats, which will be transferred to audiotape that will be stretched into hair-like strands and braided together to create a Victorian style keepsake.
Maybe it’s the proximity of the fair and the commission offering to Valentine’s Day, but the ‘sculptures’ sound more like luxury gift item than artwork. I could be a sucker for a romantic gesture, but is this the quality of artwork appropriate for one of the most prestigious art fairs in the country? As portraiture, the pieces won’t represent individuals, as multiples, they signify little, instead promising to come across as tchotchkes by an otherwise uniquely inventive artist.