Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery booth at the Armory Show
This two-venue show (Modern in one, Contemporary in the other) is always interesting, and this time was no different. Fair bashers can bash all they want, but for me the opportunity to see a world’s worth of art in one place is a gift: 289 booths and some 2000 artists to peruse at my (tightly planned) leisure. The eye-opener for me was Spanierman Gallery’s booth at the Modern pier dedicated to the work of the late, celebrated dealer Betty Parsons, who was an accomplished artist in her own right.
Betty Parsons at Spanierman Gallery, New York. Armory (Modern)
To orient you, the Armory show takes place on two piers that jut into the Hudson at about 52nd Street. The piers, two of several dozen that line the Hudson, are remnants of the days of the ocean-going vessels. A few cruise ships still pull into the berths, and the Intrepid aircraft carrier, now a museum, is moored in the area, as well as the Circle Line that takes tourists around the island, and the Ferry which takes you to Weehawken. But you’ll recognize the Armory piers: the taxi parade is non stop, and there are hordes of skinny people smoking furiously out front. There’s much more from this fair coming up in the thematic posts.
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The ADAA Show
A view of The Independent, Chelsea's answer to the art fairs
This event scored the first time out. Founded by Chelsea's Elizabeth Dee and London's Darren Flook and held on 22nd Street in the old Dia Foundation building, it was the anti-art fair. The four floors were open, and large enough to accommodate the throngs of people who milled, gawked, looked and talked. It felt fresh. But (there's always a but) that openness was also its weakness, as it was hard to locate the booth names, harder still to get information about the artists. I loved the anti-fair concept, but I needed some fair constructs, like information.
Winkleman Gallery had the most impressive installation there: Eve Sussman’s recreation of the Soviet-era office of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. “This detailed recreation, by Sussman and Nicolas Locke, is inspired by the museumification of the real office of Gagarin,” according to the info on the gallery website. I’d seen the piece in the gallery last year, but here it was thrillingly mysterious, a foreign stage set within a carnival of whirring mirrors, parked automobiles and all that anti-art-fair hipness.
Winkleman Gallery installation at the Independent with Eve Sussman and Rufus Corporation's White on White: The Pilot (just like being there)
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Samson Projects booth with Todd Pavlisko, the artist, foreground, and Camilo Alvarez, gallery owner. Pavilsko's video is playing on the left wall; his painting of Stephen Hawking is on the far wall
Held on the 11th floor of an office building in the shadow of the Empire State Building, this was a smart and engaging show. Walking off the elevator I saw Samson Projects, the cutting-edge gallery in Boston run by Camilo Alvarez. Last year he’d shown pornography and I wondered if he could top that shock factor. He did, with Todd Pavlisko, whose video shows the Bushwick artist nailing his foot to the floor. “Is that real?” many fairgoers were heard to say. Indeed. (I’m not showing the work here; you can see a clip in the Art Newspaper link if you dare to watch).
The artist was there, as nice and normal as you can imagine. He said it took his foot six months to heal. And why such an act? The painting of Stephen Hawking shows a man floating free who is normally unable to more, said the artist; in something of an exchange, Pavlisko's extreme action made himself unable to move.
Volta is a solo-project fair, a nice counterpart to the visual surfeit of the other fairs. After the crucified foot, I went in search of other visually satisfying but less emotionally demanding fare. I found the work of Nancy Lorenz at the PDX Gallery from Portland, Oregon. Lorenz had recreated the teahouse experience. Her surfaces are gilded and inlaid, so it’s the most meditative bling you’ll ever see. Lorenz couldn't serve tea to everyone who stopped by so she did something better: she painted a cup with her sum'i brush dipped into green tea. My small painting on rice paper, left, is #201.
PDX Gallery at Volta, with a teahouse installation by Nancy Lorenz
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Morgan Lehman booth, with painting by Andrew Schoultz
More coming Monday (Marketing Mondays will return on the 22nd)..