There are a dozen art fairs that took place throughout the city this past weekend, and examiner is here to give you the scoop on each and every one of them! Whether you have the opportunity to visit one, all, or none of them, this is where you can find the highlights from each. The most scandalous, the most beautiful, the most colorful, and the most thought-provoking artworks have all been captured for you here.
This fourth installment features the week’s main arts fair, The Armory Show. Taking place on Piers 92 and 94, the Armory Show is actually comprised of two shows, one highlighting Modern art (1860-1970), and the other highlighting Contemporary art (later 20th and early 21st century). The Armory Show has been in existence for 15 years now and is the fair that art collectors from around the world make the effort to see.
When referencing the show, Mayor Bloomberg noted,
“New York City is the center of the modern art world, and the arts have never been stronger or more vibrant here. Every year, this week is one of the most exciting, and most important, on the cultural calendar. Thousands of artists, collectors, curators, and art lovers flock to New York City to take advantage of this week’s happenings, and that’s good news for the city’s tourism industry and our economy.”
At the end of the Armory’s four-day run (March 7-10), many galleries were reporting impressive sales, some in the hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars range. Their programming this year included great lectures and discussions by respected artists, curators, and art directors throughout the world. Their new collaboration with Artsy helped to bring the show to viewers at home, and the new Amory Arts Week helped to introduce local New York galleries to the public and allowed art lovers to interact with gallery owners and artists alike. The Armory Show went above and beyond in programming this year, in part in homage to the centennial celebration of the original Armory arts fair. The art itself however, seemed safe, tame. There were a few heavy-hitters, easily recognizable artist names and artworks, and a small handful of odd-looking, certainly creative new pieces. In general though – the works shown here were much along the same lines as what we saw last year.
Here are a few items you may have missed:
• Vik Muniz, A Sunday on La Grand Jatte, after George Seurat (Gordian puzzles), 2009. This is one of the more creative works on view – framing a small seating area in Pier 92 is this large digital C-print of what looks like a photograph of a puzzle of Seurat’s famous painting. Traditionally a contemporary artist who works with multiple media, Muniz often recreates masterworks. This piece was particularly dramatic in its size and its youthful undertones.
• Francis Picabia, Portrait de femme, 1941. A French painter who dabbled in many different art movements, including Dada, Cubism, and Surrealism, this particular work is simple and clean. A portrait of a young woman with a short bob of red hair, the painting is light and romantic. The woman looks dreamily past the upper left corner of the painting. A small bunch of pink flowers rests prettily in her hair. This would be a beautiful work to place over a living room couch or museum hallway.
• Hermann Max Pechstein, Landschaft mit Apfelbaumen, 1928. This work received pride of place at its gallery booth, but many visitors may not have caught it because there was so much going on in other surrounding booths. This landscape with blossoming apple trees is a pretty, calming little work that shows Pechstein’s dedication to both traditional painting style and his more well-known style of German Expressionism. The colors aren’t as vibrant as is usually utilized in his works but his control of the paint is masterful.
• Tom Duncan, Dedicated to Coney Island, 1984-2002. This is the artwork that was less art and more play piece. It was the artwork that gained some of the largest audiences. It was the artwork that young children loved – and were actually allowed to interact with! A miniature replication of New York’s beloved amusement park, Coney Island, this work contains hundreds of small pieces, right down to the surfer’s board, the spokes of the Wonder Wheel, and the subway train tracks. Truly the most fun piece on display, it is also the piece that probably took the longest to make – and was priced to match ($300,000!).
• Adam Putnam, Untitled, 2010. Putnam’s five-foot-tall charcoal sketch of an arched interior immediately grabs the viewer’s eye, even amidst all the chaos that is the Armory Show. This work was accompanied by other architectural designs, powdered a light blue or gray, but this one was powdered a light red against the even lines of the brick in his drawing.
• Tony Tasset, Snowman with Yellow Glove, 2013. This was another popular piece mainly for its random yet prominent placement in the center of the hallway, making it impossible to miss. A snowman… inside? Yep. This one is made of glass, resin, brass, enamel paint, poly-styrene, stainless steel and bronze, and looks exactly like the afterthought of an early winter’s snow storm. “Leaves” are places on the snowman’s head in place of eyes and nose, and “branches” are used in place of his arms. The detail that makes this piece so endearing is the lone tan glove that hangs haphazardly from the edge of his left branch.
• Simen Johan, From the series Until the Kingdom Comes: Untitled #172, 2013. Out of the foggy confusion and stumbling through the booths of the fair is a beautiful work, large, lightly colored, and perfect. This particular Untitled piece is a digital C-print of four giraffes in a wet, muddy environment, their heads literally lifted up into the clouds. This is a natural scene, an exotic scene, but one that is not so contemporary that its purpose is questionable.
• Bjarne Melgaard and Sverre Bjertnes, 2013. The entire gallery booth was transformed by these two artists, who created the installation specifically for the Armory Show. The installation created quite the buzz for its multimedia usage. Colored, framed drawings scatter the purple carpet, a tan fur rug covers one corner of the booth with ropes, books, and exercise equipment sprawled throughout, and a female mannequin clad in a blue wrap dress stands in the center of the chaos.