Saturday, March 9, 2013


There was a bit of mist in the air. I'd grabbed the 57th Street crosstown and walked from Eleventh Avenue over to Pier 94. I'd never done the Armory Show before and definitely not with a VIP ticket, the one Alice said she'd have for me if I'd meet her at the entrance to Pier 92. Pier 94 was the bigger Pier with a grander bar but both Piers were pretty impressive. Alice was the only working artist, assembling one of her ball chain works as attendees walked by or waited in line to check their coats. Pier 92 was assigned the title of Modern Works while Pier 94 was given the more general title of Contemporary Art.
As I managed the treacherous task of crossing the West Side Highway I realized most people attending the Opening Event at the Armory Show don't use the crosstown bus to get there. A line of black Rolls-Royces lined the entry and glamour and money hopped over the wet pavement trailing furs and Armani into the VIP event. I had never realized how tall money is. I stand just shy of six feet and I was dwarfed by both men and women. Maybe it's a new generation and with every ensuring generation a certain amount of gained height seems to appear but I was under the armpits of men in the six-six range most discussing in a language that seemed like German the aesthetic qualities of the women cat-walking the aisles in stiletto heels.
I have to admit I too was more interested in the people than art, not only the tall ones but the ones making the scene a scene, screaming out to be seen in hair spiked two feet over their scalp or wearing colors that bellow look at me. I only wish I had the courage to snap more pictures of the intriguing and bizaare. I've never been able to find the protocol for that kind of guerrilla photography: do you snap first and try to catch the spontaneity and then get reprimanded for having taken the picture or do you ask permission and then end up with a lifeless portrait?
Now to the show. I will never claim to be a Peter Schjeldahl but here are some pieces that made me stop looking at the people and focus on the art.
Mel Bochner
Blah Blah Blah, 2012
Monoprint with collage, engraving and embossment
Represented by Sims Reed Gallery
There's a three dimensionality in his work that combined with the raw color is very attractive

Chiyu Uemae
Untitled, 1959
Oil on canvas
Represented by Whitestone Gallery
The Asian aesthetic is so evident in his work,that attention to detail that can be missed unless you get right up on the work. The meticulous use of minute pattern is amazing. It pulls you to where you get lost and surrender to its soothing nature

Tom Duncan
Dedicated to Coney Island, 1984-2002
Mixed Media
Represented by Andrew Edlin Gallery
This piece is just total fun. It's interactive. It pulls you back to a childhood delight at pushing buttons making Ferris Wheels spin and trains go back and forth.

Deborah Butterfield
Untitled, 2012
Found steel, welded
Represented by Danese Gallery
I first heard about Deborah when she taught at the University of Wisconsin. One of her pieces graces the entry to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Her horses are amazing, graceful and emotionally packed 

Cameron Gray
Yellow Mao (After Warhol), 2013
Oil on wood tiles
Represented by Carl Hammer Gallery
Here is another work that needs to be viewed from two different points-of-view. From a distance it appears as an homage to Andy Warhol's Mao prints but as you get closer you begin to see that the image is really made up of hundreds of hand painted tiles of everything from flowers to babies. Cameron works out his pieces on his computer and then enlists hundreds of artists to each paint a tile in a color and theme that he has designated. The results are phenomenal. 

Alice Hope
Untitled, 2012
Ball chain; neodymium magnets on steel plate
Represented by Ricco/Maresca
I couldn't end without showing one of Alice's astounding constructions where she explores ordinary materials, magnetism, and the relationships between science and art.

Trine Sondergaard
Guldnakke #5, 2012
Represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery
As seen at the Armory Show

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