Each year, the Armory Show art fair highlights the particular artistic landscape of a region of the world in their Focus section. In 2013, the spotlight will fall on the United States, the Armory’s native homeland.
The fair has chosen Eric Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, to curate the regional highlight, an appointment that feels particularly apt for our Pop-driven cultural moment. Though he acknowledges the difficulty of summing up all of American contemporary art, Shiner hopes to curate a Focus that “makes visitors stop and think about America, art, and ultimately their place within it,” he stated in a press release.
Under Shiner’s direction, the Warhol Museum has mounted exhibitions of contemporary artists like Deborah Kass and Jeremy Kost alongside shows exploring Warhol’s career and legacy. The American Focus section provides an opportunity to go back to the roots of our country’s avant-garde movement; the original Armory Show was mounted in 1913 and introduced the United States to modernism with artists like Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, and Manet.
2013’s Armory Focus: USA will follow up on 2012’s Nordic section, which memorably featured artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s mammoth neon sign spelling out “Scandinavian Pain” above the champagne bar. Despite Kjartansson’s jibe, the edgy, dynamic Nordic section did provide a welcome respite from the sprawl of blue-chip galleries and artists that occupied the rest of the space.