You’re supposed to complain about the art fairs … just like you’re supposed to complain about the Whitney Biennial. IN fact, it is a general art world rule that you should complain about anything you find worthy of revisiting year after year. And then you should always threaten never to go again.
A gallerist at the Armory Art Show recently asked me what it was like to work with artists from developing regions of the world. I didn’t mind this question, but he did it while staring down at me with a look of pity, which felt like a condescending pat on the head.
Walking around the two-pier behemoth that is today’s Armory Show, it’s hard to imagine that this was once a scrappy upstart hotel fair. Over the course of the week, I heard various people speak nostalgically about what the Armory had been like in its early years, as if it had been some prelapsarian moment before the art world discovered capitalism. However, in a 1995 Frieze magazine survey, co-founder Pat Hearn stated bluntly that “the art fair is simply an effort to move the product in whatever way possible.”
Over the past week, we’ve brought you an enormous volume of art fair coverage. Art fair week may be over, but just in case you missed any of the events, we have your answer here: a Hyperallergic art fair cheat-sheet, with links to all of our separate articles plus a few from other blogs.
The Armory Show 2011, though not mind-blowing, certainly had its highlights. But one piece that made me look twice, and then fall into a deep pit of failed artistic expectation, was Ai Weiwei’s “My Surveillance Camera” (2010) at Galerie Urs Meile. It’s a surveillance camera, but made of marble. Get it?
If the art world has been about globalism for quite a while I can say that is more true now than ever — if that’s possible.
Last month, we learned that Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City curated a show of animated GIFs and now I’ve discovered that Lauren Cornell, the executive director of Rhizome, is selling these often trippy nuggets of Graphics Interchange Format at the 2011 New York Armory Show. Yes, that’s right. She’s a pixel pusher. Click through to see a guerrilla video interview shot on site at the Armory, featuring several of the GIFs for sale.
If the contemporary side of the Armory is flashier with its glamor and energy, this is the tried and true historical wing that presents a more reserved modernist face but not one without a lot of seduction. Here are some of my picks for what to see if you visit.
New York Art Fair Week 2011 kicks off with the Armory Show! Over the course of a pre-show press conference we were treated to Mayor Bloomberg explaining his taste for Picasso, but that was just an appetizer for the exhibition ahead. The 2011 Armory presented a chaotic and inconsistent mixture, but there were still plenty of pieces that stood out of the general cacophony. Check out our first photo essay of the art fair below.