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.
The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century purports to display “the radical transformation of the medium of drawing throughout the twentieth century,” but what the genre retrospective really does is to narrow the definition of “drawing” considerably, limiting works not by medium but by execution: almost every work in the show is non-objective. This festival of the abstract is visually impressive but conceptually lacking. Shouldn’t any century-long survey of drawing include some less academically austere work?
Yeah, so everyone knows Kanye West has invaded the Internet since he got on Twitter, and has been dropping songs every (GOOD) Friday. But the rap star’s presence online has done some funky things to online aesthetics as well. Just like Kanye has the supernatural ability to create a Twitter trending topic at will (see lipstick … ) and memes seem to spring fully formed from his forehead, or iPhone as it may be, he has the single-handed capacity to inspire self-replicating conceptual art moments online.
Internet artists have been taking the raw materials of Kanye’s digital output and using it as the basis for new works. Part collage, part DIY crafting project, the spinoffs are interesting studies in the creative scrapyard of the online world.
Widely exhibited and praised, the work of the late Tobias Wong forced the design (not to mention contemporary art) world to reconsider art’s relationship to mass commerce and up-to-the-minute pop culture as well as face up to its own Ivory Tower insularity. Some of his objects will live on.
How many urinals by Marcel Duchamp are there? Turns out there are at least 17. Greg Allen of Greg.org points out that fact and takes the piss [sorry, couldn’t resist] out of Washington Post critic Blake Gopnik for his recent review of “Stolen Pieces” (1995-97) at Postmasters’ Reality is Overrated show by Eva and Franco Mattes. It’s amazing that Duchamp’s “original” idea continues to inspire artists and discussion.