The 2015 Armory Show delivers pretty much what you’d expect of the 2015 Armory Show: some quite good art, some pretty bad art, and a lot of completely harmless stuff in between.
MIAMI — There are many stories about the origins of art: ancient Greek historian Pliny suggested art was born when a Corinthian maiden traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on a wall, while an Asian legend tells of a young man who could not paint the Buddha because of his enlightened glow, and so was forced to paint his reflection in a pool of water. What these two stories share is the emphasis on the rendering of people as a foundational element of art. Fast-forward many millenia, when the story of high-priced contemporary art is vastly different from those origin stories, and walking through the latest incarnation of Art Basel Miami Beach, I was struck by the marginalization of the human form in the blue-chip work on display. What happened?
The most galvanizing room, hands down, in the current Whitney Biennial is the Forrest Bess micro-retrospective put together by sculptor Robert Gober. And on Tuesday, in what could be a trend, another museum-quality exhibition opened, organized by another sculptor — Matthew Day Jackson’s “Science on the back end” at Hauser & Wirth.