Archive for March, 2011

In Arms’ Way

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Takaaki Izumi, "Notice that Could Be Good News or Bad News," 2011

At last Wednesday’s press conference for the Armory Show, Mayor Bloomberg included the avant-trade show among the City’s many “unforgiveable cultural – er, unforgettable – cultural events.”  Accept the Freudian slip as a cover for conflicting realities.  Right and right again; it is as unforgiveable as it is unforgettable.

Paul Morris, VP & HFIC of MMPI Art

Most young artists feel demoralized after seeing thousands of art objects shelved and tagged as merchandise at a trade show, even though the same objects probably felt special and transcendental while in the studio.  Those internal “studio” questions about form, content, context, and influence get fused and reduced to the “market” questions of “How much is that one?” or “Do you have one like it, but more red?”  The classic analogy is something like a Freudian primal scene: “Artists seeing art fairs is like kids watching Mommy and Daddy…”

MoMA Director Glenn Lowry: "Big. I mean, really BIG. And heavy."

Predictably, the Armory Show felt more like a circus, the Mardi Gras of trade shows.  Bleary-eyed visitors amble around from one neon sculpture to the next, like moths to lamps, pausing only to consult reflective surfaces, like Snow White’s Evil Queen nemesis.  How much do these booths cost, anyway?  I heard it was about $15,000, not counting the ‘wichcraft lunches.

Sam van Aken at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

bloomberg. LOWRY.

Iván Navarro’s neon fence at Paul Kasmin takes the cake for most egregious abuse of electricity, while Tony Matelli’s bad words on mirrors at Leo Koenig, which make Dan Colen’s old text paintings read like literature, win for most shallow.


What I liked at the Armory was the refreshing wave of art bearing uninhibited, fluorescent palettes: solvent orange, minty greens, pomegranate crimson, and blinding yellows.

SVA alumni Phoebe Washburn, Lane Twitchell

Maybe this reflects a rise in artists feeling free, or maybe it’s just a cyclical upheaval of the black-and-white austerity that has persisted in NYC galleries since 2005 or so (Banks Violette, Adam Helms, Adam Pendleton, Wade Guyton, Erin Shirreff, Daniel Lefcourt, Karl Haendel, and more – most of whom I would collect if I had money).  Zach Feuer’s booth beckoned with day-glo work by Phoebe Washurn and Dasha Shishkin, Horton Gallery beamed with bright Keltie Ferris paintings.

Dasha Shishkin, "Risk of death is better than the risk of change," 2011

But for every violation of web-safe colors, there was at least one murky, surrealist phantasm.  Check these out:

Face Off

Kurt Hofmann, "Lunette #27," 2010 at Voges Gallery Frankfurt

(missed the name of this artist)

Rosy Keyser (at Peter Blum, right?)

That trend goes 3D in the variations on craggy, spindly, handwrought figurative sculptures hobbling around the fair.  Ibid Gallery hosted arthritic skeletal lepers by Marianne Vitale.  Chiseled Stephan Balkenhol brawny blokes popped up on both piers, along with many other freaks and geeks.

Marianne Vitale at ibid Projects

Javier Perez at Galerie Guy Bärtschi

(missed this name, too, man i suck; but I think it's Kim Jones)

Johannes VanderBeek's tie dye guy/ mesh colossus at Zach Feuer

The freak flag sagged with Marc Quinn’s Eurotrashy Michael Jackson, inexplicably presented two years too late.  And then there’s Lily van der Stokker’s gossipy mural, which looked hastily produced, recounting some kind of showdown between dealer Tanja Grunert and former Leo Koenig director Lizzy Balogh (is there a video of the fight described?).  Who cares?  Lily van der Stokker rules the school of bright palettes; something bolder at the fair would have cemented her proto-power.

Marc Quinn, "Michael Jackson," 2010 at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac

Lily van der Stokker at Leo Koenig, Inc


Who? Who? (Whom?)

Oh, and Kehinde Wiley now paints other “Others.”

Big and heavy!

Tell It Like It Is

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Jon Pylypchuk at the Armory Show (channeling Charlie Sheen)

SVA Armory Hey

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

At a glance, a few SVA faces at the Armory Show, which opened today:

SVA alumnus Lane Twitchell at Edward Nahem Fine Art

SVA Faculty member Mary Heilmann (on the wall) at 303 Gallery

SVA alumnus Robert Melee at Andrew Kreps Gallery

SVA alumna Phoebe Washburn at Zach Feuer Gallery

ding ding