The Armory Show is an annual international art fair held in New York during the early spring, this year spanning from March 3rd through 6th. The fair is essentially a maze of various galleries showcasing modern and contemporary artworks, or perhaps more appropriately, art-wares. At the fair, you’ll find, or more tellingly, be inundated with, low-profile works by high-profile artists (e.g. Alex Katz paintings of the lesser caliber abound) and, particularly in the Contemporary section, irrelevant riffs on pieces by now-famous artists whose creations were avant-garde, but only for their time. Examples include installations mimicking Dan Flavin’s work at DiA Beacon, poorly executed strip paintings in the style of Gerhard Richter, fluffier pieces by Yayoi Kusama, and several Tracey Emin neon text ‘sculptures’ of the emptier breed.
What I did like, if anything, were the works in the Modern section of the fair (Pier 92), which were far less insipid than those held in the Contemporary wing at Pier 94. The Modern section comprised some slightly commercialized mirror pieces by Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of my favorite artists, as well as several beautiful paintings by Wayne Thiebaud, so underrated in a sea of Matisse prints and other such remnants of 20th Century art yet to be purchased by the scions of the new-Russia oligarchy, whom, rumor has it, have now shifted their attention to contemporary works. Myriad galleries carried minor pieces by art-world superstars known for record-breaking prices in other niches; for example, there was a superb still-life by Tom Wesselmann, the Pop Artist famous for his 60’s series “Great American Nude.” Those who enjoy kitsch would have appreciated the fake studio à la Joan Miró where prints by the artist rested on metal easels and wooden chairs, likely purchased from Costco.
For a further taste of the Armory Show’s offerings, see the images below (mouse over for added commentary). Hyperallergic has created an excellent guide to all of the Armory Week shows and events, which occur in conjunction with the fair. A review of the Spring Break Art Show, a curator-run alternative art fair can be found here.