AO On Site – New York: The Armory Show at Piers 94 & 92, March 8-11, 2012

March 8th, 2012

All photos on site for Art Observed by Aubrey Roemer.

The Armory Show 2012 hosts 228 international exhibitors, “showing work that realizes the fair’s mission of innovation and discovery.” Split between Piers 92 and 94 on the west side of Midtown Manhattan, the show runs March 8–11, with several new programming initiatives and a re-designed floor plan added to the show’s fourteenth edition. Pier 94 is the larger exhibition hall, the Contemporary section featuring mainstay galleries Lisson Gallery, Sean Kelly, Victoria Miro, Kukje Gallery/Tina Kim Gallery, David Zwirner, Sprüth Magers, Gallery Hyundai, and Kaikai Kiki, among many others—including 19 invited Nordic galleries in the ‘Armory Focus’—while the Modern sector on Pier 92 is home to Marlborough Gallery, O’Hara Gallery, Inc., Pace Prints, Peter Findlay, and many more.

Ai Weiwei, Marble Cube at Lisson Gallery

Works by Michael Riedel at David Zwirner

Yayoi Kusama works at Victoria Miro

Within the first thirty minutes of the fair, David Zwirner’s solo booth by Michael Riedel—whom Art Observed interviewed (forthcoming)—entirely sold out. Riedel’s large poster-like works were made specially for the Armory Show, each poster based on other projects the artist has been working on. Victoria Miro had sold most of their Yayoi Kusama works within the first hour, prices ranging from $300,000–$600,000; they said Kusama’s current show at the Tate seemed to help sales. Max Levai at Marlborough Gallery approved of the fair’s new layout, saying that it provided a better experience and atmosphere for viewing art, and, as such, there was a lot of energy at the fair and a steady flow of visitors. A rep at Blain|Southern also commented on the positive energy, having sold Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s Fucking Beautiful neon sculpture within the very first minute the fair opened.

Installation view at Marlborough Chelsea

The organizers at the press preview

Armory Show founding director Paul Morris

At the morning’s press conference, Armory Show founding director Paul Morris discussed the new, more engaging and experiential layout of the booths, designed by New York-based architecture firm Bade Stageberg Cox. As a certain monotony of globalization ever encroaches, Morris et al. sought to make the fair “very New York.” Drawing on the fact that so many apartments in the city are furnished by furniture found on the curb, the “Street Seats” installation project recovered chairs likewise from the curb, repairing and painting them taxi-cab yellow, and placing them throughout the fair. Stamped on the bottom of each chair is the date and location found.

“Street Seats”

Date and location found stamped on bottom of Street Seats

The year’s new programming consists of Armory Film, Solo Projects, and Armory Performance. Armory Film is curated by the Moving Image Fair, screening an international selection of contemporary and experimental films each evening from 5:00 to 8:00 PM—Sunday from 4:00–7:00—in the Wall Street Journal Media Lounge. Solo Projects features 11 emerging dealers’ solo artist presentations, a gesture similar to that of Art Kabinett or Art Positions at Art Basel Miami Beach in December. Armory Performance is curated by Swedish museum Malmö Konsthall’s director Jacob Fabricius, and includes various musical performances, ‘living sculptures,’ and the Armory Show 2012 Commissioned Artist Theaster Gates ‘holding court’ at the booth of Kavi Gupta. Also new this year is a private VIP hour each day before the fair opens to the general public.

Installation view of David Risley Gallery in Nordic Lounge

Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Island, at Galerie Anhava in Nordic Lounge

Fruit and Flower Deli Gallery in Nordic Lounge

Intstallation view of i8 Gallery

Director Jacob Fabricius, in addition to Armory Performance, is also curating Armory Focus: The Nordic Countries. In its third edition, the section recognizes “the region’s increasing importance on the global art scene and its vital presence in New York City.” Galleries from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, have their own small wing of the fair—the Nordic Lounge—and are featured in the Armory Performance, the OPEN FORUM discussions, and FREE STUFF. The OPEN FORUM is a series of discussions, slated for one hour each, with several every afternoon. Topics range from history and criticism, to the art market and utopia; “the talks will draw on the distinctions and affinities between the socially engaged artistic, curatorial, writing and administrative practices of the two geographic regions.” FREE STUFF is as good as it sounds—Scandinavian artist-designed pencils, pens, folders, lamps, pins, tattoos, stickers, toilet paper, posters, and t-shirts, all for free.

Free (ANGST) toilet paper in Nordic Lounge

Free posters in Nordic Lounge

Theatster Gates in conversation, ‘holding court’

Theaster Gates holds the title of Commissioned Artist at this year’s exhibition, conducting “an on-site quasi-performance/intervention titled See, Sit, Sup, Sip, Sing: Holding Court.” In addition to displaying the artist’s works, he will be present throughout the fair to converse with fair-goers, sitting at a table made of old desks from a Chicago elementary school named after the “Afro-Indian Revolutionary martyr Crispus Attucks”—the first person killed in the Boston Massacre. On small chalkboards at hand, he will document and preserve each conversation. The educational theme is meant to create a more approachable environment, with reciprocal learning by all participants.

Champagne in the VIP Lounge

The Piers are located four cross-town blocks—about a fifteen minute walk—west of the nearest subway stop at West 50th Street and Eighth Avenue. Shuttles run between the Armory Show piers and the concurrent Whitney Biennial and VOLTA NY, and the Chelsea gallery district. The fair is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 8 PM, and Sunday from noon to 7 PM. Tickets may be bought online or at the Box Office during show hours; General Admission: $30; Students: $10; Groups (10+): $15; Run of Show Pass (4 day): $60; The Armory Show/Volta NY Pass: $40.

Knight Landesman of Art Forum (center, red)

Wandering performer

Pier 94 Restaurant

Nir Hod, The Night You Left at Paul Kasmin

Andres Serrano solo show at Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art Gallery

A painting by Dale Frank in the Art Forum Lounge

Installation view of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Installation view at Tang Contemporary

A work by Monir Farmanfarmaian at Haines Gallery Booth

Works by Richard Dupont and Anish Kapoor at Carolina Nitsch Gallery

Installation view at Starkwhite Gallery

Nick Cave, Untitled at Jack Shainman Gallery

Vases by Ai Weiwei at Haines Gallery

Installation view at Lisson Gallery

Works by Cindy Sherman and Jenny Holzer at Sprüth Magers

Installation view at Moniquemeloche Gallery

Installation view at Bischoff Weiss Gallery

Installation view at Ingleby Gallery

Installation view at Tina Kim Gallery

Michelangelo Pistoletto, background, at Galeria Continua

—S. Sveen

Related Links:

Exhibition Site [The Armory Show]
On View at the Armory: More Asian Galleries [Wall Street Journal]
Melted Legos, $5.8 million Kline, Hotel Beds: Armory Week Guide [Bloomberg]
New York fairs put on their game faces [The Art Newspaper]