As Wednesday winds down, this year’s edition of the annual Armory Show has gotten underway, with the doors of Piers 92 and 94 opening on to an expansive array of booths and art objects. Marking its most recent iteration since first opening in 1994, this year’s edition of the Armory Show also marked its first for new director Nicole Berry, who took over following Benjamin Genocchio’s ouster over reports of sexual harassment. Berry brings years of experience with EXPO Chicago, and it shows, with a relaxed pacing and well-curated body of main booths and special exhibitions keeping the fair at the top of its game.
Glenn Ligon at Regen Projects, via Art Observed
Entering in from the buffeting winds of a late March storm, the fair’s well-lit aisles and layout are a welcome site, and the outstretched rows of artworks make for an inviting counterpoint. While the snow and wind seemed to have kept some collectors from making their flights in for the VIP day, gallerists remained optimistic that additional buyers were on the way.
For sheer visual spectacle, it was hard to match Pace Gallery, whose monolithic arrangement of clear plastic tubes by Tara Donovan defied any easy reading of scale or shape while giving off a gentle, purple-hued glow from their collective surface. In another corner, Gagosian had also brought a series of particularly commanding works, filling its booth with TV sculptures by Nam June Paik, including one that featured a stuffed lion and a row of oscillating, painted screens that lent a kinetic, swirling movement to an otherwise staid arrangement. At Marianne Boesky, one could peruse a range of works by Hans Op de Beeck, stark sculptures of children and trees that filled his subjects with a peaceful, somewhat ominous sense of repose.
Elsewhere, at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, the much-loved Bruce High-Quality Foundation had made a much-trumpeted return, bringing with them a range of painted photographs and manipulated images that recalled their strongest work from their early years, before the group dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to their University project. In another interesting return, artist Kehinde Wiley had brought his first portrait since completing his iconic depiction of President Barack Obama to Sean Kelly. The piece sold within minutes of the fair opening.
As visitors snaked out of the fair this evening, a distinctly light air pervaded the groups of viewers, collectors and dealers moving towards their cabs and cars. Even with the brutal wind and sleet falling on the city, one couldn’t avoid the feeling that another bustling art season was now underway in the Big Apple, a prospect that seemed to have many in high spirits.
The fair is open through March 11th.
— D. Creahan
Armory Show [Exhibition Site]
Nicole Berry on what you’ll see at this year’s Armory Show [Art Newspaper]
With an Eye Toward Technology and Bodily Change, the Armory Show’s Focus Section Sees a Dark Future [Art News]
30 Must-See Artists at the Armory Show [NYT]