The first week of March signifies something magical for the New York art scene. Outside temperatures are just warm enough to spot post Fashion Week street styles, but cool enough to keep art patrons and collectors indoors where gallerists and artists have assembled inside schoolhouses and armories for the annual Armory Arts Week.
With a history of exhibition spanning over one hundred years and located at Pier 92 and 94, The Armory Show’s selection of this year's 205 galleries representing contemporary and modern art did not fall short of its prestigious reputation.
A canon of exhibited works includes sections from digital media, painting, mixed media and found object sculpture. Commonalities amongst the aesthetics of the work nod to pop-culture idols and icons with a focus on 1960’s and 1980’s memorabilia, and reflective surfaces ideal for crowd sourced ‘selfie-imagery’. Themes of globalization, gentrification and development are apparent along with criticism of the economic structure of contemporary art sales. Chinese art drew the crowd this year as the curatorial efforts of the Chinese wing moves away from perceptions of commercialism and political influence.
Top Armory selections include:
Valerie Belin, Pieris Japonica (Mountain Fire), 2013
Edwynn Houk Gallery
French artist, Valerie Berlin makes aesthetic choices in her digital manipulations to feature portraits of 1930’s era brides juxtaposed with bouquet flowers producing a theatrical and iconic image. Belin has been recognized as a “superb designer of Baroque sur-réalité”.
Lisa Anne Auerbach, Find Your Inner Metal Voice, 2011
A 2014 Whitney Biennial exhibitor, feminist and activist, Auerbach creates fiber works drawing from characteristics of 1960’s housewife’s creation. Knitted patterns and phrases read, “You’re really used to being misunderstood” and “time in nature is the most healing”. Auerbach’s practice is politically charged and has commented on contemporary media issues such as Proposition 8, Octomom and the Pussy Riot protests.
Wang Luyan, W Global Watch D12-01, 2012
Acrylic on Canvas
Pekin Fine Arts
Philip Tinari, director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art spoke about the rising Chinese art scene and in conversation with Hyperallergic and suggested this years aim of contemporary Chinese art “was to normalize our stereotypes of a Chinese art world dominated by commercialism, record auction prices, and Ai Weiwei.”
Notable mention goes to the K11 Art Foundation, a foundation dedicated to the redefinition of the contemporary art landscape in china, present with a booth and armed with high quality handouts at The Armory.
William Powhida, “How to try and be OK with the contemporary art market” ,2014 Postmasters Gallery
Artists have become more critical of the ever-present hierarchy of trend commanding sales of the contemporary art world. Powhida presents a memorandum as his signature medium that outlines market trends and the predictability of what will sell to which tycoon. Lines such as “Where vast wealth increasingly pools at the high-end of the art market” and “Listen to the $alespeople! They are experts. Critics R Trolls” depreciate the transactional nature of large art fairs. However, the works fluorescent highlights and flirtatious text suggests Powhida too hopes to turn a profit.
Monica Cook, 2014
This sculpture is constructed of found objects and mixed media and is to be used in Cook’s photographs and stop motion animations.
Charlie White, Naked Girl Sitting Down, Turning Towards Camera, 2013
Ben Gocker, Scaredy Cat, 2014
Wood, maps, gesso, aluminum, peanuts, crayons, carpet, guache, wire, enamel, acrylic, watercolor, pencil
Inigo Mangiano-Ovalle, Storm Prototype No. 2, 2006
Christopher Grimes Gallery / Galerie Thomas Schulte
Nick Cave, Trio of Sound suits
Jack Shainman Gallery
Constructed of Wood and metallic fabrics, Cave’s signature sculptures are evocative of performance and reinforce engaging qualities through the costume like imagery.
Gehard Demetz, For My Father’s, 2009 Lime Wood
Jack Shainman Gallery
“My sculptures transmit the awareness of becoming adults and thus losing, as Rudolf Steiner says, their ability to be able to “hear” their unconscious. They live with the burden of guilt transmitted from generation to generation, which does not belong to them. They are children who feel sad about not being able to really be children, but who have, on the other hand, the possibility of choosing to become adults, totally independently, thus freeing themselves little by little of all the influences transmitted by their ancestors. They are witness to all the effort involved in the process of growth and development, which is achieved through individual will and concentration.”
-Gerhard Demetz for Dazed Digitali
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