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The New York Times > > March 10, 2006 > Art Review | The Armory Show > > The World Tour Rolls Into Town, Sprawling but Tidy > >
By HOLLAND COTTER > >
THE ARMORY SHOW 2006, which opens on Piers 90 and 92 today, calls itself the International Fair of New Art. But what it really is is the New York leg of what has become, over the past few years, a single, floating, continuous trans-Atlantic art fair that periodically alights in one city or another — Miami, Cologne, Basel, London — to hawk its wares and replenish its stock. > >
However you think of it, the fair is here. It's immense. And for the art world's many V.I.P.'s — collectors, dealers, donors, "friends" — it is a very V.I.P. affair, with a full calendar of restricted-access events. > >
These began with the White Party on Wednesday, the fair's kickoff gala, sponsored by Whitewall, "the first art lifestyle magazine," as it calls itself, and a pre-party lecture by Alain Badiou, a French philosopher influenced (according the fair's press material) by Plato, Hegel, Lacan and Deleuze, who spoke on "Speaking the Unspeakable." > >
The weekend ahead will be spiced with visits to private New York collections, one "vibrant," another "quite personal," another "on the 66th floor." And it will include "Critical Conversations in a Limo," intimate chats between V.I.P.'s and critics and curators for hire held in cars zipping between the Armory Show and DIVA, the Digital and Video Art Fair, one of several concurrent fairs in the city. (Scope Art Fair, the Pulse-Art Fair and the Los Angeles Art Fair are others.) > >
But for general admissions types like you and me, there is the Armory Show itself. Every new edition looks slightly different, partly in response to kvetching about the previous one. At one time, the show was badly overcrowded, with booths no bigger than walk-in closets. There was a revolt. The cry went up for more, more, more space. Now there is more, but at the cost of reducing the numbers of galleries. The count is 154 this year, and several notable names — Barbara Gladstone, Marian Goodman, Luhring Augustine, Daniel Reich — have dropped out. > >
Opened-up space also makes for some zany configurations near the front of the show, where at certain points you may not be sure of whose booth you're in. But beyond that point everything falls into regulation aisles-with-compartments order. > >
Indeed, this year's fair looks particularly neat. Certain galleries (Sean Kelly, Zeno X) have gone for an almost arctic spareness. Many adhere to a formulaic display: biggish painting (or photograph), medium-size sculpture, little paintings (or drawings) in a nook. Expensive, less expensive, beginner's luck. > >
The mix can work great. I liked everything I saw in Galleri Charlotte Lund's selection of young Swedish artists, and especially a magical painting of two young women — the artist and her lover — by Ulrika Minami Warmling. The same was true at Kurimanzutto from Mexico City, with work by Carlos Amorales, Daniel Guzmán and Damián Ortega, a stimulating triumvirate. > >
Individual items of interest are in good supply: an eye-fooling sculpture by Heather Rowe at D'Amelio Terras is one; a sizzling-hot-looking painting that seems to be crying real tears by Aaron Curry at David Kordansky is another. If new work by the veteran Robert Mangold offers a model for a kind of cool neo-Minimalism we're seeing a lot of these days, paintings by Barry McGee and Jannis Varelas exemplify a trend of Pop-inflected, M.F.A. Outsider Art. > >
In general, dealers seem to have figured out that booths installed as mini-group shows tend to look a bit too much like what they really are: shops packed with product. Maybe that's why we're seeing so many solo exhibitions at this year's fair. > >
They aren't all scintillating. Neither Ena Swansea at Galeria Crone, Andreas Osarek, nor the Luc Tuymansesque Janis Avotins at IBID did much for me. But Robert Melee did, in an update of an earlier Chelsea solo at Andrew Kreps. Likewise, Terence Koh with his nightmare Port-o-San at Peres Projects. And Ashley Bickerton, who has turned Lehmann Maupin's booth into a demented South Seas salon. > >
Atul Dodiya has a far-less-eager-to-please installation at Nature Morte, of gallows framing passages from Tamil religious poetry, and Gary Simmons has a beautiful wall drawing outside the exhibition area at Pier 90. But the most moving — disturbing, funny, out-of-place-looking — sight for me was a Hannah Wilke retrospective at Ronald Feldman. > > >
From her early, sassy feminist videos to self-portrait photographs, taken when she was dying of cancer, Ms. Wilke (1940-93) encompassed an amazing emotional, conceptual and political range: narcissism and mockery of narcissism; seduction and defiance; materialism and impermanence. > >
For me, she's the V.I.P. of this year's fair, and her presence raises many questions. Why don't we see more of the generation of female artists she represents? Why don't we see more contemporary female artists than the paltry number visible in galleries today? Why has art, the only remaining corner of Western "high" culture that can still offend established power, settled for doing so much less? Settled for being aisle upon aisle of smart, well-schooled knickknacks? > >
I don't know, but a thought came to me after I left the fair. The Armory Show two years ago, in 2004, was in every way of a piece with the 2004 Whitney Biennial: bright, light, expensive, fun. This year's Armory Show also coincides with a Biennial, but a darker, scrappier, more rebellious one, from which it feels utterly different. Is art changing in ways that art fairs cannot accommodate? For some of us, this is a very important question. And we hope the answer is yes.
Sales In The City: Fair Transactions Fredericks & Freiser on Fire New Yorks Fredericks & Freiser gallery has had a hugely successful show, nearly selling out its oversized booth by early Friday afternoon. The gallery has obviously been helped by the fact that it represents the artist commissioned by the fair to create its visual identity this year, John Wesley. Of the 15 Wesley acrylic-on-paper paintings on display (many bright pink nudes, with a somber-toned boating scene in the mix), all but two had sold for between $25,000 to $35,000 (and while we were speaking with Andrew Freiser, one of those two was placed on reserve). The gallery also sold a Lamar Peterson painting, Lady Riding a Dolphin, for $12,000, two works by Zak Smith: Spidy, Berlin, a painting, for $16,500 and a series of drawings, It Is Possible to Be So Nervous You Cant Actually Draw Recognizable Objects, for $9,000. (For more on Smiths second career as a performer in "alt-punk" adult movies, see below). The gallery also sold work by Whitney Biennial star Marilyn Minter, Hiroki Otsuka and Torsten Solin. Wool for the Wealthy
L.A.s Michael Kohn Gallery was pleased to report that it sold a Christopher Wool work, Untitled (p2) for $175,000. The painting features black dots crowding a white canvas. Another Wool painting was on reserve at $125,000. Straight from the Studio Both Greenberg Van Doren and CRG Gallery were doing well with works that came to the fair straight from the artists studios. Van Doren sold a Kevin Zucker painting that arrived sight-unseen and went for $28,000, while a fresh painting by group-show fixture Lisa Sanditz sold for $17,000. CRG also sold a large painting by Tomory Dodge, whose show is currently on view at the gallery, for $20,000 to an American collector. Blue-Chip Blues Some major big blue-chip piecesat suitably blue-chip priceshave been slow to move at this years fair. A cabinet piece by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Sean Kelly is still available for $400,000. Works by Nan Goldin, including several cibachromes at Galerie Guy Bartschi and five unique, vintage prints at Yvon Lambert, and a unique Dan Flavin at Haunch of Venison, priced at 675,000 euros, are also still available, as are major paintings by Albert Oehlen and Markus Lupertz at Patrick Painter, priced from $55,000 to $175,000.
Speaking Frank(ly) New Yorks Jack Tilton Gallery told us it sold a large (62 x 3 9) Natalie Frank painting executed this year and titled Converter for $9,000. After the widely reported sell-out of Franks current show at the Briggs Robinson Gallery (it closes Tuesday), we couldnt help but raise our eyebrows at what seemed like a very fair price. The gallery worker noted our surprise and said it would have been a poor decision for both gallery and artist to have jacked up the price too much in the wake of her success. The gallery also had a Wei Dong painting, filled with hairless Chinese nudes crowded into a classical Chinese landscape, available for $42,000.
Dublin Gallery Brings in the Dough The Kerlin Gallery from Irelands capital is having a strong show. It sold a large, geometric abstract oil painting by Callum Innes, Exposed Painting: Cinnabar Green/Violet, for $30,000; and two amusing paintings by Norbert Schwontkowski for $7,200 each: The Half-Joke (where a speech bubble is cropped, spoiling the joke) and The Deer (a hunter dragging a carcass through some roughly rendered woods).
Sikkema Sells Sillman New Yorks Sikkema Jenkins & Co. sold a large, abstract painting by Amy Sillman, dominated by a cheery orange, for $50,000. A super-colorful Vik Muniz photograph, Day of the Gods (Mahana No Atua), After Gauguin, Pictures of Pigment, went for $28,000.
Bradens the Bomb This morning saw a lot of sales for emerging artists. London dealer Timothy Taylor sold out of sculptures and paintings by artist Tim Bradenthe gallery has reportedly sold over 30 works in the last month, with prices for a canvas work at around $18,000. Several collectors were also keen on two small paintings by Victor Man, although those had been snatched up by Taylor himself. Guild and Greyshkul sold two new paintings by Benjamin Degen for $20,000 to an American collector. David Kordansky seems to be on a hot streak, selling out work by Aaron Curry, with a steady stream of collectors coming by. Team Gallery sold almost all the editions of work by Gert and Uwe Tobias, who will be in the gallerys upcoming show, and the eye-catching, slick Kate Sheperd painting at Galerie Lelong quickly reserved for $30,000. Two sets of small collages by Wangechi Mutu were also a hot item, one selling for $9,500, the other already reserved. Not-So-Costly Kapoor The fair this year features some accessible works by artists who are sometimes difficult to collect. One of the best examples is Anish Kapoor, whose large and sometimes fragile works need some pretty committed collectors. SCAI Tokyo is selling two works on paper by the British artist starting at $18,000. Get Your Chapman Goyas Surprisingly, several Chapman brothers Goya etchings were still available, selling individually for 13,500 pounds at London's White Cube, as was a Harlan Miller painting, going for 14,500 pounds. Soy Sauce Sales Tokyos Ota Fine Arts sold one of Tsuyoshi Ozawas hanging-scroll paintings, made with soy sauce, for $6,000. The sold work, titled Jackson Pollock, was done in the signature style of the Abstract Expressionist master. Two other soy-sauce works are still available. A Yayoi Kusama painting was still available at the gallery for 10 times the price of the Ozawa. Complex Title, Five-Figure Sale New Yorks Feigen Contemporary sold for $10,000 a 51" x 48" oil painting by Susanne Simonson with the ungainly title, Samtidgheter III/Concurrents III. Simonson will be having her first U.S. show at the gallery in April. The gallery still has available an Elizabeth Huey painting, with a fairy-tale feel, for $12,000. Ridley Howard Trio Taken Zach Feuers gallery sold three small-scaled Ridley Howard paintings for $7,000 each. Howards work was recently featured among ArtInfos Editors Picks.
Brussels Debut Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, from Belgiums capital, was selling some attractive work at attractive prices. A pencil drawing from 28-year-old American Sam Salisbury (of a large, womans head dominating a pastoral scene) sold for $3,700. Salisbury, who also paints, will be having his first show at the gallery next month. Two Romanian twins, Gert and Uwe Tobias, also seem like a pair to watch. They sold for a very reasonable $1,000 a mixed-media work that is a study for their specialty: large-scale woodcut prints. New Yorkers will be able to see these efforts at Team Gallery starting next Tuesday. J. Lo Sellout Mexcio Citys Galeria Enrique Guerrero sold all six works it brought by Jesica Lopez. The acrylic works on yellow-lined paper, half-length portraits of young women, sold for $750 each. A Photo Favorite Two photos by one of our favorite young photographers, Justine Kurland, were still available at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. A 40" x 50" color photo of a nude couple lying in the woods, titled The Pale Serpent, was available for $10,000 (edition of eight). A 17.75" x 22.75" color close-up of a young womans face, titled Gaea, can be had for $4,000 (edition of 8). Who the Man? New Yorks Alexander & Bonin brought with it a Man Ray painting, an untitled abstraction with thickly applied paint, that was available for $35,000.
WEST SIDE STORY: ARMORY NEWS Architect Richard Meier with LTB Media CEO James Truman at 165 Charles Street, which is hosting a modern furniture exhibition Architect Richard Meier with LTB Media CEO James Truman at 165 Charles Street, which is hosting a modern furniture exhibition. Scope Smoke-Out New York City firefighters shut down the Scope fairs opening night preview yesterday due to excessive levels of carbon monoxide in the fairs building, located across the West Side Highway from the Armory piers. Scope organizers report theyve received the A-OK and officially opened for business just before noon today. A Room with a Million Dollar View Collectors browsed the art-filled residences today at 165 Charles Street, designed by Richard Meier, where six galleries installed a selection of modern and contemporary furniture and artwork in seven of the multi-million dollar Hudson River properties. Among the highlights of the event, officially titled "Design + Architecture: 20th Century Modern Furniture Exhibition": recent furniture designs by Ron Arad, shown by Barry Friedman Ltd. on the 10th floor, and organic glass terrarium sculptures by Paula Hayes, shown in an elaborately surreal installation by R 20th Century. Dealers reported swift sales since the opening on Tuesday at a cocktail premier. Architect Richard Meier himself contributed a little star power to a VIP brunch (hosted by ArtInfo) early yesterday morning. Also in attendance was Sotheby's furniture maven Blair Voltz Clarke and former Armory director Tim Smith. Zak Sabbath While browsing the nearly sold-out booth belonging to Fredericks & Freiser (see above), we noticed a not-for-sale work by Zak Smith titled Drawings Made Around the Time I Became a Pornstar. (Smith's illustrations for Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow stole the show at the 2004 Whitney Biennial; the work now belongs to the Walker Art Center.) Upon making inquiries, we learned from gallery owner Andrew Freiser that Smith actually is acting in what was described as "alt-punk" adult movies under the name Zak Sabbath (great, that). One of the titles he has appeared in even has art world ties: Art School Sluts. Smith has a show opening at SFMoMA on April 21 where these drawings and others will be featured. Rohatyn Roundup Salon 94s Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn welcomed visitors to their bright and spacious Upper East Side townhouse earlier this morning. Their collection consisted of an eclectic but perfectly put together showcase of leading contemporary artists. Sarah Lucas large steel 2005 sculpture titled Aunty Jam complimented the Rohatyns impressive solid curved wood staircase railing. The downstairs living room featured a row of small and intimate 1950s nudes while the upstairs living area was a home to two incredible Barry X Ball sculptures, one made of Italian fantastico marble and the other of a lapis lazuli aggregate. There were also two interesting Sarah Lucas sculptures made of materials ranging from nylon tights to cigarettes. The Rohatyns dining room had a striking 1997 Kara Walker paper installation titled Worlds Exposition that covered the entire east wall. Other artists on display included Mika Kato, Paula Hayes, Seth Price, Pae White and Julie Mehretu. Short Circuit It was lights out not once but twice on Pier 90, where electricity shut down on nearly the entire pier for periods of 20 to 30 minutes mid-afternoon. A few lone galleries were lucky enough to escape the blackout by some unknown quirk in the grid systemlike at Greene Naftali, where a glowing Guyton/Walker coconut chandelier (sold for $20,000) attracted buyers like flies to a street lamp. Other galleries were not so lucky: At Cheim and Read, the lights went out, extinguishing a Jenny Holzer LED display. The best gallery owner John Read could do was fruitlessly describe to passersby the effect of the piece when lit. Its white and amber, he said. Turns out maybe a Holzer isnt the best work to bring with if youre ever stranded on a deserted island. Non-Profit Waters Oh my God, theyve got you all at the back of the bus! exclaimed filmmaker John Waters when he saw the Swiss Institute, Art in General and at least four other non-profits shoved into mini-cubicles in the back of the pier. It seems the Armory gives non-profit galleries the short end of the stick when it comes to exhibition space. The Socrates Sculpture Park of Long Island City, founded by sculptor Mark di Suvero on an illegal dump site, had a prime space squeezed up against a wall between the restrooms. After 20 years in business, it seems the Armory may have put them almost back where they started. Correction: Opie Doesn't Have a Twin In yesterday's Armory report email, ArtInfo incorrectly noted that Tokyo's SCAI gallery has two paintings for sale by John Opie. The painter's name, of course, is Julian Opie. Yass, Yass, Yass! Theres work at the Armory by Catherine Yass at both her U.S. gallery, Lelong, and her London dealer Alison Jacques. Yass was of course nominated for the 2002 Turner Prize, and many of us recall the wonderful backdrop that the Merce Cunningham Company commissioned in 2003. She has a show scheduled at Lelong this fall. Her light boxes, which come in editions of three, are selling at Alison Jacques for $18,000. Less is MoMA Julie Atlas Muz must have made a big impression at the rather subdued MoMA benefit last night where she sported a bright green bikini and full-length fur coat. Installers at the Jeffrey Deitch booth were busily putting up a few of her drawings at opening time this morning, making space for them by removing one of the rather risque photographs by J.D. Samson.
DIVA Gears Up for Round Two, Keeps it Cozy The second New York installment of DIVA (the Digital & Video Art fair) slowly got underway late yesterday afternoon at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Battery Park City. Billed this year as a tribute to Andy Warhol, organizer Thierry Alet intentionally keeps this emerging fair small, intimate and manageable by featuring about 30 international galleries throughout three hotel floors. With a feeling of openness and light, thanks to the Embassy's massive atrium, DIVA 06 once again offers a relaxed pace in comparison with the experience associated with the bustling bigger fairs. We try to interest those galleries specifically showing new and interesting works in video, film and digital art," according to Elga Wimmer, DIVA curator. This includes New York dealers LMAK, Maya Stendahl, Michael Steinberg Fine Art, Pablos Birthday and Rewind/Florence Lynch Gallery, among others, along with five galleries from Spain (Antonio De Barnola, Maria Llanos, Moises Perez De Albeniz, Sicart and Magda Bellotti), four from Germany (Caprice Horn, DNA-Die Neue Aktionsgalerie, Play_Gallery for Still And Motion Pictures and TZR (Galerie Fur Bildende Kunst), two from France (Les Filles Du Calvaire, Mamia Bretesche) and two from Taipei (Chi-Wen Gallery, Galerie Grand Siecle). Other exhibitors hale from Canada (Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain), Russia (ARKA), China (Shanghart), the Netherlands (Ronmandos), Italy (Paolo Bonzano Artecontemporanea) and Chicago (Walsh Gallery). By far the most interesting and cohesive arrangement this year is that of Maya Stendhal Gallery, with Fluxus Film Anthology, a 120-minute compilation of 41 FluxFilms selected by Fluxus "chairman" George Maciunas. The video highlights films made by various artists such as Yoko Ono, Nam Jun Paik and Ben Vautier. Stendhal features two more works, Zefire Torno: Scenes from the Life of George Maciunus (1952-78) and Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1999), created by filmmaker and writer Joan Mekas, founder of the Anthology Film Archives. All sell for an economical $500, as they are unlimited edition videos signed by Mekas. One gallery representative proudly demonstrated how to download these videos on an iPod-art that can always travel with you. Play_Gallery for Still And Motion Pictures has two noteworthy presentations. Pierre Coulibeufs mesmerizing Who's Marina Abramovic? (2006), an edition of six priced at 15,000 euro, encompasses the entrance to their suite. Barcelona-based artist Alejandro Vidal takes up the back room with Tactical Disorder, 2005, which addresses issues of social conflict, self-defense and violence. The piece sells for 5,000 euros. A few doors down, the multimedia installation S.L.TransPod (2006), at Walsh Gallery, feels like a futuristic airport saki bar suited for The Jetsons. Artist Rodney Swanstrom bridges low and high tech to create a complete sensory environment using light, video, aromatherapy and climate manipulation as his chosen mediums. Also in tune with futuristic flavor, Claire Oliver kicked off opening night with a performance by internationally-renowned Eva & Adele, the self proclaimed "Hermaphrodite Twins from the Future." Their piece, Watermusic (2003), an installation in three parts shot on super eight video in real time, makes its U.S. premiere at DIVA 06. An innovation in this year's fair is the introduction of "The Urban Video Experience." Seven shipping containers are on display in various locations throughout lower Manhattan. They are open to the public; however, many had difficulty finding them. DIVA 06 runs until March 12, at Embassy Suites Hotel, 102 North End Avenue, Battery Park City. All my Peace, Lif ove, and Happiness, I am giving to you, Spend who like there's no tomorrow, because, well, never mind about that, we'll deal with that eventuality when it gets here. DKS out! The DKS List DKS2 New!JustPast2006 Google artcards.cc ArtCal EverythingLinks Like to receive the DKS list by home delivery Click here to register Thanks! Scope New York 636 Eleventh Ave betw 46 & 47 Sts Sat 11th: 11-8 Sun12th: 11-8 Mon 13th: 11-8 Admission $10 Armory Show Piers 90 & 92 12th Av at 50th & 52nd Streets Sat 11th: 12-8 Sun 12th: 12-8 Mon 13th: 12-5 Admission $20 Students $10 Fountain 660 12th Ave., betw 49 & 50 PULSE New York Lexington at W 26 Street (The 69th Regiment Armory) DiVA Fair Embassy Suites Hotel, 102 North End Ave.@ Vessey LA ART 135 W 18 Street, betw 6 & 7 Ave. ________________________________ > >
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