The Armory Show. Originating in 1913 as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, this fair is one of the most important annual contemporary and modern art events in NYC. With an international selection of galleries and artists represented, I really wanted to see what’s happening in the global market. Following places on Twitter and Pinterest can only do so much, so it’s really important to see and experience new art whenever you can.
I hiked all the way from the SPRING/BREAK Art Show to Pier 94 (with a slight stop for a much needed lunch) as walking though New York City is essential to any NYC experience. While I knew that this show was going to be big, I was not prepared for exactly how big it would be. It was the last day for the fair, but don’t think that this place wasn’t a zoo of people. Thankfully the line for tickets was pretty quick and I joined in the melee of people wandering the floor. I meant to take an endless array of photos, but alas! My phone hit the 20% battery mark within 5 minutes of my entering. I did manage to take quite a few, but I spent much of my time writing down names to check out at a later date (At least two hundred combined to investigate). I will admit, I did feel very awkward trying to quietly snag flyers and business cards. This feeling did not help in leading to any real conversations, of which I got my fix at SPRING/BREAK, but nonetheless it would have been nice to chat with a few people (a downside of introversion… large crowds drain the light chit chat out of you).
From what I noticed, most spaces went in either two directions: Few large works hung with room to wander around or jammed packed with both people and work. Pierogi Gallery of Brooklyn was definitely one of the latter, but they also had some of the most interesting work, particularly that of Patrick Jacobs, Darina Karpov, David Scher, and Daniel Zeller. Being only a hop, skip, and a jump away enabled the inclusion of larger selection of work, yet I felt they did not have the space for much of it and their booth was hard to maneuver around in. I would love to see the artists of this space in their “natural habitat” without trying to muscle my way around people to see the art.
There were numerous works that would appeal to the photo and selfie fanatics. Los Angeles based Honor Fraser had easily one of the most photogenic pieces in the show (don’t believe me, ask Hyperallergic) with Glenn Kaino‘s A Shout Within a Storm. With over a hundred copper plated, steel arrows, this piece is engaging at whatever angle you look at. Berlin’s Johann Koening Gallery had the penultimate selfie machine with Jeppe Hein‘s You Are Special. I watched a few people pose in front of it, though I settled for a simple refelctive self portrait (curse you 4S battery!). There was one instance of full on selfie action in front of Julio Le Parc‘s sphere jaune from the Galeria Nara Roesler booth (Sao Paolo, Brazil).
When I finally did the Pier 94 loop, I wandered over to Pier 92 which housed the modern art side of The Armory Show. This space was completely different from it’s counterpart downstairs not just in art, but it was quieter and seemed a little less accessible (if that makes sense). I was already feeling quite overwhelmed and thus did not linger long.
I must admit, my planning out of this venture was somewhat on the impulsive side. To do two fairs in a matter of four hours (yes… you read that correctly. FOUR HOURS) was quite the endeavor. That’s easily more overwhelming than a day of gallery or museum cruising in NYC. At least there’s more of a break in between each space to process all that you’ve seen. The Armory Show should not be consumed quickly like a fast food meal, but slowly like a one hundred course meal (ok, maybe not a reasonable number, but you get the idea). I would love to return next year with more time to browse (like another day) and with more exploration of the other satellite fairs such as Volta (which was apparently NEXT DOOR!) which focuses on one artist in each space.