Creative Consumption: Armory Show 2010

Despite cost and variety, there are gems to be found in this sand box.

poster for

"The Armory Show" Art Fair

at Pier 92
in the Midtown area
This event has ended - (2010-03-04 - 2010-03-07)

In Main Article 3 Reviews by Eric Morrell 2010-03-12 print

Nick Cave (Jack Shainman Gallery)
The annual Armory Show in New York City converts two piers into hundreds of exhibit spaces for top international and domestic art galleries. It is not about exhibiting art; it is about selling art, and can often feel like walking through a mall vestibule filled to the brim with kiosks selling shiny cheap wears. Of course the wears are anything but cheap; admission price alone is $30 per person. Despite cost and variety, there are gems to be found in this sand box.
Polly Morgan (Other Criteria Gallery)
In the contemporary section the sculpture work is outstanding. In particular, a piece by Polly Morgan (Other Criteria Gallery) of three taxidermied baby birds being lifted by tiny balloons all within an old fashion glass exhibit case. The idea of taxidermizing baby birds let alone floating them under cartoonish balloons is surprising and memorable. It is like a piece of a morbid Rube Goldberg machine that has flown away from the greater whole and then captured by a 19th century curiosity collector.

In a similar vein though larger in scale, Nick Cave (Jack Shainman Gallery) builds figurative sculptures that act more like costumes from twigs and socks. Cave’s sculptures are creatures that in your memory move and dance together in a world their own. They are simple in their structure and playful in their position. These universal bodies are not clear of race or culture, but feel modern in their need to recycle and build off of the common small object made unit for the whole.

Upstairs in Pier 92 the work of yesterday shows off its drawing and painting skills whether established artists like Gorgio Morandi, or the estates of lesser known ‘ab-ex’ painters whose work grows in value despite its lesser magnitude among its contemporaries. The work of the mid-twentieth century feels fresher in its frames than the current work displayed downstairs in Pier 94.
Benny Andrews (Michael Rosenfeld Gallery)
The late Benny Andrews (Michael Rosenfeld Gallery) gets an exhibit almost to himself. Andrews specialized in a figurative work style that held to WPA roots but gained a small following in the 1960’s, together with painters Alice Neel, Rapheal Soyer, and Red Grooms. Like Red Grooms, Andrews adds three-dimensional relief to emphasis different aspects of his paintings: the breasts of a woman, the hat of a Sunday stroller, or the hair of a man lifting a bolder. These additions whether collage or structured behind the paint surface, make the experience of seeing them complete, and their reproduction missing the magic created.

Unbeknownst to many viewers, the Armory Show wasn’t always a vehicle for consumption. Named after the 1913 show that brought cubism to America it has since evolved into the cultural convention it is today. Although it lacks the intensity of it’s namesake, it proves its purpose the same; American collectors will pay for art.

Eric Morrell

Eric Morrell. Eric Morrell resides in Brooklyn, Ny. He has a bachelors in painting and a worldly degree in film and television. "Wouldn't it be great if all things were as cheap as a gallery visit," Morrell says while scarfing down coffee at a local Jiffy Lube. If you want more of Morrell, go visit his altar ego Mr. Alligator » See other writings

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