The Armory Show New York

Gabriel Beveridge, installation at Parisian Laundry, Montreal, booth in the Focus section of The Armory Show, New York (photograph by Nancy Nesvet).

by Nancy Nesvet

(With all East Coast planes and buses cancelled, and only one train coming up from the south through Washington, D.C., still going to New York, Nancy Nesvet, Artscope’s national correspondent, made it to the New York Armory Show. She files the first of her reports here).

MARCH 7, 2018, NEW YORK CITY — It was totally worth slogging through the slush and being pelted by falling unnamed precipitation to make it to the New York’s Armory Show.

Strangely (or maybe not), a lot of the work in the Pier 94 pavilion, on the Hudson River, featured water; steamy water, as in Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s amazing installation, where I stared into a pool of steamy water, which then recorded my face, which was then projected onto a grid of six faces, all awash in white steam. Robert Pan’s droplets of blue water, Untitled, 2016-17, of resin and mixed media, where he applied paint through the screen of chicken wire, making marble-sized shapes of resin layers, at the booth Lorenzelli Arte, Milan, was gorgeous. CGI waves of water produced by Yorgo Alexxopoulos in two videos for Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, New York, and Jayson Musson’s Mercerized cotton stretched over cotton making colorful water rapids at Fleisher/Ollman used different media toward the same colorful end. Even Paul Fagerskiold’s sign, Rain Rain Go Away, at Peter Blum Gallery, New York, concerned what kept on outside.

Other facets of nature were represented, as in Hyunki Park’s Untitled, 1987/2018, a single channel video of a rock on six separate monitors with a real rock balanced on top of them at Gallery Hyundai, and in Liu Ruo Wng’s The Dodo, 2013-15, constructed of stainless steel, at Milan’s Lorenzetti Arte. Gabriele Beveridge’s glass globes, slightly misshapen, of found poster, hand-blown glass and steel hardware, Common Day (II), 2018, at Parisian Laundry (Montreal) were luminous cellular-like shapes of glass on a hard steel holder, but that same glass shape layered upon a black and white glamour photograph of a woman’s face took the prize for sheer beauty today.

This is not to say there wasn’t serious figurative work, including Shepherd Fairey’s 2012 prints, Harmony and Arab Woman, for Pace Prints and Tony Oursler’s 2018 strange faces with moving eyes and mouth at Redling Fine Art, the earlier of which we enjoyed so much at Art Basel 2016. Andy Warhol’s Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482, from his Details of Renaissance Paintings series at Susan Sheehan, New York, presented Venus in a sea of blue, water again. The blue and violet colored installation, Cry Havoc, 2014, by Mary Sibande, presented by Gallery MOMO, of South Africa, graced the entrance to the show at Pier 94’s Platform section rising well above the crowd in stature and enthusiastic dance. This was the clear star in Platform, where large works and installations are shown.

All told, the work I saw on opening day at The Armory Show, on Piers 92 and 94, was light, bright, water-filled and colorful. Gone everywhere was any dullness, or signs of devastation or depression. It was truly a break from the gray weather outside and the anxiety we have felt this year. Inside the show was close to a tropical paradise, or at least a real escape. and that is something all the art lovers who came today needed and appreciated.

More tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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