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The Armory Show, with Pictures

My big overnight whirlwind tour of the New York art fairs was a a lot of fun and a good walking workout. If you were following my exploits last week, the Armory Show was hesitant about giving me a press pass. After some back and forth they graciously allowed me in. Thank you!

The best part about the Armory Show (on piers 90 and 92) is the gossip. It has to happen, these are the “player” galleries, selling works in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. As you walk around at the press/VIP preview, probably as many VIPs as press, you can overhear some great conversation. One middle-aged gentleman to a gallerist looking a grouping of very expensive small paintings: “Which one do you think is the best? Should I buy it?” At this show it’s not always about the art, it’s art as investment. The stock market is a little scary, De Kooning is dead and not producing any more paintings, his value will only rise, a sure investment. If the first half-hour of the preview is any guage of sales, then this year's version of the Armory should surpass the 40 million in sales of last year. I overheard one gallerist on a cell phone: “Oh my god I sold the sculpture in the first 5 minutes!”

I love the fact that people are buying art, but I’m always amazed at the amount of cash flowing thru the economy. Buy art not Prada! Well, in this instance it was both.

One holdover from the last show is Alex Katz, big Alex Katz’s, as in Christy 05, shown above, and at several booths, also a nice small 3-d painting at Peter Blum for around 110,000.00.

The beauty of the Armory Show is your ability to see what galleries from around the world are interested in showing. Of the 154 galleries showing this year, 50% of the galleries are from Europe (74), 31% from NYC (48), 10% from Canada and the U.S. (17), and 5% from Asia (8), with a Beijing entry, the Court Yard Gallery. It seems that many galleries are exhibiting American artists or are in some way influenced by trends. Painting is well represented here; I don’t recall any video, besides the TV Sphere at Perogi Gallery. Many portraits or figurative compositions. Lots of small framed work, drawings, and multiples. With a few exceptions this is a show of established, marketable work. Lots of good strong work, but no surprises: surprises are for the the other fairs going on this week, Pulse, Scope, DIVA, or LA Art In New York. I'll discuss the Pulse show next. I had to make a decision, Scope or the Munch Exhibit at MoMa. Here is a link to my flickr file from the Armory Show. More to come about Armory, Pulse, and other visits, as soon as I can decipher my notes -- yes, I do take some notes -- and organize photos.


libby said...

buy art not prada!!!! great line and great post. i may have to steal it one day.

lots of video at the other fairs, and don't forget that DIVA siphoned off some of it. I wonder how many went to that fair. The thought of watching three hours or more of different videos is even more daunting than all those booths of paintings and sculpture.

Mark Barry said...

Can you see me staying still long enough for video? There was a months worth of art in one weekend. Very few saw all of it. We tried.