Armory Week: Press Packs And Sausages Ben Austin's Diary Day 2
New York 2014: So dear reader, I’m sitting here in my favourite diner ‘Neil’s’ on 70th and Lex nursing a horrible hangover. My breakfast of sausage, bacon, home fries and eggs (sunny side up, of course) has helped but still feeling sort of fuzzy from excesses of last night. It is damn cold here too, which definitely clears the head.
I also have a bit of disappointing news. Yesterday morning I diligently attended the press conference in the media lounge on Pier 94, munched on the complementary croissants and listened to the organisers (Noah Horowitz) talked about how pleased they were to be presenting a focus section on China (curated by the dapper looking Philip Tinari), how perhaps this year’s theme was ‘athletics’ as an artist had designed a series of bikes and how generally what with everything going on in the city during Armory week (including the Whitney Biennial), New York is the centre of the cultural universe, or something like that.
I as fully signed up member of the press pack, I thought I would do a proper job in documenting all the art, so I put aside my Iphone (what’s up with the battery life on the 5 anyway?) and broke out my trusted digital camera. So, once the backslapping was over I merrily entered the fair, trigger-happy. It was only when I got back to the apartment later and try to upload all the photos, that the cable wouldn’t work, ‘communication error’ it said on the screen and that seems to be the story of my life.
So, in a round about way I’m saying that there are no photos currently available of all the art I saw yesterday. I will try and get this fixed today, but this piece will have to be artless (sorry Paul). I did however grab cards and flyers from the stand out booths I saw, but still it isn’t the same.
First off in the China section, I was taken immediately by the expressionistic work of Chen Haiyan at Ink Studio, powerful black and white woodcuts. Zhao Zhao shattered mirror at Chambers Fine Art was striking and I enjoyed the artists showing at Madein Gallery, in particular the candy coloured impasto pieces by Xu Zhen, his Under Heaven series was selected as the Armory Show commissioned artist.
Into the main area and the all the dazzling array of work on display, a lot of it excellent from all four corners of the globe. From Sweden there was Andréhn-Schiptjenko who had some incredible elongated larger than life teenage girl sculptures by Cajzo von Zeipel. From Zurich Galerie Eva Presenhuber brought in the big names, Galerie Bob Van Orsouw and Mai 36 Galerie also had a strong showing. From London there was Victoria Miro and Lisson Gallery (Kapour, Cragg and Opie). From Paris, was Praz-Delavallade and the list goes on.
Local galleries of course featured largely and I like what I saw at Two Palms, Pierogi, Tina Kim Gallery and Peter Blum. Postmasters Gallery also had some hip and happening work on show. From LA Kohn Gallery had three super pieces by Eddie Martinez, including a sculpture, he is still at a pretty reasonable price all things considered. Also out of LA is Honor Fraser who is consistently good as was Susanne Vielmetter.
I adored out the group hang of Atsushi Kaga at Mother’s tankstation out of Dublin, cute yet moving cartoon-like characters. The smaller galleries from UK I should mention include Hales (showing Frank Bowling), October Gallery and Edel Assanti.
There was even a gallery from Iceland called i8, showing quiet yet beautiful work.
I wandered into the Modern Pier, which always a more civilised affair. Big 20th Century Masters can be found here, sitting alongside more contemporary work, although I didn’t see any masterpieces, but if you have deep, deep pockets you can acquire a big brand name artist.
I was pretty arted out when I left the Piers and rested a while before heading back out for the Armory party at MoMA, which was fun (an open bar) and was packed by a hip, young and beautiful crowd. The band (Blood Orange) was good although music always falls into the background at these events, with everyone mingling and socialising.
I headed Uptown before midnight and went to have a nightcap at Bar and Books my favourite old school cigar bar on Lex. Not surprised I’m feeling a bit rough around the edges today.
Off to the opening of Volta shortly and will also take in Scope and Independent Fair.
I will be sure to take photos on my phone this time.
PS. Found a card reader so will have photos uploaded shortly. Yay!
Words/Photos: Ben Austin for Artlyst © 2014