Art Info and I are for the most part happily in agreement on the best and the worst of this year's Armory Show. I couldn't agree more with the 5 worst-- Gallerists, are you listening?! Stop with the 3D and irrelevant technology!
That said-- there was good to be found. I'm pleased to see Greenberg Van Doren's Tim Davis recognized as 'the funniest and most engaging work in the fair' with his multiscreen video project "The Upstate Olympics." I can't seem to find videos of this work anywhere online (probably a good thing-- art remaining art and all that) but it was so refreshing to find a moment of laughter and originality in the midst of so many egos staged in over reaching, over packed European booths.
Also of note is Sam Van Aken's "New Edens" exhibition of fruit trees at Ronald Feldman Gallery's booth. "New Edens" showcases an orchard of live trees genetically altered to simultaneously grow five fruits, sectioned off in veins like those carnations we altered with food coloring in grade school. It's a symbiosis of humankind’s relation to nature-- biodiversity versus food monoculture, genetic engineering, and pure shock factor. Overall it held just the right amount of umph to blow his surrounding exhibitors irrelevant. I wish that more galleries would showcase single artist booths like this-- such a bigger impact!
The photo above is from the PULSE fair that took place at the Metropolitan Pavilion this year--a huge improvement from that concrete disaster last year at the end of Houston. I always find the exhibitors at Pulse more interesting that those at The Armory Show, this year being no exception. ('Saying funny things in neon' isn't revolutionary or in any way transcendent, by the way, but it always causes pause and still holds the right amount of self-deprivation to remain relevant.)
PULSE allows smaller galleries from exotic places like Brooklyn and Canada a shot at recognition from the heralded collectors in town for the bigger fairs. It therefore feels more settled and less hyper than The Armory Show, less stuffy than The Art Show uptown, but still more confident than either Volta or Scope. (Do these silly words make sense to you, dear reader?)
At any rate, it happened. Art Week is over and I remain grateful for it all. It's a real treat to have the best of the best arrive in my town for 5 quick days. These dealers that I speak with daily come right to me, spreading their wings with paintings and installations and strange sculpture ripe for judgment and perhaps a bit of inspiration. In the end, it's a flurry but also a much needed jolt back into a world that I find important and so very necessary.
Next up? Chicago.