Babel (Stockholm Type), 2013, by Charles Lutz was based on Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes first exhibited in the 1960’s. Armory Show guests were encouraged to take home a box.
Luminous Words, digital lighting books, by Airan Kang, a Korean artist, were offered for $5000 apiece at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York City. The electronic luminescent sculptures are cast from transparent synthetic resin.
Kavi Gupta of Chicago, Illinois, and Berlin, Germany displayed Scott Reeder’s Real Fake, 2012, neon, 9" x 44", edition of three, tagged $5000.
Artist Alice Hope was constructing the untitled work (Binary Code: Blind) at the booth of Ricco/Maresca, New York City.
Tony Tasset’s Snowman with Yellow Glove, 2013, made of glass, resin, polystyrene, stainless steel, and bronze, 72" x 100" x 36", was $80,000 from Kavi Gupta.
New York City
It was all about the Brillo boxes. Hundreds of red, white, and blue cardboard boxes, modeled after the ones created by Andy Warhol for a 1964 exhibit, were stacked one on top of another at the entrance to the Armory Show held at Piers 92 and 94 in New York City March 7-10. What a sight as attendees realized they could help themselves to a box, break it down, and carry it home tucked under an arm like a folded New York Times.
Brillo box bedlam ensued. Art lovers untaped, folded, and then marched around with boxes in tow. Some arranged with dealers to hold their cache; others schlepped the unwieldy cardboard with them as they navigated through the contemporary and modern art show’s hundreds of booths. Upon exiting the show, triumphant Brillo box beneficiaries strode along the West Side Highway, while others jammed the boxes into taxicabs.
Warhol would have enjoyed the show.
It was an art-filled few days as the Armory Show shared the limelight with the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) show at the Park Avenue Armory, VOLTA NY, Independent, SCOPE New York, PooL Art Fair, and Artexpo New York.
As New York’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stated during the opening press conference, “The arts have never been stronger or more vibrant…The original Armory Show at 69th Street was a turning point in modern art history.
“Fast forward one hundred years and there are dealers from thirty countries and 65,000 visitors at the shows this weekend,” Bloomberg said. The show celebrated the centennial of its namesake, the original Armory Show of 1913, which displayed works by Duchamp, Kandinsky, Picasso, and Brancusi.
Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, echoed the mayor’s words by declaring, “There is varied and rich art being made today, and we are pleased to be part of the matrix that keeps this city so alive.” The mayor was joined at the press conference by ADAA president Dorsey Waxter, ADAA executive director Linda Blumberg, executive director of the Armory Show Noah Horowitz, and New York City’s cultural affairs commissioner Kate D. Levin.
There were 214 exhibitors, including 71 galleries based in New York City. Pier 92 featured contemporary art, while Pier 94 hosted 61 modern art dealers. Artsy, which was the exclusive on-line partner for the Armory Show, offered more than 2600 works that viewers could view on line prior to the show.
Showgoers could attend nine panel discussions featuring curators, critics, and museum directors. One such open forum called “Why Collect,” moderated by journalist Alexandra Peers and hosted by Chubb Insurance, examined the steps it takes to become a collector.
“Our collectors want to hear what other collectors have to say,” stated Bonnie Clearwater, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. “I work with a lot of private collectors, and I put them through paces, helping to build up their criticality.”
One panelist, Erin Harkness McKinnon, president of environmental consultant firm Green Light Sustainability Advisors, shared her personal collecting experiences. “I don’t think there’s anything like a mistake [in collecting].” After collecting for 15 years, she took a break. “I needed a breather,” she explained. Back collecting now, she’s choosing work that includes text. Originally she worked with a gallery owner who “taught me how to see.”
Clearwater explained to the audience the “importance of being able to push beyond what you’re used to and comfortable with,” and the same, she said, goes for artists.
For Sebastian Cwilich, president and chief operating officer of Artsy (artsy.net), his goal is to bring “all the world’s art on line. I want to encourage people to discover, learn, and buy art [on line],” he exclaimed. The 2013 Armory Show was the first time a major fair was “substantially” on line. “We had 3000 works from ninety percent of the dealers. There were 132,600 visits,” he announced, “from 163 countries.”
He went on to report that the English spent about seven minutes perusing the site, while Italians averaged 13 minutes; Brazilians outnumbered Russians. “If art is accessible to a larger audience, it takes out the intimidation factor,” he surmised. His team of art historians works with 400 galleries around the world.
“The eye has to travel,” explained Mariangela Capuzzo, artistic director of ICArt of London, Oslo, and Miami, which installs art on cruise ships. “We create narratives for guests,” she explained. ICArt reaches 2000 guests per week on each of the 11 ships in the Celebrity Cruises fleet.
For Chubb Personal Insurance’s assistant fine art manager Mary Sheridan, collecting has become “generational.” Younger people “don’t want what their parents collected,” she explained, “They want living artists…emerging and street artists.”
Cwilich confessed that he is “seeing less art in person.” To try to rectify that Cwilich takes his children to galleries in Chelsea on Saturdays. It’s important, he said, “to know the stories behind the art.”
For more information, call (212) 645-6440 or check the Web site (www.thearmoryshow.com).
Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest