Sunday, February 25, 2007

Armory: hypersensory labyrinth

The Armory Show was as I would've expected: massive, disorienting and overwhelmingly cramped. I didn't quite know where to begin upon being exposed to endless isles of compartmentalized spaces with narrow paths and came real close to turning around and giving into my claustrophobic weakness. It was a familiar experience I've had in walking into Walmart in York, Pennsylvania: gluttonous consumption overload. But I persevered and eventually found my peace slowly pacing through each space and concentrating on one piece at a time (which is very difficult when in your periphery are constellations of art to distract you).
Some highlights:
Linder Sterling at Stuart Shave/Modern Art, a rock cult figure of the hay days, made cover art for Buzzcocks and is known to be best buddies with Morissey, works with collage and mockingly comments on femininity and equalizes female body to commodities of american culture. Her collage works were also part of Matthew Higgs' curated show 'Deconstruction' at Barbara Gladstone this past summer where I first encountered her cynical raunchy images of discombobulated, 'deconstructed' bodily features, and here every female body is topped with a rose with genitals fully exposed, appropriated symbol of romance and sexiness directly onto fetishized body.
Marina Abramovic at Sean Kelley, I'd like to find out if this is related to the performance of the same title or just a staged photograph. I think she looks magnificent. A cinderella in disguise.

Robert Miller dedicated their space to Yayoi Kusama, best known for her obsession with polka dots (a result from hallucinating about them as a child) and mirror boxes that reflect off each other and reveal a world of stainless steel balls and peepholes for your sensory satisfaction. It's amusing and there were two of them at the booth that people couldn't tear themselves away from sticking cameras through the hole to take pictures, etc. Along the wall were shelves of polka-dotted wormy phallic creatures bunched into nests and compartmentalized, perhaps a reflection of the claustrophobic art fair, the serialization, unity and chaos. Or perhaps its just her continual fascination with fantasy, childish doodle creations, the japanese animated world reflected and vibrating in our very real mundane world.

Her silkscreen on canvas drawings were refreshing, finally something other than dots. A series of them were lined against the outside wall of the booth, and each seemed to have its own narrative, again a childish doodle of an imaginary world, otherwise they were patterns of jagged lines going across the canvas creating a flow from one to the other. A serial continuation of faces and lines with what seems like critter legs created a dreamy out of body experience I enjoyed very much and would have to say it is my favorite booth of the fair.

Gabriela Vanga's "Pavel" at Plan B. I thought it amusing that the gallery name coincided so well with this piece (plan b being a brand for emergency contraception). Only a matter of time before new life is (un)born.

Olaf Breuning at Kodama Osaka, a swiss artist assimilating the cute animated world of japan in miniature pottery sculptures with eyes. I would've loved to take one home.

Lucas Samaras at Pace Wildenstein, his cut paper drawing with hands emerging from each side presenting an object that gets mixed with the array of semi circle lines within the plane. The intricacy of cut paper patterns always intrigues me, as did his Reconstruction #41 made of clashing fabrics collaged and layered, chaotic and personal, gridded but disorderly, and emotionally charged.
Michal Rovner's Mathematics 3 also at Pace, a video projected onto blank book pages covered in a glass box standing on a pedestal. An animation on numbers as rows mini figures jump and merge into each other in a rhythmic dance of addition and separation. Its the book come alive as if under a spell demonstrating its calculating capabilities.

Thomas Hirschorn at Arndt & Partner, politically charged gruesome intoxicating images of deformities and annequins stuffed with disease. Fulfills the savory needs of this society of the spectacle. I couldn't stop whirling around the installation starring at each picture of deranged faces and bodies. That instinctual need to experience and relish in the suffering and on top of it all a collage of phrases that caption all around the piece like subliminal messages dictating our thought process.
Julian Opie at Lisson Gallery, video animation of a gyrating nude, minimal and hypnotizing.
Georg Herold at Friedrich Petzel. It's made of caviar and lacquer. Abstract but looks like a topographic aerial view of some obscure croissant-shaped island surrounded by white sea.
And finally, Tony Matelli's zombie monkey at Leo Konig. I'm sure many sympathized with his state of being after parading around the fair.

Overall, I enjoyed the art all taken out of context and jumbled together in a flea market setting. There was a curatorial string of any sort that tied everything together, just a chaotic conglomeration of salable commodities. But for those gathered for amusement and eye candy it was beyond satisfactory.
More later on ADAA and Scope.


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