Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Observations from the Coffee Shop 3.8

I suppose it is finally time to wrap up my writing on Armory Week and get back to the real world. Maybe it would be better to say my world which doesn't seem all that real sometimes. It's a little sad because I enjoyed the week and enjoyed writing about it so don't be surprised if you see me doing a lot more art writing.

Here are some final thoughts ....

In a week filled with art a few things did leave a lasting impression. Among the best was a set of seven, out of 23 known, brightly colored plaster busts from the series "Heads" by the late David Wojnarowicz. A collector had spent years putting the seven together and the complete set sold for $300,000. For me another real treat to see was a Robert Mapplethorpe dye transfer print the name of which escapes me. Dye transfer itself is a dying photo printing technique due to the fact that Kodak no longer makes the chemicals needed to do it.

Something that made a very negative impression was Ivan Navarro's glowing neon-lit fence titled "The Armory Fence." So many people said so many good things about it but I just didn't like it at all. Maybe it would have worked for me at a Las Vegas Art Fair along with the velvet Elvis paintings but it just didn't work for me here. The fence totaled 82 feet around an open floor and was priced at $40,000 per seven foot section but I have no idea if any of them sold. You might look for it at a trailer park near you.

A question I heard often was whether New York, a city filled with galleries and museums, really needs a major art fair at all. The best answer I found to the question was this; "New York is a city without parallel in this world, and we want to support it, and keep in contact with curators here," said Tim Marlow, director of London gallery White Cube. I'm no expert on these things but I personally think New York without a major Art Fair would be like San Francisco without a major Gay Pride event. It just shouldn’t be allowed to happen if we expect the world to keep spinning in the proper direction.

In the end Armory Week may be the closest I'll ever come to a Penn State football weekend in New York City. Except it only happens once a year, it lasts a week, there probably isn't as much to eat or drink, and the attire of choice is a bit darker in New York.

Metric - Black Sheep

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