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New York Art Fair Report: Bring on the Big, the Ballerinas and the Meat-Grinders

Armory Arts Week is on through Sunday, and here's a taste of what you can expect to see.

Friday, March 04, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WNYC
In which a guy on a throne grinds meat and others stand around looking gnarly: A performance by Jennifer Catrone and Paul Outlaw at the Artists Wanted booth at Scope. (Carolina A. Miranda)

It's Armory Arts Week in New York, which means we've got art events coming out of our ears. The hope is that the buying public will turn out in force (and with their Wall street bonuses in hand) to help keep the art industrial average afloat. While the mood is certainly calmer than before the financial collapse of 2008, the Armory Show and its countless off-spring nonetheless generated plenty of opening-day crowds on Wednesday and Thursday and attracted the presence of some major collectors.

But what to see? That is the question. I haven't made it to everything so far (the fairs have only been open for a day as I write this), but based on what I've been able to take in, here are a few ideas:

The main fair at Piers 92 & 94—the Armory Show—is always good for spectacle. It's more low-key than in years past and certainly more chilled out than the flamboyant Art Basel fair that takes place in Miami every December, but it it is certainly worth wandering around. And it's truly excellent if you play Armory Show Bingo with your friends. Allot at least half a day for this (the fair is HUGE — featuring 270 galleries) to give yourself time to take in the craziness, be it a giant orange fuzzball or a fence made out of neon. If you need a starting point, hit Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects first, which had a particularly intriguing stall (dark vinyl wall sculpture, wry video). The Pier 92 portion of the fair offers a great opportunity to take in some big-name 20th century Modern.

The Scope Art Fair, across the street from Pier 40 downtown, has in the past been a bit of a snooze. But this year, it has been refreshed by the presence of a number of low-brow, pop-surrealist and other urban sensibility galleries. This doesn't mean that the art is necessarily good, but you're bound to see something truly bizarre during your visit, be it a guy grinding sausage or a naked lady rubbing balloons on her head or a performer half sprawled on the floor singing into a speaker. Plus, its relatively small size makes it manageable in under a couple of hours.

The best experience for art is, by far, the Moving Image Fair, which takes place in the Waterfront New York Tunnel at 11th Avenue and 27th Street. Here, galleries from around the world have gotten together to display nearly three dozen works of video by various artists. There are no stalls, so the space is more about the art than about commerce. (This is a relief: visitors aren't packed into some tight booth trying to negotiate a battalion of gallerinas and a desk.) It's a great spot to hit if you just want to meditate on some video—including pieces by David Wojnarowicz (a short bit about heroin) and Carolee Schneeman (in which a mop pounds a TV with a mop). Expect plenty of fare that will make you say 'Duuuuuude,' including Martin Kohout's Moonwalk and an LED projection/installation by Jim Campbell. Plus, it's free. Overall, a winner.

And below, check out a visual round-up of some of what I've been able to soak up. The fairs run through Sunday afternoon, at various locations around New York.

Since I seem to be on a meat theme: Rob Van Der Ende's sculpture of a steak (made entirely from wood scraps) at the Ambach & Rice booth at Armory.
Carolina A. Miranda
Since I seem to be on a meat theme: Rob Van Der Ende's sculpture of a steak (made entirely from wood scraps) at the Ambach & Rice booth at Armory.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling: Ivan Navarro's electric fence took up the entirety of the Paul Kasmin Gallery's booth at the Armory Show.
Carolina A. Miranda
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling: Ivan Navarro's electric fence took up the entirety of the Paul Kasmin Gallery's booth at the Armory Show.
Moving Image had a great set-up: A large hall off of 27th Street lined with screens showing nothing but video. In the foreground: Corban Walker's 'TV Man.'
Carolina A. Miranda
Moving Image had a great set-up: A large hall off of 27th Street lined with screens showing nothing but video. In the foreground: Corban Walker's 'TV Man.'
The 'Black Swan' effect: Mendes Wood Gallery from Sao Paulo came equipped with a ballerina.
Carolina A. Miranda
The 'Black Swan' effect: Mendes Wood Gallery from Sao Paulo came equipped with a ballerina.
Human Cartoon: A wry video piece by Mary Reid Kelly called 'Camel Toe' can be found at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects at the Armory.
Carolina A. Miranda
Human Cartoon: A wry video piece by Mary Reid Kelly called 'Camel Toe' can be found at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects at the Armory.
Another work from Vielmetter's display: A large wall sculpture of sewn vinyl by Rodney McMillian sucked the viewer in like an industrial black hole. Nicely done.
Carolina A. Miranda
Another work from Vielmetter's display: A large wall sculpture of sewn vinyl by Rodney McMillian sucked the viewer in like an industrial black hole. Nicely done.
Remember: When going to Armory, it is advisable for couples to don shoes with matching patriotic themes. America, love it or leave it.
Carolina A. Miranda
Remember: When going to Armory, it is advisable for couples to don shoes with matching patriotic themes. America, love it or leave it.
At the Pulse Fair: 'Word,' by Matt Greely.
El Celso
At the Pulse Fair: 'Word,' by Matt Greely.
At the entrance to the Fountain Fair: shadows are cast on a mural by Brooklyn artist Chris Stain.
El Celso
At the entrance to the Fountain Fair: shadows are cast on a mural by Brooklyn artist Chris Stain.
And out on the street: Hueless on 21st and the West Side Highway, in Chelsea.
El Celso
And out on the street: Hueless on 21st and the West Side Highway, in Chelsea.
At art fairs, eccentric attire is often deployed in matching pairs.
Carolina A. Miranda
At art fairs, eccentric attire is often deployed in matching pairs.
A figure rendered in packing tape, by Mark Khaisman at the Pulse fair.
El Celso
A figure rendered in packing tape, by Mark Khaisman at the Pulse fair.
For your viewing pleasure: A giant orange fuzzball at Barnonian_Francey at the Armory.
Carolina A. Miranda
For your viewing pleasure: A giant orange fuzzball at Barnonian_Francey at the Armory.
Death is in the Air: Skulls always loom large at art fairs. Here, a smiling rendition with umbrella lords over passersby in Galerie Zink's space at the Armory.
Carolina A. Miranda
Death is in the Air: Skulls always loom large at art fairs. Here, a smiling rendition with umbrella lords over passersby in Galerie Zink's space at the Armory.
El Celso
"I'm going to casually chat with you as I show off my masterfully-crafted skirt to the art-buying public."
Berlinde de Bruyckere's stuffed horse at Galleria Continua at the Armory. It's interesting to watch people react to this piece. They tend to get quiet in its vicinity — as if the horse had just died
Carolina A. Miranda
Berlinde de Bruyckere's stuffed horse at Galleria Continua at the Armory. It's interesting to watch people react to this piece. They tend to get quiet in its vicinity — as if the horse had just died
El Celso.
Art fair fashion at the Fountain Fair.
How I feel after a day of hanging out at art fairs. (Courtesy of Typoe, from Spinello Gallery at Scope.)
Carolina A. Miranda
How I feel after a day of hanging out at art fairs. Courtesy of Typoe, from Spinello Gallery at Scope.
Parting Shot: Being on the second floor of the piers at the Armory allows for unimpeded views of the splendiferous Vitruvius-meets-Vegas architecture of the Hustler Club's VIP room.
Carolina A. Miranda
Parting Shot: Being on the second floor of the piers at the Armory allows for unimpeded views of the splendiferous Vitruvius-meets-Vegas architecture of the Hustler Club's VIP room.

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Comments [2]

Josh Martinol

Bizarre art is truly interesting. I can't believe that piece of meat is made out of wood scraps.

Jan. 14 2012 08:06 AM
NAHID KHAN from JIAPUR

THIS IS BEST.

Mar. 05 2011 05:45 AM

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog C-Monster.net, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net

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