Armory Arts Review 2010

New York City’s Armory Arts Week, a highlight on the city’s annual cultural calendar, offered an array of arts-related events to the public last week (Mar. 2-7, 2010), drawing visitors from around the world to the city where art never sleeps. The Armory Show 2010 at Piers 92 and 94 featured 267 galleries from 31 countries. A large number of exhibitors showcased the works of a single artist, a divergence from the practice of displaying several artists at one fair. Patrons enjoyed the opportunity to absorb the work of the individual artist and develop a deeper understanding of the artist’s ideas and processes. Notable solo exhibits: Nicole Klagsbrun and David Zwirner (New York), Museum 52 (London | New York), and The Breeder (Athens, Greece).

Adam McEwen‘s project, I Am Curious Yellow, radiated from Nicole Klagsbrun’s booth due to the artist’s boundless, but contemplative, use of the color yellow. McEwen chose to work with yellow because of the color’s ability to be vile and unpleasant, but also soothing and cheerful. His solo installation at Armory consisted of carefully selected objects placed alongside loaded imagery; jerry cans, a large yellow swastika, and several over-sized obituaries beneath glass, written for world champion runner Caster Semenya, were on display. Everything, even the carpet in the booth, was saturated in lemon yellow, with some white areas, and beaming in the bright lights of the fair.

McEwen has written pre-need obituaries for living celebrities before, employing traditional newspaper format with impressive impact (the artist used to write actual obituaries for London’s Daily Telegraph). Other past projects include his pencil on graph paper text message series. For these pieces, he copied the content and screen appearance of texts from his Nokia phone onto paper and presented the paper replicas of the digital missives in graphite frames.

Also in New York, The New Museum opened an exhibition curated by Jeff Koons on March 3rd, Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, which will remain on view until June 6, 2010. The New Museum, and others, offered discounts to visitors during Armory Arts Week.

Among several concurrent art fairs taking place throughout the city last week, Independent generated a great amount of intrigue. Founded by New York gallerist Elizabeth Dee and Dareen Flook of Hotel in London, and held at X Initiative in Chelsea, Independent presented 40 galleries and was less regimented than the Armory Show.  Independent‘s website declares “Hybrid Forum Comes to New York for Art Fair Week.”

Artists Space (New York), Michael Werner Gallery (Berlin | New York), and mitterrand+sanz (Zurich), were among the participants whose collaboration and presence were requested via personal invitation from the founders. This not only differed from the exhibitor application process at the Armory Show, it suggested a re-evaluation of the art fair mode. Elizabeth Dee also had a booth at Armory for her gallery.