Celebrating 100 years since the original Armory Show brought avant-garde art to American audiences, the 2013 edition of the modern and contemporary art fair opens to the public today. “The fair looks fantastic this year,” Armory Show executive director Noah Horowitz told Flavorwire at the preview. “I think it’s a real improvement over last year, which was already a significant improvement on the previous year. There’s a lot of energy. There’s been huge support from the American collectors, as well as international collectors. The uniform feeling is that the fair looks different and feels stronger and much more sophisticated.”
We got a first look at artworks by some 1000 artists at more than 200 gallery booths on the expansive Piers 92 and 94, and played the roles of consultant and collector, selecting ten pieces — both big and small, expensive and affordable — that we would like to take home.
Gillian Wearing’s wax casting of the mythical “artist’s hand” and Tony Tasset’s life-like snowman, made from such durable materials as glass and steel, are sculptural standouts. Matthew Brandt’s color photograph of a lake that’s then soaked in the water of the lake until it decomposes represents a fresh approach to the medium, while Francesca Woodman’s poetic self-portrait reflects photography’s age-old ability to convey an enigmatic narrative in a direct way. Meanwhile, Rachel Perry Welty and Denis Darzacq use photography to challenge consumer culture by making images from torn-apart shopping bags and capturing shoppers taking flight from the store aisles, respectively.
Tapping two Pop Art masters, we found a screen print by Tom Wesselmann of a faceless nude posing with a Mondrian abstraction and a Roy Lichtenstein silkscreen of a deconstructed female figure that references various aspects of modernism. Likewise, a pair of conceptual artists that use language in their work — Lawrence Weiner, whose wall painting is actually a formula for a sculpture, and Peter Liversidge, whose neon, Etc, repeats the concept of continuing over and over again.
The Armory Show remains on Piers 92 and 94 in New York through March 10, 2013.