Last week was a blur. We ran around to the Armory Show, Independent, Moving Image, Spring/Break, and the ADAA Art Show, all in order to bring you a bevy of slideshows, reports, and a “We Went To.” We’re proud of our coverage, and hope you’ll like reading them, too. Enjoy.
All of my YouTube searches lead back to art or puppies. Last night’s brief break from the fairs lead me to a rediscovery of Sparks, a group formed in Los Angeles by brothers Ron (a straight man often wearing a Hitler mustache on keyboards) and Russell Mael (the sexy lead singer). Even a brief look at their career leaves one with the impression that they’re a performance art group that accidentally got labeled a band. I’ve embedded their 1974 hit “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,” mostly because it’s my favorite song they’ve made, but it’s by no means their best video. For that I recommend the following quirk: “Lighten Up Morrissey,” an instruction set for Morrissey that features a group of dancing women in red wearing black-and-white Morrissey masks, “Dick Around,” a 2006 cat meme ahead of its time (it’s got only 17k views, presumably because it was made before people made careers out of their cats), and “Tryouts for the Human Race” a 1979 classic where we watch the band turn into werewolves. After watching those, the 1980 video “When I’m With You” where Ron turns his brother into a ventriloquist doll should read particularly well.
One final note on the subject of Canadiana: I suspect anyone who grew up in Canada during the eighties and nineties like me will immediately notice the influence Sparks had on Canadian rock star Gowan. Also of interest: Sparks is collaborating with Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin to produce the film The Seduction of Igmar Bergman. That’s a piece I’ll seek out.
Even by itself, the Armory Show is overwhelming. With the Armory Show’s booths extending to the vanishing point in both directions of Pier 94, it can leave an unsettling impression of endlessness, where everything starts to look the same. And amidst the vastness of this week’s equally-momentous art events (a three-part Whitney Biennial, and the Armory’s satellites), this weekend could use a break of something more human in scale.
Earlier in the day we reported that many visitors were unable to identify standout work at the Armory, despite the buoyant atmosphere. In this post we identify why: Very few works actually stood out. Looking back at the hundreds of photographs we took during our visit, we have very little to say about the work we saw. Thus, our slideshow provides an overall impression of a relatively bland fair, with few high points or low points along the way.