Art You’ll Either Love or Hate at the Armory

by Art Fag City on February 23, 2007 Events

“This is the forest where Walt Disney witnessed a rape” the director of Johann König tells me, winning the prize for most awkward introduction to an art work at the fair. Jordan Wolfson’s video was the work described, and while it merits attention I mention it primarily as a heads up, as it features prominently in one of the first booths you’re likely enter at the fair.

Given the fact that I’ve already posted three times today, and I have yet to make my rounds to other fairs, this post will follow the “jpeg and quip” format. In light of my earlier post on this year’s Armory fair I trust this will suffice.

Best In Show

Paul Pfeiffer, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (15), 2004, The Project
Editors note: This particular photograph was not featured in the show though it was found on the galleries website so it is presumably available. The photograph I took was unfortunately unusable.

I feel guilty for awarding established artists best in show awards since they already have the support and don’t need mine, but Paul Pfieffer’s work stands out in this fair. It helps that it can be found in at least three booths at the Armory, (The Project and Thomas Dane Gallery most notably,) but the work deserves the merit because it exhibits all the characteristics of great art. It’s intelligent, it’s well made, it’s moving. What I like about Pfieffers 2005 series Four Horseman of the Apocalypse is that unlike countless artists who are photoshopping objects in and out of photographs, the purpose behind these actions is much more deliberate and thought out. It’s not just that he removes various figures and objects in the dunk competition to underscore the religious aspects of the sport, but that these images often make direct reference to 16th century paintings working with the same subject matter. The feelings the photographs and paintings evoke are uncannily similar.

Best New(ish) Artist

Andrew Guenther, We Don’t Believe in Gravity, 2006
Courtesy of Greenberg Van Doren Gallery

Looks like painter Andrew Guenther no longer shows at Perry Rubenstein Gallery – a loss they must be feeling given his newest work. Now at Greenberg Van Doren, Guenther seems to be making quite a splash, as his painting lists amongst roughly 24 images the armory has chosen to distribute to the press.

This work reminds me that only this fall I mentioned there being some difficulty in pulling off drip paintings as they are fairly out of vogue these days, and while thinned dissolving paint may not seem overly “drippy” it’s very easy for paintings such as these to look contrived. His don’t. Guenther creates unexpected compositions and figures, and unlike some of his earlier work which at times felt too boy-hipster for my tastes, We Don’t Believe in Gravity never feels overly zeitgeist.

Disclaimer: I went to grad school with Andrew Guenther, so you can feel free to disregard these remarks if you think this makes me impartial.

Most Desperate Plea for Attention.

Vanessa Beecroft at Galleria Lia Rumma Naples
Photo AFC

Vanessa Beecroft at Galleria Lia Rumma wins the award for trying the hardest to get attention with “controversial” images. I’ll admit that I often find Beecroft’s photographs visually appealing, but I have never been convinced that she has a real grasp on the subject matter she tries to tackle. No matter. Formalism trumps all thought in an art fair.

Best Use of Pringles in an Art Piece

Michel Fancois, Arbre a Chips, 2006 at Thomas Dane Gallery

Gold pringles. Need I say more?

Most Visible Emerging Trend

Left: Tony Craigg, Not Yet Titled, Wood, 95 x 105,120 inches, at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Right: Wim Botha, Generic Self Portrait as Inflammatory Word, 2007, Carved Paper at Michael Stevenson Gallery
Photos AFC

Laser cutter art. Not a new device, but it would appear sculptors have “discovered” it.

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