POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Installation view, Malborough Gallery
Installation view: Tom Otterness, Medium Bear on Money Bag, 2009, bronze, 48 x 21 x 20 inches, Malborough Gallery
“Pier 92’s where The Armory puts all the sub-par secondary market galleries,” said a journalist for the Economist to a friend of mine at the fair’s opening last week. She’s wasn’t entirely correct — I saw at least a few strong booths in the fair — but I knew how she’d gotten that impression. Marlborough Gallery is the first booth fair-attendees see, and frankly it’s such a piece of shit it’s amazing anyone walks past it. Between the lifeless 2009 Claudia BRAVO package paintings, factory produced Boteros, and Tom Otterness’ bear standing on a bag of money (beside a dollhouse no less), you’d think there was nothing of value to be seen. I for one didn’t walk through the fair until Sunday as a direct result of that booth and it’s MY JOB.
Overall, this fair would look a lot better if The Armory quit relying on floor layouts that so obviously resemble an airplane, with all its first class passengers up at the front, and everyone else behind. Only short term thinking awards Marlborough a large booth at the front of the fair just because they’re willing to pay the extra fees. The more reputable galleries aren’t going to return if they feel their ability to make sales is being hindered and, given this layout, they certainly have cause for concern.
As a disclaimer, I should mention that while there’s quite a few markets I’m familiar with due to many years of gallery work, I don’t spend a lot of time reporting on the secondary market. A couple of the following highlights may reflect this.
Piotr Galadzhev, Maquettes for posters, mixed media on paper, Adler & Conkright Fine Art
These mock-ups for posters are great! I particularly like how the center of the page is used as a focal point for inexact doubling and movement. There’s a lot of complicated compositional work in these paper pieces.
Leonard Hutton Galleries had some great Albers works on display amongst others, though the gallerist was afraid too many circulating images would devalue the work, so I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. This makes me wonder if the art wasn’t as good as thought, because of course, the only reason to hammer down on digital photography is to keep people from knowing that your wares have gone unsold at multiple locations. Simply having a few desirable images from an art fair floating around the Internet shouldn’t do any damage.
James Rosenquist, Ladies of the Opera Terrace, 1986, oil on canvas, 90 x 252 inches Wetterling Gallery
This is a little corporate friendly for my tastes, but what the hell. I like it anyway. I will note however, that a better Rosenquist appeared at the ADAA earlier this week thanks to Acquavella Gallery.
John Chamberlain, Dorkdorf, 1988, painted and pasted steel, 89 x 34 x 36 inches, Armand Bartos Fine Art
Alright, this is a bit of a lowlight — I’m no John Chamberlain fan, and this one seems saddled with an unusual amount of blobbiness even for him — but the mount for this piece seemed impressive enough to at least take a picture.