How much exhibition-hall carpet can contemporary art take before it starts to look like furniture? Not very much, which is why the Armory Show is no picnic – its flooring is a pretty good physical approximation of the word “eh”. Bare floor space and fewer walls define the Independent, which basically means there’s a lot more art on the ground. Look forward to extra space, a large amount of sculpture, and dealers without suits and fancy dresses. Also, expect poor labeling, both for individual artworks and whole galleries. It seems unlikely this is a fair-wide dealer strategy to force viewers to ask questions — not everyone agrees that that practice leads to more sales, and since it’s often hard to know who the dealers are and what art they’re handling, poor organization is the most likely culprit; get it together, people. Also, of course, there’s the problem of homogeneity, but that’s no surprise for a fair or contemporary art making in general.
As per usual, a few fair highlights below. No best in show ,though. There are too many unknown works attached to unknown galleries for that.
The essence of slacker art, in a good way. I probably wouldn’t respond so well to this work if it weren’t in a ginormous vitrine, but the absurdity of placing such a bad alien head under thick plastic appeals to me.
No idea who this artist is or which gallery was connected to the work, but I like it. The texture combination is great, and I like that it’s humble enough to be displayed on the floor. Thumbs up.
I first saw this film at the ICA in London two years ago and I’m only half sold on its merits. It’s a film made up of shots from the natural world that look like faces, as well as footage of a police station. Surveillance is a dominant theme. Some of Nashashibi’s findings are surprisingly inventive but the main reason this piece works is the durational experience. Imagine looking at this work in the form of a photograph; it would come off as infinitely gimmicky and light. Also of interest: my notes two years ago on Nashashibi as one of 33 outstanding artists emerging since 1999.
A familiar-looking exhibition, mostly because Sutton Lane represents a lot of Lower East Side artists. Notably, a lot of the international galleries in this fair represent New York-based artists with galleries here as well. For this reason, the Independent does not seem so global in scope as it might at first appear.
Last year’s Whitney Biennial has created an art fair monster, and her name is Maureen Gallace. These homes are nicely painted and all, but there are an awful lot of them and they all look the same. They are also everywhere.
You are getting very sleepy.