Armory Show Bingo: The More Things Change…

by Will Brand on March 9, 2012 · 4 comments Art Fair

This is a year old. Or is it?

Good news: your Armory Bingo cards from last year are still valid. Without changing a single square, we had Bingo within half an hour of walking in the door. The basic trend for Armory Show art—stuff cats like, like mirrors and motion and bright lights—is alive and well, and a few of last year’s micro-trends managed some unexpected longevity. Below, we break down how well each trend square did this year, with pictures.

Neon: As if this is ever going to disappear. This year it was right above the bar.

Flowers: Piddled along as an acceptable topic for the ten thousandth year running. Julian Opie’s “Daisies”, at Bob von Orsouw, were perhaps the most prominent (besides the statue with the giant ass by the entrance to Pier 92).

Shiny Steel: Is out in favor of the more delicate look of brushed steel or the rougher look of corrugated steel. Michael Joo, though, kept on keeping on.

Stella: We were pleasantly surprised by the number of small Frank Stellas available at the fair last year; this year, they’ve gone back into hiding. If you’re updating your board at home, replace this one with “Three Small Gerhard Richters We Brought To Pay For The Booth”. Slightly different sets of small Richter photographs were available at at least three galleries we saw, and given the German’s fantastic recent sales and upcoming movie, they’re certain to sell.

Kinetic Art: Last year, this was mostly restricted to the German and Dutch galleries. This year, it was mostly restricted to the Scandinavian galleries. We don’t know why it’s migrating north (climate change?) but it was certainly more interesting this time around: the tilt-table with ball bearings at Anhava Gallery, for instance, got two paws up by cat standards.

Julian Opie: Opie’s portraits, more than any other series, seem to be omnipresent at fairs. I think they’re for people who get confused by Alex Katz. This year, Lisson Gallery packed light, bringing us just this one big Opie on opening day; a handful of other Opies were scattered around the fair.

Cubes: Still in. Always in. Duh. We most liked the series at Ingleby Gallery (who had one of the strongest booths at the fair).

Mels: Bochner remains King of the Mels, but Bjarne Melgaard’s three-gallery solo booth was a power move.

2-in-1: This was originally a square about works that fit in two categories: Ivan Navarro’s “Skin”, pictured on the card and here, fit as both neon and mirrors. Unfortunately, Navarro’s gimmick has been successful enough that he might just claim this square for himself: we didn’t spot him at the Armory, but he’s got a near-identical work in the show up right now at Hotel Particulier, and there’s this copycat Chul Hyun Ahn at SCOPE. Listen, guys: it doesn’t matter who started it. You’re both in trouble.

Animals!: Too easy. This Tony Matelli knocks it out of the park. By cat standards, though, two paws way, way, down.

Lost-Looking Performance Artists: This mopey red dress lady (who we later learned was artist Camila Cañeque) put in at least eight hours wandering around the fair Wednesday.

Trompe-l’Å“il Photography: Actually possibly missing from the Armory, unless you want to count Tony Matelli’s dust-on-mirror paintings at Leo Koenig.

Projection Plus Object: Tony Oursler was back, as always (we wonder where he gets such tiny projectors) but otherwise, we saw much less projection at the fairs this year.

Folded Aluminum: Completely gone: metal is out, paper is in. The closest we came was this pair of Rosy Keysers at Peter Blum.

Primitivism: Gone. Thank you.

Postcards: Gone. Potentially replaced by the posters in the Nordic section.

Misplaced Nipples: Artist Lea Porsager, in the Nordic section, had photographs of a photograph of a nipple with two thousand acupuncture pins in it, in reference to this passage in The 120 Days of Sodom; that might count. George Condo had some nipples at Sprueth Magers, but they were too well-placed.

Swooshes: We just triple-checked to make sure this Jason Martin outside Lisson Gallery’s booth wasn’t the same work we used to make the Bingo card in the first place.

Palms: Gone.

Yellow: It’s bubble season. Yellow’s out, red and gold are in.

Mirrors: Were absolutely everywhere. I guess maybe they make your booth look bigger?

Rugs: Have moved to the New Museum.

Great Seats: Gotta give this one to Melgaard’s booth. The chairs fit the art, looked comfy, and were actually being sat on.

Botero:  This year we missed him, because it was no longer necessary to walk through the Modern section to get between the coat check and Pier 94. We’re going to assume there were a few Boteros back there, since drug lords still exist.

The Armory Show, located on Piers 92 and 94, at 55th Street and the West Side, is open from 12—8 through Saturday, March 10th, and from 12—7 on Sunday.


Sean Capone March 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Botero’s out. Tom Wesselmann is in, in a major way! The dealers must be gearing up for some kind of Wesselmann revival. “Like Julian Opie, but with tits!”

G.Graupe-Pillard March 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Some beautiful Morandis at Pier 92 and if you look hard enough lovely collages by Hannelore Baron and Lenore Tawney. A great Robert De Niro Sr. and some beautiful small but stand out big time Schwitters. 
Agreed Sean – Much too many Wesselmans – I am getting tired seeing vinyll Opies. The Oursler was weak  and not holding up for me either anymore.
Shaiman always has a varied and interesting booth with Nick Cave  and even a Colescott.

Mike R March 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Sean Capone, I like your style. 

stevegiovinco March 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Love the posting review of the Armory Show 2012.  Mirrors, yes, true; loved the Mel Bochner (missed the Stella’s).  Although there were several Cindy Sherman’s around, as might be expected, there seemed to be less photography than usual.

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