Writing about the Armory Show comes with a caveat: people lie. Ask a dealer if they’ve made any sales, and they’ll often say “yes,” whether or not they’ve actually sold anything. Often, though, those tales reveal themselves. Some lies come with errors. This year, for example, a dealer told us collectors only buy at the end of a fair—an obviously false statement—but yes, she’d sold some small works. Other tales reveal themselves years later. Like when a dealer tells you he was “losing his shirt” at a past fair, forgetting that he’d told you that very same year that he’d sold out the booth.
Everyone attending the Armory Show at yesterday’s VIP preview has an opinion on the Armory and fairs in general. “The Armory is back!” declared Monique Meloche of Monique Meloche Gallery. After three years of handwringing over whether the New York-born fair would survive the competition brought to the table by Frieze New York, that question finally seems to be put to rest. The fair is doing just fine.
Bitcoin has sparked an alternative-currency revolution. The Lakota Nation tribe in South Dakota has adopted MazaCoin as the tribe’s official currency. [Al Jazeera America]
The Armory Show is so full of our contemporary art, reports Sarah Douglas for Gallerist, that the ones that get noticed tend to be the older ones. For instance, Sean Kelly Gallery brought a reproduction of Marcel Duchamp’s “L.H.O.O.Q.” to the Armory Show. [Gallerist]
The Basquiat Estate has filed a complaint regarding the authenticity of works presented at a Christie’s auction this week. [Hyperallergic]
Benjamin Sutton rounds up the humorous work at The Armory, most which, can be found in the “Focus” section of the fair. This year, the section casts its sights on China. Our favorite work highlighted is Andrew Ohanesian’s, Dollar Bill Acceptor (2014). Gimme one of these. [Artnet]
“Over the years, the New York Times has introduced the world to many dubious trends,” writes Margaret Hartmann for New York Magazine. Today, the Times claims that monocles are trending all over the world. [Daily Intelligencer]
Proposed arts funding increases appear limited to where policy makers will benefit from it; Washington. [The Los Angeles Times]
It’s fair week, which means you can expect a flurry of posts nominally about art, and largely about who’s selling what. Before anyone gets to that, though, you’ll need to know to where to go to buy your art (or like the rest of us rabble, look at it with awe and wonder). This list will help you get where you’re going.
We rarely hear about “the local” in reference to China’s art scene, but the Armory Show’s new Focus curator wants to change that. This week it was announced that Philip Tinari, the esteemed director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), will curate the 2014 Armory Focus program, focusing on China.
“Greetings from Captain John. There will be no swimming and no diving.” Sailing on the Frieze ferry to Randall’s Island, the driver told us that we were on our way to vacation, but cautioned against letting loose with freewheeling abandon. Once we landed, that ethos seemed to be in effect at the fair itself: dealers and collectors were having fun, and the fair was certainly crowded, but nobody was breaking out champagne in the early afternoon to celebrate skyrocketing sales.
Slowly but surely, galleries are reaching a breaking point with the art fair circuit. Escape isn’t an option for most galleries. Instead of opting out, we’re seeing a rise in specialized fairs, those that provide an alternative to the white-walled booth model. Moving Image is one of those fairs, and it has all the makings of a solid future.