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Armory Week 2012

Armory Week 2012

Bearly There: Rob Pruitt at Karma Bookstore

Mr. Pruitt. (Photo by Sarah Douglas)

Last Saturday afternoon, the artist Rob Pruitt, who is known for his glittery paintings of panda bears and his tongue-in-cheek, Golden Globes-style “Art Awards,” was signing books, naked, in the Karma bookstore, in the West Village. He sat at the head of a table arrayed with copies of his 2010 volume Pattern and Degradation, each with a custom cover. One was composed of multiple books of matches. One came with a pair of handcuffs. One was sandwiched between copies of the New York Yellow Pages. As a fig leaf he employed a stuffed animal panda bear. Read More

Armory Week 2012

The Dependent Art Fair Brings Crowds to the Lower East Side With Lamination Manifestos and $30,000 Posteriors

Dependent-Art-Fair-336x450

The Comfort Inn on Ludlow, which hosted the 2012 edition of the Dependent Art Fair this past Saturday, seems anomalous not just for the neighborhood, but also when compared to other Comfort Inns. The elevator seemed to take hours between the call and the door opening, and the building sprawls up where the other motels sprawl wide. There are, occasionally, sensuous paintings of women in the tan hallways and the guy behind the front desk might, sotto voce, offer you a somehow-creepy group discount and then give you like 27 cards to distribute to potential guests, as though it wouldn’t be sufficient to tell them, “Yeah, it’s the Comfort Inn on the Lower East Side.”

The irony of this whole situation, though, seemed just fine for the 21 dealers of Dependent, which takes its name from the now-established Independent Art Fair and its format from the original room-to-room Armory Show at the Gramercy Park Hotel, then called the Gramercy International. These galleries, professional L.E.S.-ers and outer borough-ites comfortable with pop-ups, could exist anywhere, the weirder the better, and their clientele packed the hallways, noon to 8 p.m., drinking beer and speaking in soft voices. The afore-referenced sleaziness didn’t hurt either. Read More

Armory Week 2012

At the Armory Show, Lindemann, Levin and More on Art’s Worth

The Armory Show's Pier 94. (Photo by Andrew Russeth)

Asked to define the state of the art world, and the culture at large, during a panel discussion at the Armory Show on Saturday afternoon, the art advisor Todd Levin looked pained. He took off his glasses and thought for a few moments as he rubbed his eyes.

“I feel very much in a certain way what Mahler must have felt in 1908, embarking on the last movement of the Ninth Symphony,” Mr. Levin said, during his answer. “A feeling of an end of a number of things, not only the end of tonality in the music he was writing, but the end of nature, an end to, sort of, societal manners. They were reaching a breaking point and something was going to happen.” Amid the brisk business reportedly taking place in the fair next door, it was a sobering comment. Read More

Armory Week 2012

The Hierarchy of Art Fair Bathrooms: A Narrative Journey

Image of the bathroom at James Fuentes's room at Dependent. We did not use this bathroom. (Photo by Rozalia Jovanovic).

The deluge of art fairs began at the ADAA Art Show, which we found to be classy and manageable. It is held at the Park Avenue Armory, a masterpiece of late Victorian architecture that takes up an entire city block. At the fair, there is also a full bar, so the bathroom situation was crucial. We should mention here: Our anxiety about public restrooms approaches a George Costanza level of fretfulness. We spent at least as much time thinking about where the nearest john was during Armory Week as we did thinking about art. The bathroom at an art fair is like the art fair in microcosm–a metonym representing the vibe of the event as a whole. Read More

Armory Week 2012

David Platzker’s Specific Object Focuses on a Very Specific Object at Dependent Art Fair: Lynda Benglis’s Double-Sided Dildo

The 1974 Artforum ad featuring Lynda Benglis.

The gallery and rare bookseller Specific Object had taken over a room at the Comfort Inn on Ludlow as part of the Dependent Art Fair, housed in a cramped hotel like the Armory Show used to be back in the ’90s. In one of the best installations we saw during the week the art fairs descended upon the city, Specific Object had filled the room with ephemera from the 1974 Lynda Benglis Artforum ad controversy, which meant that when you got off the elevator, you could see a nude Ms. Benglis from the hallway with her hand wrapped around a double-sided dildo that jutted out of her crotch. It wasn’t exactly the most unexpected thing we’ve ever seen at an inexpensive hotel, but it was up there. Read More

Armory Week 2012

At Cleopatra’s, Seven Bottles of Wine for Martin Soto Climent

A work by Martin Soto Climent. (Courtesy the artist and Cleopatra's)

“You get to decide the brand of the beer, and therefore the color palette of the piece,” the SoHo art dealer Michael Clifton said on Monday night at the Cleopatra’s gallery in Greenpoint. He had just walked in the door and was discussing a sculpture by the artist Martin Soto Climent, whom he represents. “You bring your friends together, and Martin is usually present. You all consume the beer, empty the cans, and he delivers a slight crush to the belly and then assembles them into a sculpture.” Read More