Big, bigger, biggest at Armory

seydou keita
Even Seydou Keita has pumped up the scale, at Sean Kelley. In this case, though, it looked great (sorry about the light reflections), the work retaining its gravitas amid all the glitzy art at the Armory. I seemed to be happier living in the art of the past in this show.

I used to love Google…until yesterday, when I lost my gmail for five days and I therefore lost my usual path of access to the blog, which is also dependent on a gmail/google id.

It started with Zoe receiving an email she got from my address that I didn’t send her. This is the second time in the past couple of weeks that I discovered someone has gotten mail I didn’t send. So I panicked and changed my password. From there it devolved to no access when I somehow can’t make work the password I’m sure I typed. I even tried several variations on it, and they don’t work either.


So that’s why I’m posting under a whole new identity, Libby2. But it’s really the old original Libby.

So enough of that. You want to know about the art fairs. So here’s my first stab.

The stab would be aimed at the heart of the Armory Show. I don’t know if I didn’t enjoy it so much because it was our fourth art fair in two days, or because it was a low-returns effort. We walked miles and saw very few things of interest.

That’s Leon (left) and Brian Dewan, aka Dewanatron, with The Singing Cipher.

My favorite piece marched to its own drummer–a rare audio art piece with outsider chops. It was by a cousin duo calling themselves Dewanatron, at Pierogi2000. Leon and Brian Dewan are cousins. And they make electronic music instruments. Leon, on the left, makes printed circuits and Brian is the woodworker. The music is a collaboration, influenced by organ music, early Moog Synthesizer stuff and whatnot. It’s interactive and it’s great!!!

Yayoi Kusama is mass producing these sexy little boxes.

On the whole, however, my main impression was very big–too big–art works, a product of the super-high fees armory charges, resulting in the galleries’ need to make big bucks to recoup, and therefore their need for big dollar pieces. I mean, why have a giant wall at Robert Miller Gallery of mass-produced Yayoi Kusama sculptural boxes if not to sell them by the gross? In other words, there was a lot of market generated commercial work. She even has her infinity-mirror-boxes mass produced, it seems. As unique pieces I like them all, but as multiples, they are chilly.

Julian Hoeber
A detail from Julian Hoeber’s long comic strip.

And commercial it was. It was selling off the shelves. Not that it had to be big or mass produced. Julian Hoeber at Blum + Poe (Ditta Barron Hoeber’s son, who’s an LA artworld hot young thing) filled the whole Blum & Poe space with a kind of hand-drawn comic-strip scroll, its format inspired by film as well as comics, and a bunch of studies related to the comic strip. The gallery sold every piece. (Oops, I see Roberta said this, too. Sorry, but not sorry enough to remove it.)

Richard Artschwager
Richard Artschwager’s Chest of Hope/Box of Wood

Most of what I liked was not of recent vintage. I was crazy about Richard Artschwager’s Chest of Hope/Box of Wood, with it’s shamelessly faux wood finish in shades of gray, at David Nolan Gallery.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ mirrored garbage truck still seemed to be saying important things. Presented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

And Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ big installation of her not-so-recent vintage mirrored trash truck and photos of her performances as the N.Y. Sanitation Department’s artist in residence looked great and hit a surprisingly timely note. All us producers of too much trash could see our selves in the shiny surface of the truck.

Besides we saw so much art with mirrors at the fairs that this looked vintage 2007. I’m beginning to think mirrors are all over not just because of vanity, but because mirrors reflect U-Tube and 2nd world and all the other cybery inventions that take you only so far–limited by the human mind. Ukeles gives new meaning to the computer programing motto of garbage in garbage out.

The other art fairs were chock full of things of interest–nothing dramatically new, but some trends worth noting, and juicy things to love. I’ll put that in another post.