Fare at the NY art fairs – the Armory

We know we missed some of the Armory — for starters, we never made it to Pier 92, the Modern section. And while it seems like we saw tons of art we fear we missed some at Pier 94 where the Armory Contemporary was. Carrumba.

Julia Fullerton-Batten, Hallway, 2008, c-type, 40 x 54 at Jenkins Johnson Gallery

As we raced through, we had fewer conversations with gallerists but we met some people we were happy to see, like former ICA curator Elyse Gonzalez and her husband Emilio, in from Santa Barbara where Gonzalez is curator of exhibitions for the UCSB Museum. The duo were there to shop! Emilio had bought a print and Elyse was looking to do studio visits for her upcoming show about ruins, a Warhol Foundation-funded show. Later on we saw Dina and Jerry Wind — who we also bumped into in Miami — and Dina said they were off to the opening of William Kentridge’s “The Nose” opera at the Met. We were jealous. (Kentridge was the featured speaker in 2007 at the innaugural event of the Wind lectures on art and social change at the PMA). For maybe the third year in a row, we saw Dustin Metz; and John Murphy was walking in as we were walking out.


Looking at art we managed to be captivated by any number of things.  At the top of the post is work from London by artist Julia Fullerton-Batten. It has an Alice in Wonderland magic to it, with its airborne protagonist tilting at the pristine walls. The woman sitting at Jenkins Johnson Gallery booth told us the artist had rented the space–a beautiful house in London–to shoot this photo, and rented another beautiful London house to shoot the photo right next to it.

John Bankstonbunny
John Bankston at Rena Bransten Gallery

At Rena Bransten Gallery, John Bankston’s likable cuddle-sized sculpture of a sad man sporting a bunny on his shoulder cut the usual Bankston sting with a barely ironic bit of zip a dee doo dah.

Dewar & Gicquel, Fishing Reel, 2004, okoume and ash tree, 8.3 x 10.2 x 7.3 in. at Galerie Loevenbruck

The meeting of the everyday and the uncanny or magical seem to be a big theme this year and it feels like a good direction–a little less bombast and a lot more endearing, like the Fishing Reel above, and a pencil sharpener, both by Dewar & Gicquel, at Galerie Loevenbruck. Not as deadpan literal as other small carved wood we’ve been seeing, this work manages to capture what’s real and not real all at once.

Ben Peterson's large drawing at Ratio 3

We’ve always considered Ben Peterson‘s work magical and uncanny.  By conflating contemporary architecture with thoughts about climate, work, aspirations and social interactions (there are never any people in Peterson’s works but they are everywhere implied) he plots a course that has dream logic in it and narrative without closure.  We love this large new piece we saw at Ratio 3.

Vidya Gastaldon at art: concept, Paris, detail

New to us, the works of Swiss-based French artist Vidya Gastaldon at art: concept, Paris are a real find.  Gastaldon’s strange mixture of religion and fairy tales reminds us of Chris Davison‘s darkling illogical world with beauty, threat and lots of things happening in deepest, darkest night.

Peter McDonald, Smoking Zen, 2010. acrylic, gouache on canvas. at Gallery Side 2

Finally, the irreverent wit — and flat world style — of Peter McDonald at Gallery Side 2 reminded us of Jayson Scott Musson’s set of Obama paintings on view last year at the Last Drop coffeeshop.  McDonald, the gallerist told us, lives in London and just won the Moore Prize.  How did McDonald get a Tokyo gallery?  Well, the artist was born in Japan and his mother is Japanese and he goes to Japan frequently to visit.


So that’s about it.  We went, we got exhausted, and we’ll go again next time.

Libby’s flickr Armory set

Roberta’s flickr Armory set