Death, Breasts, and Drinking at The Armory Show

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Today is the last day to catch The Armory Show, an annual art extravaganza now in its 13th installment at Piers 92 and 94, featuring nearly 300 galleries from around the world. I spent two days and eight hours walking through the overwhelmingly bright fair — LED sculpture is big this year — scouring the dizzying aisles to find common themes that define this year in art. What I came up with among the hundreds of pieces housed in these two sprawling piers was my own low-brow summation of a collective thread: death, breasts, and drinking. These three subjects have served as inspiration for artwork throughout the centuries, and for another year in a row, prove to be favorites among contemporary and modern artists. After the jump, check out the show’s best works about booze, boobs, and burial.

1. Death The skull has been one of the most oft-utilized icons in art history, and true to its legacy, it popped up at the Armory in many different incarnations.

Gregory Forstner, The Date 2, 2010. Oil on canvas, Courtesy of Galerie Zink Berlin

Mona Hatoum, Natura Morta

Ian Tweedy, Arrangements of Forgotten Stories #84, 2011. Oil on old book cover, Courtesy of MONITOR, Roma

2. Breasts While the female figure has also been prevalent throughout art history, breasts made a particularly substantial showing at this year’s fair.

Marina Abramović, Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, 1975 at Lisson Gallery

Marjorie Strider, Green Triptych, 1963. Acrylic paint, laminated pine on Masonite panels, Courtesy of Hollis Taggart Galleries

Mel Ramos, Five Flavor Frieda

3. Drinking

Some artists are as famous for their relationship with alcohol as they are for their art. Therefore, it’s no surprise that booze imagery shows up so frequently and in so many mediums. Some of the most clever examples of this at the Armory were by Brooklyn-based David Kramer, whose suite of witty drawings can be found on the front wall of Galerie Laurent Godin.

David Kramer, Nothing Lasts Forever, 2011. Ink on Paper, Courtesy Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris

David Kramer, Making The Rounds, 2011. Ink and pencil on Paper, Courtesy Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris

Li Lihong, Absolut China at Hollis Taggart Galleries

Lori Nix, Bar, 2009. Courtesy of Catherine Edelman

Nicole Eisenman, Half King, 2011. Oil and ink on paper, Courtesy of Leo Koenig Inc.

David Austen, Love, Cigarettes & Beer, 2008. Photo-polymer etching at Ingleby Gallery