The Highlights and Many Neon Lights of the Armory Show 2012


New York City dwelling art fans, take heed: The Armory Show 2012 is only open through the weekend, and there are hundreds of booths from galleries from all over the world stuffed inside Piers 92 and 94, all for your viewing pleasure. That’s a lot — a lot — of art to explore. Come along as we attempt to exert a cohesive theme on this labyrinth of work and share what grabbed our attention, from reading catfish to surreal telephones to London clouds trapped in slates of glass. But first, let’s talk about the neon.

Words in glowing pipe glimmered from booths like promising cafe marquees, enough of them for the fair’s wandering critics to notice and murmur about the accidental trend. There’s a lot of neon words at the Armory. In succession, they begin sticking together from booth to booth like one continuous jagged haiku. Here’s some that made us go hmmm while they hummed.

James Barron Art. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

Joseth Kosuth, Mireille Mosler, LTD. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

The Noble & Sue Webster, fuckingbeautiful, Blain Southern. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

Ian Hamilton Finlay, Blue Water’s Bark. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

The stand-out Armory Focus: The Nordic Countries region featured galleries from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland — and this young woman on a fur rug in front of a mini-teepee. She wasn’t the only performance element to the show. A pair of dancers wrestled and broke through a white fabric cocoon for Amorphous Assemblage, creating living sculptures that “emerge through a continuous transformation into various geometrical and amorphous shapes.”

Nordic Fruit and Flower Deli. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

That is not Marina Abramović, albeit the performer is dressed by her instructions. The Sao Paulo’s Luciana Brito gallery’s re-performer maintained her dream-state as fair visitors swarmed past, around and over.

Marina Abramović, Bed for Human Use, 2012

Overgarden NY at Booth No. 827 features a full schedule of performances for every day of the fair. You could probably hang out there all day watching catfish read. The schedule varies, but we recommend catching Shoplifter’s Lonely at 4pm every day through Sunday. She’s fun.

Overgraden NY booth. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

There are some artworks that take too many enthusiastic gesticulations to explain in words, like the work of Robert Lazzarini who creates sculptures reminiscent of the hidden skull in this 1533 Holbein. Depending on the angle, the sculpture looks stretched to needle-point or almost realistic. These are pretty fantastic and it makes sense that the Marlborough Chelsea director Max Levai is only 24 years old.

Robert Lazzarini at the Malborough Gallery. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

At Sean Kelly, layered prints on glass trap holographic-looking images of London clouds. Worth a look or six.

Idris Khan at Sean Kelly. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

See? Yep.

Idris Khan at Sean Kelly. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

And here’s a wire-draped, noise-emitting shrine garlanded with framed X-rated photos in a Spider-Man motif. It gets a little naughtier the closer you get.

Robert Melee, Spider Mattress Unit, Andrew Kreps Gallery. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

Tony Oursler is a playful, surrealist cad. There’s only one thing better than his big blinking balls at the Galerie Forsblom, and that was his exhibition at the Adobe Museum of Digital Media, where one could swoosh around an all Oursler, digital environment via the Internet. Ahh, memories.

Tony Oursler at Galerie Forsblom. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

And the award for Artist Most Likely to Get Sued by Jeff Koons Because, Clearly, Jeff Koons Invented Balloon Dogs, clearly goes to…

Awards, Gimhongsok, Canine Construction, Kukje Gallery. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

Ooh, clever. Flash Art magazine’s Eric Doeringer holds up William Powhida’s epic drawing featuring all of the New York art scene’s major writers, critics, and bloggers. Hrag Vartanian had just signed “himself” in the lower right corner and it continued.

Flash Art at the Armory 2012. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

Presenting: The very, very recognizable Terrence Koh.

Terence Koh at the Armory. Photo credit: Marina Galperina

And a final thought. There is no elegant way to stalk John Waters.

John Waters at the Armory. Photo credit: Marina Galperina