It is like walking through hundreds of white office cubicles but all the galleries at the Armory Show are trying to catch the viewers’ attention. The art market is lucrative and its commerce is at the forefront of this show. The fair shows us the solid investments, young artists and the latest trends. A viewer has to be both patient and curious to take in the Armory show and the nearly 300 galleries represented. The fair is divided into two parts: the “Modern” which focus on Modernism, and the “Contemporary”, which shows present art scene.
Yayoi Kusama’s giant polka dot flower is one of the first things the visitor will see upon entering the art fair. The flower demands attention with its high contrasting colors and intense patterns. Kusama became famous during the sixties when she lived in New York, making sculptures, happenings and paintings. Her works are represented by many dealers in the art fair and because of her long career her pieces are both in the “Contemporary” and “Modern” section.
Ivan Navarro´s “The Armory Fence” was specially made for the fair. Paul Kasmin Gallery´s (New York) entire cubicle space is marked out with a simple but spectacular fence made of neon lights. It breaks up the conformity of the fair and at the same time it is imaginative; where could this fence exist outside the art fair? The fence offers a topic for conversation, which is good marketing for Kasmin Galley, but it also gives the visitor a necessary visual break. The fence lets the viewer focus on one object and the space the fence is creating. Navarro’s piece contrasts with the booths filled with a mix of paintings and photographs that is a standard exposure at the Armory Show.
At “Gallery Side 2” (Japan) a big painting of three whales rendered in naïve style made by Takeo Hanasawa is almost disturbing by being so easy on the eye. The whole space is filled with her work which is refreshing; almost all galleries are showing works from many different artists. We can see a body of work, which is not challenging but sensitive.
The Armory offers so different kinds of art in the same kind of display, making it difficult to see and distinguish the individual works. The pieces that relate or oppose the white box showcase, relating to the context of an art fair remain the strongest.