John Del Signore
I don't think I could have put it any better. The long awaited Armory Show 2009 took place last week without a hitch. 243 exhibitors from around the world put up their "best" work/artists like peacocks showing off their plumage on a matting call. This year's show was clouded with the topic in every one's head, the bad economy, and to no surprise it seemed like there were less buyers shopping for the latest "it" piece of art. At least I didn't hear anyone ask for prices as I have in past years.
After seeing so much meaningless stuff here and there finally I arrive at Deitch's booth, a space displaying Ryan McGuinness and Elizabeth Neil.
During the summer Deich mounted a solo show of Neil's work, large canvases full of gestural energy, such as Sideshow, that captured my attention and to this day I keep thinking about them. Finding this painting at the Armory was a great treat.
Susanne's Vielmetter abstract landscape was perhaps one of the very few beautiful pieces in the show. What can I say? This painting had it all; color, light, mood, intensity, and above all, respect and sensitivity to the act of painting.
Mitch Epstein, Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia, (from American Power), 2004, C-print, 70 x 92 inchesWelcome to America the Great, or at least that's how Mitch Epstein want you to think with a little sarcasm. Photography has a history of reporting and exposing the truth, a perfect medium for Epstein's point of view.
Tommy Hilding became one of my favorite painters at the Armory. Gallerie Magnus was very proud to showcase about four pieces from the artist, and I don't blame them. His use of color and touch is very unique and the scenes he paints are approached with a sense of loss and nostalgia.
Certainly, it was great to find this large abstract painting at Harris Lieberman's space. Most of the Armory was full with the usual neon installations, weird sculptures, and paintings that can no longer be classified as "painting." And here it was, hanging on a wall, mostly by itself, Driesen's piece was a nice reminder that good ol' fashion painting is still being produced.
If you've had enough, you may sit for a while at one of the hang out areas of the Armory Show.
Joseph Kosuth, #36 On Color (Yellow), 1991, 5 x 111 inches, neon, Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan, Naples.And here we are kids, the fun light hearted one punch lines we now call "art." Neon, neon and more neon...makes me wonder when is it going to end? Haven't we had enough of these cutesy "I'm a revel bad ass" crap?
Sylvie Fleury, High Heels on the Moon, 2005, neon and 3 transformers, 130 x 220 cm, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver