I usually hate crowds, unless I happen to be at the opening of the Armory Show. The ultimate escape from all things casual or more to the point; Casual wear. It was during my first trip to the Venice Biennale years ago when I realized I much prefer looking at art next to a gentleman with a blue man bun and orange suede shoes rather than a tourist in tube socks and a baseball cap. Call me an Art Snob. I confess – I prefer opening previews and VIP lounges, even if the champagne is dreadfully overpriced. And as expected, this year’s Armory Show opening did not disappoint – from the staggering amount of woman artists represented to the amount of women staggering around in ten inch heels. Never a dull moment. As I often say a good art opening should give one “Fascination Anxiety.” This can only happen if the people and the art are equally as expressive – so if a collector’s blazer makes your heart pump as hard as a Yayoi Kusama installation then you know what I am talking about.
However, when all is said and done, I am not a buyer. I am an artist looking for love at first sight with art. Here are my top three memorable impressions from this year’s Armory Show Opening. My hope is that this inspires you to go and experience it all for yourself.
CELIA PAUL|Kate On White
It was a shameful day when I realized that I just “discovered” Celia Paul – A colossal living woman artist. For those that already know and love her, Victoria Miro Gallery is featuring a beautiful collection of Paul’s haunting portraits and landscapes. Born in 1959 in South India, Paul is a British citizen who studied at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London (where she met Lucian Freud.) It turns out they were long time lovers and share a son. Paul’s memoir is set to come out later this year and I suspect it will be a sublime tell all. Seeing Paul’s work is a confirmation that painting is not dead, yet it seems she is still hidden somewhere in Freuds legacy.
Rekha Rodwittiya | The Ornate Chair Still Beckons
This work by Rekha Rodwittiya stopped me in my tracks and revealed how little I know about contemporary art from India. Born in Bangalore in 1958 and living in Boroda, India, Rodwittiya received her M.A. in Painting from Royal College of Art, London in 1984. Yet another mighty female painter whose work I am seeing for the first time. Upon talking to Robin E. Roche of DAG gallery, I discovered not only Rodwittiya’s paintings but an entire collection of extraordinary conceptual works by India’s Rockefeller Artists who were invited to take part in the contemporary art scene of the 60’s and 70’s in New York thanks to the John D. Rockefeller III Fund. This is a truly unique opportunity to learn about India’s modern artists. You can also visit DAG Gallery at their permanent location in the fuller building in New York.
Federico García Lorca| “Escenario De Domador y Animal Fabuloso” 1929
I walked over to this drawing on inertia. From afar I thought it may be one of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s watercolors. I examined several other works by the same artist before discovering their titles – awkwardly hand written and taped to the wall. Luckily my mother introduced me to Federico Garcia Lorca at a young age so I was spared the embarrassment of discovering him at the Armory Show as a long deceased visual artist. As we know the most agonized of all artists is the poet, and for Lorca it seems poetry comes in all forms thanks to Curro Gallery.
In parting I will use this opportunity to dedicate Lorca’s poem ‘Dawn’ translated into English from Spanish to my fellow New York artists, may we see poetry even when we are struggling and uninspired, in a crowded museum, on one of those free days, standing in line next to a man in tube socks and a baseball cap.
Dawn in New York has
four columns of mire
and a hurricane of black pigeons
splashing in putrid waters.
Those who go out early know in their bones
there will be no paradise or loves that bloom and die:
they know they will be mired in numbers and laws, in mindless games, in fruitless labors
– Federico García Lorca
Thank You to the Armory Show for inspiring us in those hard last days of winter year in and year out.
Piers 90, 92, and 94
New York City
Thursday, March 7, 12pm — 8pm
Friday, March 8, 12pm — 8pm
Saturday, March 9, 12pm — 7pm
Sunday, March 10, 12pm — 6pm