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Finding gems in the sea of the Armory Fair

March 6, 2015

Navigating your way through any art fair is a little like a trout swimming upstream. You get overwhelmed and tired but you realize you must push through in order to get to the finish. When I go to these things I have to mentally prepare myself for the crowds and gallery art talk that goes hand-in-hand. Luckily for me, yesterday when I arrived at the Armory show there were not a lot of people so I was able to see some of the best pieces without any of the aggregation.

Jules de Balincourt
US As In You Me And Them, 2009, Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 82x55in
I’ve been watching Balincourt’s rise for some time. I don’t know why but his work always gives me a rough Williamsburg hipster wearing plaid shirts vibe (if that makes sense).

Not Vital
Head No.5, 2013, Stainless Steel with PVD coating, 110 kg, 70.47 x 50.39 x 51.18 in
When I saw this sculpture all I could think is that it would attract finger prints – but with the shape of the curves and structure, I don’t think anyone could not be attracted to this Brancusi-esque piece.

Hank Willis Thomas
Liberty, 2015, fiberglass, chameleon auto paint finish
The sleek design of this wonderful sculpture’s form was modern and yet easily recognizable in its historical significance.

Brad Kahlhamer
I was unaware of Kahlhamer before yesterday, but this piece had a wonderful surreal quality that I could not ignore.

El Anatsui
Adinkra Sasa, 2003, found aluminum and copper wire, 192x216in
El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor who uses everyday objects like liquor bottle caps and crumpled pieces of metal sourced from local alcohol recycling stations to create fabric like sculpture that seem to be reminiscent of intricate patch work quilts that are frozen in place. When viewed up close his massively scaled sculptures are astonishing as a result of the immense detail of their meticulous fabrication.


Abdoulaye Konate
Composition no. 18 (orange avec plumage), 2015, Textile, 72.5×84.625in
In person this tactile piece was really interesting. Each rectangle would ruffle like feathers of a bird when a person would walk by.
Composition no. 18 (orange avec plumage)

Elias Sime
Yechalal 1, 2006, Yarn stitch on canvas, 59.5×33.5×1.75in
Subtle but wonderful. Considering the stitching, I was amazed how this piece was made.


Glenn Kaino
The Last Sight of Icarus and A Shout Within a Storm
Kaino’s work often addresses ideas about the construction of history, memory and received knowledge. For his site-specific sculpture, The Last Sight of Icarus for the Amory show, he constructed hundreds of cinderblocks cast in paraffin wax that bisected the gallery booth. For A Shout Within a Storm Kaino created a suspended mobile, constructed of more than 100 copper-plated steel arrows, that appears to change form as the viewer changes position.

David Baskin
Lapis Lazuli, 2015, Polyurethane resin, pigment, aluminum, wood

Luisa Rabbia

Xia Xiaowan
85 Two People in the Water, 2013, Glass Installation
This piece is created by multiple 2D drawings on glass layered to create a 3D image. This technique creates a deep image that appears to be holographic. It’s hard to tell from the image below but Xia style borders the line between painting and sculpture.

Brandon Ballengee
The Frameworks of Absence, 2006
The walls of the Ronald Feldman booth is covered by Brandon Ballengee’s salon wall hanging of his continued provocative series about extinct species, The Frameworks of Absence. Brandon is known for not only being an artists but also a biologist and environmental activist. His series displays altered prints by John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, John Gould, J.G. Keulemans, Ernst Haeckel, Louis Agassiz Fuertes is hung in chronological order from 1660 to 2014. While you can tell instantly that this series is deep in meaning as well as emotionally for Ballengee, the execution is also flawless.


Berta Fischer
khalys, 2014, and somerline, 2014, Both Plexiglass
Berta Fischer’s Plexiglass sculptures consume the James Fuentes booth this year. The neon-hued and reflective fluid sculptures are instantaneously intriguing because of the light that bounces off of them and onto the sea of people walking past. The bended and twisted movements of forms that are created within the sculptures seem to be more natural to a moving piece of mylar rather than a extraordinary fixed position plastic sculpture.

Farah Atassi
The Collection, 2015, Oil on canvas, 74x59in

David Scher
Mars, 2013, Oil on linen, 51.25×63.75in

Darina Karpov
I have a continued fascination with Darina Karpov’s work. Here abstractions are like being inside of an object that is undetermined organic matter. I love how intricate her designs are but because of the colors and tones she uses they are straightforward and not overwhelming.


Ryan McGinness
Saw this piece in Miami which was a 10th of this one’s size. What I thought was extraordinary was they literally looked exactly the same.

Matthew Brandt
Brandt is best known for his Lakes and Reservoirs photographs that were developed by soaking his prints in water he collected from the lake he took the photo of. In his Water & Polaroid series, he applies a similar process to multi layered duraclear and duratrans prints and then places them in an LED lightbox. While Brandt’s brightly colored photos are already alluring, the lightbox makes the colors even more brilliant.

Simen Johan
From the series Until the Kingsom Comes, Untitled #181, 2015

Katharine Kuharic
The Nipple I Never Knew, 2015, Oil on canvas, 48x72inches
Definitely the oddest title I came across. Beautiful detail in this mirror image piece. (I’m always a sucker for anything with dogs).

Robert Longo
St. Louis Rams (Hands Up), 2015, Charcoal on mounted paper, 65x120in
My obsession with Robert Longo’s work continues. Though with this piece you either have to be a Rams fan or a football fan that doesn’t mind having a really expensive charcoal drawing of a Rams player on your wall.

Irma Blank
Radical Writings, Schrift-Atem-Bild, 8-6-92, 1992, Oil on canvas, 78.75 x 78.75inches

Claude Lalanne
Lustre, 2014, Bronze, Unique, 31.5×59.125×59.125in
Sometimes the best things at the Armory fair are the light pieces above the booth.

Candida Hofer
Catherine Palace Pushkin St. Petersburg III, 2014, C-Print, 70.875 x 82.625in

Gilles Barbier
A very old Thing, 2015, Mixed media, 70.875×70.875×45.25in

Yue Minjun
Blue Sky and White Clouds, 2013, Oil on canvas, 94.5×78.75in

Jacob Hashimoto
Memory of Some Great Dark Planet, 2015, Paper, wood, acrylic and Dacron, 48x75x8in

Scott Campbell
Be Here Now, 2014, Prepared wood panel with carved and burned floral design, 45x93in


Barbara Takenaga
Sphere (red halos), 2015, Acrylic on wood panel, 24x30in and Flatlandia, 2015, Acrylic on wood panel, 24x20in

Otto Piene
Light Ballet, 1969, Chrome, glass and electric light bulbs
If you missed the Zero exhibition at the Guggenheim last year a piece of the show is featured at the Pier 92 Modern Art side of the Armory show. The Light Ballet by Otto Piene is wonderfully ethereal. Light and shadows continuously play a magical dance on the walls of a small specially built cylindrical room dazzling each viewer as they pass by.

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