I went to the Armory Show last week. It was exceptionally meh. I don’t go to a big art fair looking for smart art or subtlety (who does?), and, as expected, I didn’t get either…but I also didn’t get the vulgarity, spectacle, or gee-whiz factor that I assumed would be on offer. I saw lots of mirrors, mirror-in-the-abyss gags, angular metal sculptures, scruffy slapdash painting…and then I went home.
It was a short trip, and I went to no other fairs, which was a huge mistake—really wanted to see Ed Winkleman’s video fair in particular--but I was in the city for one day, and I put all of my eggs in one eight-hour basket, and that’s that.
While I was there, I ran into fine AAC residents Matt Smith and Lee Gainer. You can read Lee’s impressions of the Armory show in her blog, PEEK…which I am suddenly realizing is not featured in my almost-never-maintained blogroll. Instead, I have lots of defunct links and blogs that haven’t been updated since last October over there. It’s a vibrant community of shipwrecks and neglect in that sidebar o’mine.
What else? Mel Chin randomly showed up at AAC last Tuesday. I introduced him to departing AAC visiting artist Mia Feuer—check out her show at Conner Contemporary opening on March 19; it’s going to be huge (literally)—talked about what’s going on with Operation Paydirt (it continues to move forward!) and took him to dinner with a small group including my wife and son. Mel is not only an incredible artist, he’s a down-to-earth, funny, completely engaged and engaging character.
Artists: Apply for things. Apply for these two things in particular:
1)PLANNING PROCESS. Do you make preparatory drawings for your projects? Do you kinda like those drawings? You do? Well, would you like to show your drawings and your finished project to Helen Allen, former Executive Director of PULSE and current co-organizer of DC’s upcoming (e)merge art fair?
That’s a rhetorical question. Download the entry form here. Deadline: May 2.
2)Do you want an AAC SOLO show? Also a rhetorical question! I should just go declarative already.
The form isn’t up on the website yet, but the jurors are set: Karen Milbourne, curator at Smithsonian African Art Museum; Klaus Ottman, newly appointed Curator-at-Large for the Phillips collection; and J.J. McCracken, undeniably awesome artist, performer, and independent curator.
The deadline will be July 1, so start thinking about it. Next installment of SOLOS goes up April 15—details here.
Finally, as you may have noticed, I have been hungry to look at and write about art again of late, and my editors have been happy to give me reasons to do so: I had that piece on Philip Guston: Roma a few weeks back; I have another WCP piece coming out this week on Gauguin at the NGA…I wrote about Picasso at the VMFA for the WaPo a couple of weekends ago and will turn in my second freelance assignment for them next week.
(I mentioned AAC resident artist Matt Smith above; read Matt's own quick take on Philip Guston at the Phillips--and see a lot of images from the show--here, at New American Paintings.)
I’m also writing a catalog essay for Helen Frederick’s show at Hollins University in Roanoke…which I guess means I’m driving to Roanoke this month, doesn’t it? Yes, Jeffry, it does.