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New York

The Sound Side of the Art Fairs
by Natalie Hegert

One of the best parts about checking out NYC art fairs is sampling a bit of the city's nightlife. Granted all the fairs have their VIP previews and swishy cocktail parties, but some feature real live music, from top-notch DJs, to gritty punk acts and art rock glam. Here are the musical highlights of NY Armory Week:

VERGE: Art Brooklyn

Thursday March 3. Start off your art fair week with a party until the wee hours at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo. The curators of Verge: Art Brooklyn have put together an art fair that features a few international galleries from Tokyo, London, Seoul; but for the most part promotes Brooklyn as a “cultural bellwether” in its own right. Showing both gallery exhibitors and open studios of resident artists, plus a juried best-of-Brooklyn show Tomorrow Stars, Verge anticipates the cultural shift from the elite playground of Manhattan to the realness of the B-R-double O-K-lyn. Their opening night party simultaneously celebrates and questions Brooklyn’s authenticity as a hub of pop music, featuring acts representing the whole spectrum, from overwrought art rock acts like Not Blood, Paint to the Brooklyn What?, a back-to-basics hometown crew that does away with the glittery make-up and rockstar costumes for roadie-inspired outfits and rock’n’roll reminiscent of the heyday of the Ramones and the Dictators.

(Image: Ninjasonik. Photo by LA-underground.


Friday March 4. Head over to Manhattan’s floating fringe art fair, Fountain, which makes the combination of art and music seem completely natural, and, well, shouldn’t it be? Unlike last year’s Detroit-based headliner Adult, this year Fountain is featuring an all New-York-native line-up. For Friday’s opening show dance with Bronx-born Gordon Voidwell and electro-queen Tecla.

On Saturday Lomography Picture Party kicks it in style with Upper-Westsider NSR and his signature boat shoes, and fox-tail wearin’ Ninjasonik representing Bushwick. Hip-hop is the common denominator for all these acts, but they fluidly, effortlessly add retro grooves, electro dance pop, and/or punk antics—reflecting a true New-York diversity. Much of the art at Fountain exhibits these same sensibilities—stemming from an urban style and graffiti-inspired background, full of irreverence and ironic post-everything attitude.


Saturday March 5. In the afternoon before heading out to see Ninjasonik and NSR at Fountain, check out SCOPE art fair’s Bboy Battle put on by breakdancing crew Floor Obsession. This invitational is part of Scope’s series of performances entitled US vs US, which also includes performances by sound/video artists, experimental lectures, and a quarantined frat party. While you’re at Scope, don’t miss Lori Zimmer’s Rebaroque Artist Series Sound Wall—not quite like Phil Spector’s, but rather a wall of framed artworks that play music. At the fair the music program is curated (read “deejayed”) by Gogol Bordello, DJ DB's BLURRRing Radio, Kid Zoom, DJs Ole Koretsky and Andy Rourke of The Smiths, jazz musician Brian Newman, and others.


If you’re feeling adventurous and down to explore into the deeper reaches of Brooklyn’s music scene, head out to ionSOUND, the music component of SITE FEST 2011, put on by Arts in Bushwick to coincide with Armory Week. If you missed them at Thursday’s show at VERGE, on Friday night at Brooklyn Fireproof you can catch Not Blood, Paint, the band Free Williamsburg voted “most likely to start a cult.” Continuing on through the weekend, check out Bushwick’s open studios and gallery shows, plus live music at Goodbye Blue Monday on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with hot indie acts like Dear Comrade and Prima Primo. Rock on, ‘til the break-a-dawn!

--Natalie Hegert

(Top image: Not Blood, Paint. Photo by Agatha J.

Posted by Natalie Hegert on 3/2/11

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