Consider this the GIZMODO edition of Armory week, or as New York Knickerbockers now call it, Lin-Armory! Since the fair circuit is gradually moving into a virtual world where Big Brother can track your every taste and passion with ever more incremental precision, this Optimus primer gets you ready for the Matrix that is to come.
For each of the corresponding eleven fairs, we will recommend an accompanying, indispensable tech gadget to take along with you – to augment reality and render the experience that much more enjoyable, constructed, and mediated. (By the way VIP Fair, that "chat" function did not work very well! Tsk! Tsk!)
We got what you want… You get what you need.
Dean Monogenis, The Sea’s Between Us, 2011. Presented by Walter Maciel Gallery at Volta NY
Perhaps nipped at the heel by Frieze’s forthcoming occupation of Randall’s Island in May, the big boy on the block lost some weight this year, whereby the number of galleries has been sliced in half. Founding director Paul Morris has unfortunately re-categorized this year's Armory as a “boutique fair.” What will it become in 2013 –Beacon’s Closet for the Arts? Good news is, the bully's punch still seems to be packed, and the beefy program unleashes a number of shiny elements: architectural re-design of the floorplan by Bade Stageberg Cox; a focused section on Nordic Art; commissioned artwork by uber-trendy Chi-towner Theaster Gates, the galvanized Contemporary and Modern piers; and “Armory Film” curated by the Moving Image Fair.
In collaboration with Paddle 8, a substantial amount of the work to be exhibited is already online for viewing! Just register for an account and away you go (even before you actually go)! Consider this the ultra-deluxe VIP preview, with virtual MoMA party to follow.
Tech-Gear-Must: iPad 3 with 4G. It’s not out yet, or rather it’s slated to be any day now according to the Mac geek rumor mill, but have your intern or assistant run over to Cupertino and snag a beta immediately, to make sure you have yours in time for live 3-D Facebook blogging at the real MoMA party. By the way, can’t they save some money one year, invite everyone for $10, and just have a vertical block party in Trump Tower?
We’ve always admired Volta’s solo artist focus, and this year should be a solid non-exception! The fair also produces distinctive, collectible catalogs over which exhibitors and artists exert complete content control. For the year of the dragon, the individual exhibitors' pages will be loosened from the binding and available at each respective booth. Hunt and gather.
Welcome to Company will also host their art television program finale at Volta. Art/Trek NYC, which debuted on NYC Life, is a five-borough quest discovering emerging visual artists in New York City, whose winner is receiving his or her debut solo gallery show at the fair.
Tech-Gear-Must: How about an autonomous Honda robot? Why bother taking your own notes and accosting gallerists? This little helper can do all the dirty little work to your heart’s discontent. Volta… Meet Voltron. Well, sort of.
Independent, “the temporary exhibition forum devised by and for gallerists,” as professed on its website, readies for business once again in the old Dia Center for the Arts Building on 22nd Street. Translation: fair to make money in a ho-hum building sort of like the others, with less-looking effort, right across the street from fair organizers' galleries. The line-up is certainly not one to complain about though. Shout out goes to under-appreciated Bureau and Broadway 1602!
Tech-Gear-Must: Roomba. There isn’t always a clear-cut demarcation as to where one space ends and another begins, and art may be informally scattered about, sort of like a hipster’s perfectly controlled mussed-up greasy hair. A sentry Roomba can go ahead of you, carefully itemizing what not to walk into, and in the event that it breaks something… well, nobody has to know it’s yours. Blame it on Ryan Trecartin.
Kicking off Tuesday night, it’s still the granddaddy of them all – at least to Upper East Siders. Now 24 years and running, always dependable and thoughtful, the Art Show will feature a handful of masterworks and wagon loads of lesser/middle-of-the-road goodies in the Park Avenue armory. Certainly one will come across a gem Picasso or two, and the fair will hope to highlight its curatorial prowess with stalwarts like Metro Pictures and Anton Kern mounting solo exhibitions by Cindy Sherman and Matthew Monahan, respectively.
Tech-Gear-Must: Spy Camera Sunglasses. These may not be of the appropriate collectors’ scale you are used to seeing at art fairs, but with these visionaries, you can surreptitiously snap red-dotted labels, video your experience in the W.C. – which collectors and gallerists really do wash their hands? – and feel right at home experiencing art through dark-matter lenses. So Futurist.
The third year of the Korean Art Show includes 14 exhibiting galleries, about half the number from its predecessor. There will also be a special focus section on seven Korean artists who have entrenched themselves in New York City. "K-Artists in New York" highlights hallyu, the word for "Korean Wave" that refers to the spread of Korean culture around the world.
Tech-Gear-Must: We all know that technology in Asia kicks our U ass of A. Instead of giving Korea's homegrown Samsung the nod, how about impressing the crowd even further with Nokia's new 41 megapixel smartphone camera? It's a little novel, a little outdated, perhaps a little all of the above, what the KAS represents in the overall fair circuit.
You never know what you are going to get from PooL, besides hotel rooms (circa 2002) filled with artists brandishing their wares directly to the public. No middlemen, no beating around the bush, and sometimes no discernment of exhibitors – which could be said of many fairs past, mind you. But we still like the idea, and the idea is discovery. So go and find out for yourselves, and leave the art consultant at home.
Tech-Gear-Must: This one’s for the gung-ho artist-exhibitors. Sign up for a Square account and bring your smartphone or tablet. If you’re planning on paying for that room and making it big, you better take credit cards!
You know it’s a curators’ fair when there’s a compound slash title involved. This post-Mayan newbie purports to adopt an end-of-the-world theme enlivening the classrooms and hallways of a NoLitan four-story schoolhouse on Mott Street, with a focused eye that "aims to elucidate the sense of direction, disorder, celebration, or disdain generated by real or invented global or personal assumptions of calamity.” I’m guessing there’s going to be a throwback art history slide show in here somewhere. Kodak lives. School’s out forever!
Tech-Gear-Must: Any “apple” device will work. Too hot for teachers.
Like PooL, the Theorize Art Fair also takes place inside a hotel (Wyndham Garden Inn Chelsea) and fancies itself as an artist-run fair that brings artists into direct contact with collectors and the public. Organized by a collective mysteriously called the Conceptual Art Network, there is not that much information to be gleaned from the official fair site. But maybe that’s part of the concept.
ArtSlant Question: "Can you send me more information on your fair – names of participating artists, galleries, exhibitors, etc?"
TAF Answer: "You mean, like a press release?"
Trouble....? Or CAN do?
Tech-Gear-Must: Don’t know what all this high-fallutin’ conceptual art stuff is about? Download the Philosopher App (catchily called Ask Phil) and ask a highbrow question. Just don’t expect a straight answer.
The second edition of this fair in the cavernous Tunnel building dedicates itself to showcasing contemporary video work, looping on flat screens suspended in dim, wall-less sections. It's a wonderfully conducive environment to view time-based work that demands a respectful attention span, though adequate seating still leaves a little to be desired. This year Moving Image is also curating a video segment for the Armory. Now, if only they could also put these videos on Netflix for the week...
Tech-Gear-Must: The now discontinued Flip Cam. I don’t know about you, but I miss bootlegs.
Scope moves just up the street from the mother fair, with its patented bag of tricky galleries, collaborations, performances, and other odds and ends. Remember (or forgotten?) the bad frat party-in-a-box last year? Sometimes hazing should be advocated for the common good. One of this year’s proiects, The Diamond Den, promises to engross (for better or worse) and subsume the viewer in full fetishistic scent and soundscapes, where they “may release suffering, self-examine, forgive and learn to ‘live your best life.’” S&M-C’ing will be artist and Interfaith Minister Reverend Lainie Love Dalby. Let’s be optimistic that Rick Santorum shows up and the Reverend exorcises the poor bastard of his porn fix!
Tech-Gear-Must: We know Scope exhibitors love beer, and jail-broken iPads!!! So we recommend something called Kegbot. Take this and monitor your alcohol consumption and beer temperature – variables that Google apparently hadn’t thought of cookieing yet.
In previous years, Fountain set up thoroughfare on the deck of the Frying Pan barge, protected from the elements by a few inadequate tarps and even fewer glorified space heaters. While befitting the DIY mentality of its organizers, the fair itself was usually a brutal affair, and by that we mean it was frickin’ cold! Fast forward to 2012, and Fountain has graduated to the downtown Armory.
The exhibitor list likewise has upped a notch, and as always, Fountain maintains a strong connection to the music scene, with 80’s downtown mainstay Fab 5 Freddy deejaying one evening – and showing artwork! Big Deal Arts will also create a unique, site-specific architectural projection on the facade of the 69th Regiment Armory. We pray it’s something honorably offensive.
Tech-Gear-Must: QR Scanner App. Something in the crystal ball says there may be a lot of this augmented reality stuff floating about. We hope it’s a code coupon for the next VIP Fair – maybe a free online speed-dating voucher with a gallerina.
… Come on, nobody in East Williamsburg has thought of this yet?
Image top right: Courtesy of The Armory Show