White Cubes: Williamsburg Art Hopping and the Armory Show

Kitchen-ready robot, seen in Williamsburg.

I saw enough art this past weekend to make it feel like this robot had whisked my brain. On Saturday night, we joined another ArtCards and Culture Shock art walk, this time in my old neighborhood, Williamsburg. I really should have written down everywhere we went, but I’ll just have to do my best at remembering. I first joined my friends at Parker’s Box, where we started our arty evening with their Unidentified Living Objects exhibit. There was a giant, inflatable object that “breathed” (appropriately called “La Chose” by its French creator, Pierre Ardouvin) and a hydraulic arm that crawled over crates. Next was Like the Spice Gallery, where there was an exhibit of sculptures called The World We Live In, The Worlds We Create, and it ranged from a super creepy imagined medical object to a tiny and beautiful dandelion peephole. Outside the gallery, Nora Herting, a photographer, had a family-photo type setting for her project of cataloging Brooklyn.  I’ll keep an eye out to see if our awkward photograph turns up. From there, we went to Gitana Rosa Gallery where they were showing paintings by John Plunkett. I loved his disturbing, yet endearing, robot and monster characters that haunted subways and Last Supper scenes alike. We went to Momenta after that, but it was so crowded that the only thing I remember are what looked like buffalo horns on records. Our last stop was Jack the Pelican, which was showing an old comic book about, what else, the life of an artist in New York. We ended our night at Charleston Bar & Grill, where you get a free pizza with your beer and a little hearing loss with their blasting punk music.

Giant bottle at Pier 92.

Sunday we met at Pier 92 and 94 for the Armory Show, a sprawling art fair where all the world’s major galleries try to sell pieces for prices that could fund the next 10 years of my life. Our adventure started out well, with gorgeous weather and a glimpse of this giant bottle sculpture installed along the Hudson River.

Aluminum pirate made by Peter Coffin.

The Armory Show was insanely crowded, although unlike the crowds I often encounter on the train, this featured people wearing boots shaped like hooves and faces covered in white paint. Although most of the people were wearing black. Oh, and Naomi Campbell was there, yeah, that makes it different.

NO at the Armory Show.

The Armory Show was divided into two Piers, with one being modern and the other being contemporary. Don’t give me too much credit, I thought those were nearly synonymous. If I’m using the show as a definition, contemporary is sort of riding the wave of art forward, while modern is just the rippling wake. A fat animatronic raven harasses you on the contemporary pier, obese Botero dancers frozen in waltzes on the modern. Weight wasn’t really a trend, those were just examples that somehow burbled to the top of my churned brain.

Philosopher hard hats.

There were some things I really loved and almost all of them were in the contemporary pier, like the miniature photographs at the David Zwirner booth and these philosopher hard hats.

Upside down statues.

I was intrigued by these concrete statues, which were made to move just slightly to keep knocking against together to throw tiny bits of concrete to the ground.

Lobster and clam, checking emails, blogging.

But nothing can beat this lobster on the computer for a place in the tacky corner of my heart. I should have taken notes, because I want to say that this was in the Berlin showcase area, but I can’t be sure. I reached a point when my mind just refused to take in any more information.

That's lovely. SOLD

Of course, it wasn’t all beautiful crustaceans. There were also the somewhat offensive pieces, like this stack of animals that reminds me of an actual taxidermy I saw in a museum in Clermont-Ferrand that had a mannequin of a Native American on a taxidermy horse on a buffalo. It was supposed to show some sort of collision. I don’t know what this cow/lion/harpy eagle (maybe?)/peacock thing means. Although the empty music stands are a nice touch.

Unauthorized art in the Armory.

The person who does the robots on the street sneaked one onto a pillar, which made me happy. No space invaders, though.

Armory Show from above.

We took the free shuttle to Herald Square, which I think was the first time I’d ever ridden in a vehicle through Times Square. I kind of miss riding in cars and watching the world go by. It’s harder to stare when walking. We ordered some delicious pizzas and watched the Oscars, or at least as much as I could stand. It got unbearably boring near the end, or my mind was just too blended. I think I came in third in our prediction game, loosing points by my refusal to vote for Avatar in any category. I think I saw a certain someone I used to temp for in the Oscar audience.

I guess March is well under way! 2010 is moving so fast and while last year it seemed like winter lasted forever, it feels like it just started. It helps that I still find myself charmed daily by New York. I’m still not tired of seeing the Statue of Liberty on the glimmering water as my train rides over the Manhattan Bridge.

2 thoughts on “White Cubes: Williamsburg Art Hopping and the Armory Show

  1. Kat says:

    I see those street robots in Chicago too. In fact, I walk over one everyday.

  2. […] was my second time to attend the Armory Show (you can read about my first expedition here), and this time I was more prepared for how hot it would be, and brought food. We got there early […]

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