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From March 6 through 9, The Armory Show returned to New York City’s Pier 92 and Pier 94 for the 16th time to showcase international modern and contemporary art. With 205 galleries from across the globe, the fair specifically hosted 17 Chinese galleries for the Armory Focus (curated by Phil Tinari) and honored female artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Helen Frankenthaler in the curated selection, “Venus Drawn Out.”
The contemporary section had 146 exhibitors and an overwhelming amount of art. Favorites included Nick Cave’s Soundsuits at Jack Shainman Gallery made of metallic buttons and Tauba Auerbach’s Compression System (Marble), a digital print of marble, woven and folded to reflect a flat, yet dimensional surface. Reading Women by Carrie Schneider featured 70 portraits of women caught in a vulnerable, intellectual and emotional moments while immersed in a book.
Many galleries presented physically reflective works, prompting visitors to take selfies with the art. At David Zwirner’s booth, Oscar Murillo’s Tensions 2 drew attention. The piece is made up of four panels of raw steel, aluminum, copper, polished stainless steel, plywood, copper wire, thread, tape, and oil paint. Viewers posed in front of the art with their iPhones to snap a shot of their own reflection in the work. Olafur Eliasson’s Hesistant Movement Up and Hesitatement Movement Sky features triangle-shaped mirrors with opaque and clear portions, leading the eye either up or down. And in the Armory Focus on China was Zhao Zhao’s Fragments, a steel slab reminiscent of a shattered mirror or spider web. The paradox lies in the portrayal of steel as a fragile medium, further exacerbated when photos were taken in the mirror to produce a disjointed image of the viewer.
Also included in The Armory Focus on China was artist Xu Zhen’s range of works in performance, installation, and video. His art provokes thinking and questioning around the cultural norms of society. In Action of Consciousness, objects are tossed above a white cube and thus only visible for a couple seconds, forcing the user to instantaneously understand and develop a meaning for each object.
Another highlight was Double Fly Art Center’s interactive performance that had a carnival like atmosphere. Lottery tickets were handed out to fair-goers, encouraged to scratch to win. The tickets could then be exchanged for prizes like an art magazine or Chinese keepsake.