Now open to ticketholders through September 11 at the Javits Center in Manhattan is the 2022 edition of The Armory Show. Beyond the towering building’s iconic glass facade, more than 240 galleries from over 30 countries are presenting their most stimulating works inside—with many national and international artists, gallerists, and curators in the booths to welcome guests, too.
There for the preview yesterday, Whitewall explored its gargantuan Frederick Fisher and Partners-designed floorplan, marveling at an array of paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and digital presentations from all over the globe. After having our digital QR code pass scanned, we made our way through the entrance and were greeted by a buzzing home of hallways. Expansive pathways lined with booths were flowing with art patrons, kicking off our start in the show’s main Galleries section.
Beyond the numerous galleries, The Armory Show also responded to the success of past “Presents” section presentations by bringing the sector back—this time with 40 exhibitors that are no more than ten years old. Additionally, the fair is revealing a “Solo” section focused on intimate presentations of work by a single emerging, established, or historic artist working in the past two centuries; showing a “Focus” section, curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, dedicated to solo- and dual-artist presentations that explore the issues within South-South ecologies; and unveiling new Tobias Ostrander-curated works in “Platform”—a collection of installations and site-specific works that this year are dedicated to the theme of “Monumental Change.”
The temperament was melodic as we began our journey into the fair, with people moving in and out of booths, back corners, and routes with smiles. We took an immediate left and were greeted by three large-scale “I’ve Got a Secret” photos by Richard Prince, presented by Two Palms. On dissolved silkscreens that stretched over seven feet tall, the black-and-white images featured a portrait of the late journalist Dorothy Kilgallen with a slightly different warped face on each frame, joined by text that read, “I’ve got a secret! Dorothy Kilgallen 11/8/65.”
From there, we tried to follow the booths in order, yet wound along the presentation in a sequence to whatever caught our attention. First, that was a collection of images in The Hole‘s gallery—notably Alex Gardner‘s acrylic on canvas painting titled Dreaming Of Someone Else (Sleeping Venus), 2022.
We passed by Hollis Taggart‘s showing of Keith Haring’s Untitled (Subway Drawing) from 1982—which was a chalk on black paper drawing of two figures holding up a pyramid—and ended up staring at Yossi Milo Gallery‘s presentation of a portrait of a Black boy with a speckled white face in a blue hoodie by the German artist Jeremy Jaspers. Spanning a long wall of the hallway, it was hard to turn away from Matt Mullican‘s Untitled (Things Change in Heaven, Details 3), 2021, presented by Marc Selwyn Fine Art across two panels. Acrylic and oil in a handful of rich colors were seen—first on the left panel, filling the square canvas with swirls; then on the right panel in a series of 16 circles.
In Rosenfeld‘s booth, we caught eye-catching canvas works and spiky sculptural pieces by José Castiella and Keita Miyazaki; in Eduardo Secci / Marc Straus‘s space, crowds gathered for a solo show of works hung vertically by José Carlos Martinat; within Volume Gallery‘s area, we were intrigued by ice-dyed cotton ropes tied with synthetic hair to form intricate sculptures by Tanya Aguiñiga, hung on the walls and suspended from the ceiling; and at the Nassau, Bahamas-based Tern Gallery booth, we had the pleasure of meeting its co-founder, Lauren Perez, who walked us through a colorful presentation of nature-centric works by the Jamaican artist Leasho Johnson and the Bahamian artist Tessa Whitehead.
As we turned the corner, we saw a few familiar faces—both on canvas and in person. At Monique Meloche Gallery‘s booth was the dancer Brendan Fernandes, and his friend, artist, David Antonio Cruz, whose work was on view. In the painting was Fernandes (with his dancer’s foot pointed in the air with a ballet slipper on) and a two of his companions, colorfully depicted in an array of expressive garments and on a regal lounge chair. Alongside Cruz, the three models posed for a photo for Whitewall before they greeted more guests in to explore the work.
On the other side of the booth, we got lost in surrealistic works by a selection of artists at Fredericks & Freiser‘s show—like Danielle Roberts‘s Waiting acrylic on canvas painting; Jenna Gribbon‘s Admiration for the way she occupies and chair oil on linen piece; Anna Kenneally‘s Nocturnal 1 oil on canvas work; and Lizzy Lunday‘s Remsen oil and acrylic on canvas image. Across the way, we stopped to say hi to Mariane Ibrahim in her gallery’s booth and fell in love with the Canadian artist Shannon T. Lewis‘s painting of a woman from the lips down, grasping what appeared to be a large mirror.
At The Breeder‘s presentation, we were entranced with work after work from the start to the end by artists like Adegboyega Adesina, Larry Amponsah, Ekene Stanley Emecheta, Luke Edward Hall, Maria Hassabi, Jannis Varelas, Hana Ward, and Rufai Zakari. Rich colors and bold, unapologetic facial expressions celebrated Black excellence through an array of mediums that were unforgettable in various mediums and focuses. Walking down the hall, we were drawn to the exterior-facing pieces by the American artist Jane Irish—two distemper and oil on hand-stitched linen and muslin works named Stoning and Running—made within the past two years.
From there, we were immersed in Sean Kelly‘s booth of works by Hugo McCloud—particularly in flores de mayo 1, 2022, which showed a hat-adorned man with his back to the audience riding his bike with greenery overflowing from a cart in front of his handlebars. Other works within David Nolan Gallery—including David Hartt‘s A Colored Garden tapestry; Chakaia Booker‘s vertically hung installation of rubber tires and wood titled Fractured Alliance; and Norberto Nicola‘s piece named XAMĀ, made of wool in handloom with vegetable fibers, horsehair, and pigments—reeled us in for quite some time.
As we made our way to relax in the fair’s center Pommery Champagne Lounge—still encricled by twelve gallery presentations—we caught sight of Simon Lee Gallery‘s solo presentation of dream-like pastel works by France-Lise McGurn; Angela Heisch‘s Green Pond oil on linen work presented by GRIMM Gallery; Iris Schomaker‘s watercolor and oil on paper pieces shown by Galerie Thomas Schulte; and a striking wooden sculpture named I’m a Friend, 2022 by Huma Bhabha, exhibited by David Zwirner.
Perhaps one of our favorite works, however, was found on the back wall of Galere Eigen + Art by the New York-based artist Melora Kuhn. The oil on canvas work—entitled The Legacy of Disembodiment, 2022—extended 60-by-78 inches to show an incredible scene of figures in various fights and flights. Most were seen painted in normal flesh and clothing colors, while others were mythological and mysteriously awash in grey-blue tones.
In complete contrast across the hall, we were entranced by the work of Eliza Douglas at Overduin & Co. Large-scale oil on canvas works drew us in with warped takes on recognizable scenes—from polka dots and Nascar imagery to Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. The gallery’s director, Lisa Overdiun, mentioned to us that the works were created by Douglas taking fabrics, physically warping them with her hand, photographing them, and then painting recreations of them.
For a quick pit stop, we hit the VIP Lounge and were greeted to an introduction to Danvas by its co-founder, which featured a selection of stunning digital artworks in its booth. Created to display digital pieces in a gallery or museum setting, the brand was showing an array of different Sofia Garcia-curated works by artists—like Luna Ikuta, Seneca, and Zach Lieberman—to show how coded or generative artworks appear seamlessly on screen.
As we exited the VIP section, we caught two Kehinde Wiley works at Galerie Templon‘s booth: the incredible Reclining Nude (Babacar Mané), 2022 painting, as well as an unforgettable bronze sculpture named Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos, 2022. Neons at Mazzoleni Art by Marinella Senatore—spelling out “The World Community Feels Good” and “Bodies In Alliance”—caught our attention before moving on to landscape oil on muslin works in a solo presentation named “Los Angeles Pines” by Jake Longstreth at Nino Mier Gallery.
Next door at Mother Gallery, we stopped to pause and appreciate the paintings by Jenny Morgan. Women depicted in paintings as their true, honest selves—perhaps feeling uncomfortable or invisible at the time—were brought to light in oil on canvas works like The Lineage, Secret Lair, and Cloaked, which revealed the duality and complexity of power and underappreciation of mothers.
We also caught Diptyque‘s wrap-around presentation of new wallpapers and said hello to its Senior Vice President of Decorative Products, Miriam Badault, before standing in awe of Tidawhitney Lak‘s painting of Asian girls eating atop a newspaper-lined ground in Los Angeles, shown by Sow & Tailor.
As we made our exit, we saw a familiar face—the Los Angeles-based fashion stylist and designer, Marquise Miller—who introduced us to the impressive emerging artist Alvin Armstrong. Presenting a solo show at Anna Zorina Gallery‘s booth, the artist was there to speak about his budding practice, which started just four years ago in his Bushwick arts studio. “It’s amazing what I can do with my time now that I’m sober,” he said of his career, which he credits to the time and clear-headedness he has to focus on art. Seen below an upside-down American flag hung from above were images on all surrounding walls in a series called “Race.” Hinging on the many references found in the word “race,” paintings of a man on horseback galloping toward the viewer had us reeling far after we departed The Armory Show.