It was another frantic and fabulous week in New York for the art fairs and accompanying activities. The Armory Show on Piers 92 and 94 was too large and needed vetting, but it galvanized the audience. The ADAA show was tightly curated and elegant with high quality works. From Alice Neel’s intriguing paintings at Zwirner to the witty ceramic sculptures of Kathy Butterly at Tibor De Nagy, the range was broad and less predictable than in years past. Overall the mood was optimistic. New York exhibitors enjoyed synergistic business between their galleries and their booths.
Of the satellite fairs, my favorite was The Independent. No walls separated the booths. A spirit of comraderie and openness pervaded the entire three floors of the former Dia Center. Exhibitors were united in their distinctive vision and accessibility. The Modern Institute of Glasgow hosted a wonderful installation of the talented Victoria Morton. New York-based Anton Kern showcased a powerful sculpture by Matthew Monaghan. It was a community table of visual delight; we ate with our eyes.
Community table is a theme manifest all over town, literally and figuratively. People flock to Mario Batali’s Italian marketplace, Eataly. The new Foodhall beneath the Plaza Hotel is an upscale winner. Shoulder-to-shoulder, diners pack both counter-seating and shared tables. On Fifth Avenue, once the exclusive stronghold of high-end fashion, Prada and Gucci share street cred with H&M and Forever 21. The egalitarian attitude fostered by both economics and the internet is now part of the cultural fabric.
Nowhere is the integration of multiple viewpoints more successfully presented than at the Museum of Modern Art. When High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture, opened in October 1990, it created a firestorm of controversy. How prescient it was. Now the influence and coexistence of high and low culture, mix and match, represent style and intellectual inquiry at its best.
On the top floor at MOMA, Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures focuses on the artist’s cinematic portraits and non-narrative, silent films from the mid-1960s. Downstairs Looking at Music 3.0, the third in a series of exhibitions exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices, focuses on New York in the 1980s and 1990s. Abstract Expressionist New York and Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914 alone would sate the palate, but then add contemporary art from the collection. A riveting video on view for the first time, Lollypop, 2006, by Kalup Linzy was worth watching twice. Gracing the lobby, one can marvel at artist and landscape designer Paula Hayes’ updated terrariums, botanical sculptures made from blown glass, silicone, or acrylic and filled with a rich variety of plant life. The style and breadth of MOMA programming sets the bar for every other institution.
Exhibition highlights elsewhere included the George Condo and Lynda Benglis shows at the New Museum, selections from the Emily Fisher Landau pledged gift at the Whitney Museum, the unparalleled Schieles at the Neue Galerie and the great David Hammonds show at L&M. While the art fairs bring everyone to town, New York remains a stellar event on any occasion.
DOROTHY GOLDEEN ART ADVISORY
A consultancy in modern and contemporary art, guiding clients with access and expertise, throughout the international art community.