Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Armory Week: Presidents and Politics

Given the unholy hell that's been raining down upon us for the past month and a half, it was surprising to not have seen more trenchant political commentary. I skipped a few fairs, so maybe I missed it? Then again, perhaps dealers were not so keen on biting that hand that holds the pocketbook that buys much of the art. However, there was a strong showing of presidents, early and recent, and a vein of nihilism that you just know runs deeper than what's immediately apparent. Here's the best of what I saw.

 At Armory: Ed Paschke, Geoconde, 1987, oil on canvas; at Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago

 At Armory: Kang Hyungkoo, Lincoln, 2016, mixed media on canvas; at Arario Gallery, Chelsea, Seoul, and Shanghai

At Scope: Scott Scheidly, Punk Rock Lincoln, no date provided, acrylic on canvas; at Spoke Gallery, San Francisco

At Armory: Panos Tsagaris, January 11, 2017, 2017, gold leaf on newspaper; gallery name is missing from my notes (let me know if you know )

At Armory: Russel Young, Barack Obama, 2008, screenprint on paper, edition of 20; at Long Sharp Gallery

At Art on Paper: Brian Andrew Whitely, Trump Legacy Stone, direct tombstone rubbing in pigmented wax on Niyodo Kozo paper, 2016/17; edition of 100; at Center Street Studio, Milton, Mass

Below: The actual tombstone from which the rubbing was made, resting--appropriately enough--on fake grass. You may recall that on Easter Sunday last year, this gravestone appeared in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Although the story went viral, the sculpture remained there for only a few hours until the police carted it away. Whitely eventually got his work back, and master printer James Stroud had the brilliant idea of showing the stone and making an edition of 100 rubbings.

The tombstone  was probably the most photographed object at the fair, and the comment I heard most about it regarded the open-ended date. "Too bad it's not 2017," said just about every observer.  

Beyond the presence of the Presidents, there was that air of apocalypse.

At NADA: Bookforum at the publications table

Fairgoer at NADA

At Volta: Andrew Schoultz at Joshua Liner Gallery, New York


  1. Well done by those who expressed their political sentiments and more via art! I think political art is tricky because it can come off more like a rant than an artwork or it can enshrine the very thing it's decrying. These were great. Thanks, Joanne, from us shut-ins.

  2. Thanks Joanne, artists as cultural mirrors- important sentiment fir the times!