Art and About in March

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 02/20/2013

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One hundred years ago this month, the International Exhibition of Modern Art, held at the Armory on Lexington Avenue, introduced Americans to European artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. This year, March 7–10, The Armory Show is celebrating its namesake legacy with an in-depth look at the current state of art in the United States as part of its Armory Focus series. Curated by the director of the Andy Warhol Museum and anchored by a Gagosian Gallery retrospective of the Pop artist himself, the show-within-a-show includes smaller galleries like downtown favorites Invisible-Exports and On Stellar Rays. The same open attitude is reflected by the fair's commissioned artist Liz Magic Laser, who held a series of focus groups to brainstorm ideas for the print material, signage, advertisements and other expressions of the event's visual identity. Elsewhere, more than 200 galleries will gather on Pier 92 and Pier 94, where New York contemporary art heavyweights like David Zwirner will exhibit the work of Diana Thater while others—including Marianne Boesky and Jack Shainman—will exhibit a selection of their artists. The fair also offers a rare chance to see what top galleries from London, Berlin, Zurich, Johannesburg and São Paulo are showing.

American Flag
"American Flag (Lead)" (2013), by Dave Cole, on view at The Armory Show. Courtesy, Churner and Churner, New York

Over the same weekend, March 6–10, The Art Show is held at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street, where a more-manageable 72 US galleries will each host themed shows in their booths, such as Louise Lawler at Metro Pictures and Tacita Dean at Marian Goodman Gallery. A thematic show, 20th Century Impressionism, will be presented at Acquavella Galleries. But the beauty of this particular fair, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, is that nearly every major New York gallery will be present—including Anton Kern, Michael Werner, Marian Goodman, Pace and Tanya Bonakdar—which means it's the perfect opportunity to see a sometimes dispersed New York art scene all gathered under one roof.

The Art Show
The Art Show hosted by the Art Dealers Association of America. Photo: Billy Farrell Agency/

Outside The Art Show, two public art projects to keep an eye on this month are Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea's No Limit exhibition on the Park Avenue Malls and Nick Cave's Heard•NY at Grand Central Terminal. While No Limit depicts New York landmarks like the Chrysler and Empire State buildings as playful metal sculptures, Heard•NY, installed by arts organization Creative Time as part of the centennial celebration of the famed railroad hub, will place a herd of 30 life-size horse sculptures throughout Vanderbilt Hall, where they will periodically break out in choreographed movement.

Nick Cave
Nick Cave's Heard•NY. Courtesy, Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit

Two satellite art fairs that happen during Armory Arts Week—a weeklong series of arts events that occur at the same time as The Armory Show and The Art Show—have new locations this year. Volta NY, which shares shuttle and VIP services with The Armory Show, moves downtown to a former manufacturing facility at 82 Mercer, where, March 7–10, 95 different galleries, from Seoul to Sydney and all points in between, will exhibit the work of one artist in each booth. The same week, the Scope art show moves into the historic Moynihan Station, the iconic New York post office near Madison Square Garden, where 55 international galleries will present their artists alongside 20 participants in a Breeder Program—a group of 20 galleries endorsed by the fair and newly introduced to the market.

Rub Dry
"Rub Dry" (2012), by Winston Chmielinski, on view at Volta NY. Courtesy, Envoy Enterprises, New York

The insider's favorite of the week is the Independent art fair, which takes place across the three floors of the former Dia space in Chelsea and features a consistently excellent lineup of more than 40 forward-thinking galleries—like by-now New York institutions Gavin Brown's enterprise, Elizabeth Dee and Jack Hanley—with others from Glasgow, Milan, London and Cologne. The Moving Image contemporary video art fair, held in the Waterfront Tunnel in Chelsea, will install projections, sculptures, and larger installations all based on the medium of video.

There are other opportunities to partake in Armory Arts Week activities this month: On March 8, Hostos Community College in the Bronx will present Longwood Gallery's Toys & Games with a Twist, while The Bronx Museum of the Arts screens rare video and technology works by Juan Downey. The next day focuses on Long Island City, and institutions like the SculptureCenter, the Fisher Landau Center and graffiti mecca 5 POINTZ offer complimentary admission. On Saturday attention turns to Chelsea, where Printed Matter will host a live visual-sonic performance, and also to Brooklyn, where galleries in Williamsburg and DUMBO will provide special programming.

But on the 100th anniversary of the year that the European avant-garde swept New York, it may be fruitful to look eastward. The month of fairs continues the following week with Asia Week New York, March 15–23, which organizes institutions, galleries, boutiques and some of the best dealers in the city to create events from Long Island City to Staten Island. Exhibitions range from 17th-century painting (Asia Society Museum), Japanese prints (Japan Society), Korean textiles (The Korea Society), a retrospective of Cambodian sculptor Sopheap Pich (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Himalayan art (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art).

Briefly Noted
Jean-Michel Basquiat 
Gagosian Gallery (West 24th St)
More than 50 works from the downtown cult hero fill out a show that promises a rethinking of the painter's career—from the idiosyncratic iconography of his crowns and skulls to his own unique pictorial language that fused drawing and painting and went beyond mere graffiti.

Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh
The Jewish Museum
Opening on March 15
A new exhibition exploring the nature of happiness from graphic designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh, who use sugar cubes, water balloons and bubbles to spell out a new round of enigmatic, yet optimistic, phrases taken from his diary.

If I Don’t Ask
Stills from "If I Don’t Ask" (2013), by Sagmeister & Walsh in collaboration with Santiago Carrasquilla. © Sagmeister & Walsh

Julian Schnabel 1978–1981
Through March 30
The four pieces in this exhibition—including the 1979 wax painting St. Sebastian—at the hidden-away East Village gallery will be displayed one at a time, for two weeks each, providing a glimpse into the time when the painter was exploring ways to work on canvas, rather than film.

Ed Atkins
With his first solo show in the United States, the 31-year-old British artist shows two of his high-definition video works that rely on, among other things, motion-capturing technology and animation software.

Inventing Brooklyn: People, Places, Progress
Brooklyn Historical Society
A look back on 400 years of history, through the lenses of the borough's first newspapers, photographs of its immigrant population, Dutch colonial influence and Native American roots—all created by the high school students at the society's exhibition laboratory program. 

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    The Armory Show, Inc.
    Piers 92 and 94, 55th St. & Hudson River
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  2. 2
    Jack Shainman Gallery
    513 W 20th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  3. 3
    Metro Pictures
    519 W 24th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  1. 4
    Marian Goodman Gallery
    24 W 57th St
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10019
  2. 5
    Grand Central Terminal
    15 Vanderbilt Ave., Hall 2A
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10017
  3. 6
    GBE (Gavin Brown's Enterprise)
    620 Greenwich St
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10014
  1. 7
    Elizabeth Dee Gallery
    545 W 20th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011

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