Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Armory show, NY 08

The famous Armoury show in New York, has been a highlight for art collectors, artists and galleries for many years. It started in the Gramercy Park Hotel during the 1990's. Just like the Carlton arms today but without the great art on the walls.

Last years show was, apparently great. I'd heard lots of good things about it and expected this years to be as interesting or lots better than the FIAC show in Paris last year (which really was great!!). So, when I actually got there it came as a bit of a disappointment. It was really surprising how much bare wall space was on show as opposed to art. This is ironic, the galleries pay about $25,000 per stand to show the artists that they represent. The short video here contains some of the best bits of the show.

It wasn't just American galleries who were there, with almost half being from Europe. So how come it wasn't really exciting, interesting, jaw dropping. How come, almost everything seemed, the same or as though it came from the same box. Some galleries, of course, were great and had very innovative work but there was a general air of vacantness in the majority of stands at the show.

Whether or not it has anything to do with the content, The Armory has been bought by Chris Kennedy's company, Merchandise Mart. Although there is apparently a judging committee which chooses the galleries and the artists they are allowed to show, Mr Kennedy seems to take a very personal attitude towards opinions on the quality of the work hanging there. He has called critism by galleries of the terms of showing "Heresy". He also thinks that "Art Fairs are the future of retail" according to Linda Yablonsky, so perhaps he's not really in this for the love of 'Art'.
Chris Kennedy is of the American Kennedy clan who have a long history as patrons of the arts. Mr Kennedy is looking to expand into other art fairs. Personally, people like him freak me out.

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