Last year was difficult for most galleries: The recession made them focus on fewer shows, fewer art fairs and smaller booths. You can notice this also here at the Armory Show 2010 in New York:
- More galleries: now 289 (+ 60)
- Often smaller booths
- More visitors: 60,000 (+ 4,000)
I think it is good, there are new galleries now. Then you get so see a greater variety of art. The expectations of the art dealers were not very high, and that is why almost all came home quite happy. For instants, New York based Jack Shainman Gallery sold a Nick Cave suit-object for US $ 75,000. Ropac Gallery sold a large painting by Georg Baselitz for US $ 560,000.
There is a section for classic modern art in this contemporary fair. Yet, the separation between them seems not always clear. Armory Show claims that the two groups of collectors are overlapping. I was surprised to hear that White Cube Gallery managed to sell one of the extremely weak Damien Hirst oil paintings for more than $ 4 million to a classic modern collector. I always thought these guys have an eye for good painting…
This year, there was not a dominant trend. I saw only few of the overhyped Chinese, Indian or Middle Eastern art.
Instead, I noticed 3 tendencies:
- Art from the Whitney Biennial
- Art from the Venice Biennial
- Post-Minimal revival
Art from the Whitney Biennial 2010
I saw many contributors to the Whitney Biennial here on sale: 303 Galley sold a landscape painting by Maureen Gallace for US $ 47,000. Also New York based Sean Kelly Gallery sold several works by James Casebere between US $ 48,000 – 68,000.
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris/Bruxelles) offered wonderful small-scale Sumi ink drawings by Roland Flexner.
Art from the Venice Biennial 2009
Moscow based Regina Gallery offered paintings by Pavel Pepperstein, who was featured in last year’s Venice Biennial's own pavillion. Another Venice Biennial artist was Michelangelo Pistoletto with his series of broken mirrors at the Italian Galleria Continua.
Following the museum shows of Post-minimal artists, like Gabriel Orozco or Rodney Graham, this revival goes on here at the show: London based Lisson Gallery offered a light box object by Rodney Graham. White Cube Gallery reported the sale of a Gabriel Orozco painting for $ 250,000. (I would prefer his earlier objects and installations.)
It surprised me that there were now 11 (!) satellite fairs during the Amory week. Like in Miami, this is too much. I did not see all of them. Yet, some (Pulse, Volta, Independent and Scope) were quite interesting.
It seems to me, everybody was relieved to see the New York art market going back to business again. That is good. However, I hope the days of the exaggerated hype are also gone.
by U. G.