Armory Show New York 2010 - A recovery of the American Art Market?

Nick Cave: ‘Soundsuit’ of 2010; mixed media; courtesy by Jack Shainman Gallery, NY © photo by Premier Art Scene

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.


© Damien Hirst: ‘Skull with Glass of Water’ of 2007; oil on canvass; 90 x 60 in. / 229 x 152 cm; courtesy White Cube Gallery


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.


© James Casebere: ‘Landscape with Houses (Duchess County, NY) # 1’ of 2009, framed digital chromogenic print mounted to Dibond; 111.4 x 161 cm; ed. 5 + 2 ap; JC-209.M; courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, NY

Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris/Bruxelles) offered wonderful small-scale Sumi ink drawings by Roland Flexner.


Roland Flexner: ‘SN 2’ of 2005; Sumi ink on paper, 14 x 18 cm / 5.5 x 7 in.; courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia


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.


Michelangelo Pistoletto: ‘Two Less One’ of 2009, golden wood, mirror of 2009; courtesy Galleria Continua © photo by Premier Art Scene

Post-minimal revival


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.)


© Rodney Graham: ‘Dead Flowers in my Studio’; 2009; painted aluminum light box with transmounted chromogenic transparency; 132.2 x 103.2 x 17.8 cm; ed. 5/5 courtesy of Lisson Gallery


Not Post-minimal, but also interesting: Zeno X Gallery from Antwerp offered the small scale Luc Tuymans painting ‘Glasses’ of 2007. SFMoMA devotes currently a large one-man-show to him.


Luc Tuymans: ‘Glasses’ of 2007, oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm, courtesy Zeno X Gallery © PAS

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.




(c) George Condo: 'Integrated Forms (Birnam Wood)' 2009 Oil and pastel on linen 80 x 60 inches 203.2 x 152.4 cm
'The Collectors' curated by Elmgreen and Dragset / Nordic pavilion (c) photo by Premier Art Scene
Luc Tuymans, Der diagnostische Blick V, (The Diagnostic View V), 1992; oil on canvas; 22 7/8 x 16 1/2 in. (58.1 x 41.9 cm); Private collection; © Luc Tuymans; photo: courtesy Zeno X Gallery
Gabriel Orozco. (Mexican, born 1962); My Hands Are My Heart. 1991; Two silver dye bleach prints, Each 9 1/8 x 12 ½” (23.2 x 31.8 cm); Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; ©2009 Gabriel Orozco
Kenny Scharf courtesy Paul Kamsin Gallery (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


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