Friday, March 18, 2011

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 11

When we approached the booth of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York the smell of soil and moisture filled the air. We entered the space through sheets of plastic, the type used in the fabrication of green houses and found a world of plants. At first we did not know what to make of the installation that occupied Feldman’s full booth. There were trees, lights, planter boxes and power cords everywhere. Watching our step, we wandered through the booth and found artist Sam Van Aken who gave us an overview of his work. Basically, Van Aken is grafting trees. In time he hopes to make that one perfect tree that will bear multiple species of fruit including peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and apricots. Born in Reading Pennsylvania, in 1972 Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. Since this time his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including an Association of International Curator’s of Art award he is one of the recipients of the 2010 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award. Sam Van Aken is currently an Associate Professor and the Sculpture Program Director at Syracuse. For additional information on Van Aken’s work see his website at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hand Made Hats from New York

During our trip to New York we had a moment to speak with Satya Twena, a beautiful 28-year-old multi-talented designer who recently launched her new hand made hats at ABC Carpets in Manhattan. Satya who began as an interior designer lives and works out of her studio in the East Village. When we spoke to her she was in the last hours of completing her new line and was organizing a photo shoot for the next day. Needless to say she was very busy.  Each of Satya's hats are hand made using vintage and unique blocks. Check out her new line of hats starting at $100 on her website and tell her we sent you. 

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 10

Tony Matelli's  "Pussy" 2011 is a tempting piece to touch. Tempting in that you want to go right up to it and write your name but upon closer inspection you see that the “dust” is actually enamel sprayed on the mirror. Each mirror seen in the photo is 48” x 36” and are two separate works at $14,000 each. The one on the left was sold. Matelli was born in 1971 in Chicago and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. You can see more of Matelli works including one of our favorites “Abandon Weed” 2009 at Tony Matelli was shown at the Amory Show by Leo Koening Inc. New York.

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 9

There is one in every show and this one belongs to Wilfredo Prieto. Shown by Nogueras Blanchard Gallery of Spain, Prieto’s piece "Eclipse" 2011 consisted of 2 quarters placed on a small wooden pine shelf. We looked more closely at the piece hoping for some deeper meaning or the use of some material that might be very rare and costly such as the ground horn of a unicorn but no, it was just two U.S. minted quarters. We had a word with gallery owner Alex Hogueras and asked about the piece. Hougueras was very proud to tell us that the piece was selling for $10,000 and that there was an edition of 3. Hummm, between the two of us we had at least two bucks is quarters so it looked like our New York trip was paid for. Hogueras promptly pulled out a catalog of Wilfredo Prieto’s work and proceeded to tell us about another piece that he just sold for $10,000 that consisted of one small piece of granite and one small sugar cube, both were one inch wide. I guess Hogueras felt this would sell us on the "Eclipse" piece but we didn’t bite. Don’t let the quarter piece fool you, Wilfredo Prieto a 32 year old from Cuba who currently lives and works in Spain is a very interesting artists. Some of his other works can be seen on the website Havana-Cultura. Oh and by the way, if  we know you, a replica of Prieto’s "Eclipse" piece might be your next holiday gift.

Open Call for our International Survey Periodical

Crussell Fine Arts is pleased to announce an open call for our summer 2011 reference journal: International Survey. This fine art periodical will be a reference book for curators, gallery directors and collectors, which will assist them in the development of shows and collections. We are seeking artists who work in all medias to submit three outstanding pieces created within the past two years. Selected artists will be included in the summer 2011 edition of International Survey with a single image of their work and direct contact information.

All submissions should be postmarked by May 1, 2011

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 8

This is our Armory Show post number “eight” and that is just what we did. A quick stop off to the VIP lounge for a bit of refueling and the great food from ‘wichcraft. It was nice change from the standard fair food. ‘wichcraft was founded in 2003 by Tom Colicchio, (chef and owner of the Craft family of restaurants and head judge of Bravo’s Top Chef)  with partners Sisha Ortuzar and Jeffrey Zurofsky. Using classical techniques and know-how, each ‘wichcraft meal strikes the proper balance of clean flavors and textures, bringing customers quality at reasonable price points. ‘wichcraft brings guests delicious food and knowledgeable, friendly service at twelve New York locations as well as one in San Francisco and one in Las Vegas. A special thank you to Jeffrey Zurofsky from Crussell Fine Arts for all your assistance during this years Armory Show. [Some information obtained through 'wichcraft]

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 7

Delson Uchôa "Hemoglobina" 1990-2009 is an amazing display of color and pattern. Uchoa uses acrylic paint on cotton canvas in this piece which is 74" x 103" in size. Delson Uchôa emerged with the 80s generation of Brazilian artists. His paintings are characterized by the use of acidic, noisy colors, an illuminated, vibrant palette that leads the public's gaze across highly elaborate surfaces, produced by an obsessive accumulation of gestures, decals, collages and many layers of paint and synthetic varnishes. They are structured around formal principles that are a legacy of the constructivist-concrete tradition, incorporating motifs and techniques taken from folk decoration, lace, embroidery and weaves that result in optical effects and fields. Uchôa was born in Maceió, Brazil in 1956, where he currently lives and works. Delson Uchôa was shown in the booth of Luciana Brito Gallery, Brasil where the piece sells for $70,000. [Some information in part from Delson Uchôa]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 6

Gavin Turk’s "Brillo (VII)" 2003 at first glance looks like your basic cardboard box on a clean white pedestal but to the surprise of most Turk’s box is made of painted bronze. Born in 1967 and living in London Turk's work often deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and originality. 
He was denied an MA certificate from the Royal College of Art for presenting at his degree show, an English Heritage plaque bearing the inscription “Borough of Kensington Gavin Turk Sculptor Worked Here 1989-1991” in an otherwise empty studio space. He has subsequently made work, which questions the idea and integrity of a consistent artistic persona. This piece falls into a long line of works where artists cast unlikely objects to throw off the viewer’s idea of what they know to be true. The most interesting part of this type of art is to watch the reaction of people who view the piece thinking that it is simply a cardboard box and then realizing it is bronze after reading the label. This “unique” piece (an edition of one) is 41 x 30 x 39cm and was shown at the booth of Sean Kelly Gallery, New York selling for 35,000 British pounds. [Biography in part from New Art Center]

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 5

Several booths later we discovered Johathan Schipper’s "Sexy, Shameful, Naked, Nude Stature Sculpture” Mixed Media 2011. It was shown at Pierogi out of Brooklyn, New York. What struck us first about this piece was the sound it made. From over our shoulder we heard the sound of something clanking together and breaking. After turning around we noticed Schippers kinetic sculpture. Every few minuets the mechanical structure above which supported several porcelain figures on wires would quickly jump up and down causing the pieces below to bang together. Each time this action occurred some small part of the figures would break and fall to the ground. The piece measured approximately 120” x 30” dam and sold for $18,000. See more information and work by Johathan Schipper here.

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 4

Our first morning at the Armory Show we came across Kim Jones’s "Rat Box" 2004-09-10 at the Zeno X Gallery booth from Antwerp, Belgium. The piece consisted of what looked to be a found wooden box with hardware 35 x 50 x 20cm with toy rubber rats inside. Everything was painted with white acrylic and then drawn on using some type of fine ink pen. Lots of small details were present both in the box and on the rats. It was a very fun piece, which reportedly sold for $16,000.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 3

If you have never attended an art fair then your missing out. We are lucky enough to attend several major US fairs each year including Los Angeles in January, New York in March and Miami in December. All fairs are great for their own reasons but after we get back we need vacation just to rest up from full days of looking at art, VIP parties and miles of walking.

An art fair venue such as the Armory show is held in a very large space that is divided up in sections about 12 x 15 foot where one gallery sets up shop. We have seen in recent years that one or more galleries will share the same space to split the $7 - $11,000 fee for the booth. When you consider the cost of the booth, travel cost, staff, food and hotel rooms, the gallery will need to sell thousands of dollars of art to pay for their expenses. But, there is much more benefit to an art fair than sales. Thousands of people pass these booths during the week’s event plus the opening VIP night many big name buyers rush through the spaces looking for deals…. connecting, exposure and name recognition become big values!! This year we noted that there were many items that sold, which is good news after the past few years of minimal sales.

One of the best things about the art fairs is that the gallery owner and staff have nothing to hide behind when you walk into their booth. It is much more difficult for them to ignore you but we have seen some cases that the cold shoulder will continue by just setting in a chair punching away on their lap top. Years ago at the Miami art fair we walked into Mary Boone’s booth and there she was in a chair drinking coffee. That was almost as much fun as seeing Julian Schnabel's new work and were not even star chasers.

Armory Show History - Entry 2

Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and opened in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, on February 17, 1913, ran to March 15, and became a legendary watershed date in the history of American art, introducing astonished New Yorkers, accustomed to realistic art, to modern art. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own "artistic language".

In February 2009 The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) presented its 21st annual Art Show to benefit the Henry Street Settlement, at the Seventh Regiment Armory, located between 66th and 67th Streets and Park and Lexington Avenues in New York City. The exhibition began as a historical homage to the original 1913 Armory Show. Starting with a small exhibition in 1994, by 2001, the "New" New York Armory Show, held in piers on the Hudson River, evolved into a "hugely entertaining" (New York Times) annual contemporary arts festival with a strong commercial bent. The 2008 and 2009 Armory Shows did not hold back on the more crude and vulgar works, which are not unknown for the show, which has been less tame in past years. With the 100th anniversary in 2013 on the immediate horizon it is possible that the centennial of the original Armory Show will be celebrated in the 21st century.

The Armory Show, The International Fair of New Art, is the largest contemporary art fair in New York, and one of the largest in the world. It originally started in 1994 as the Gramercy International Art Fair, an art fair held in the rooms of the Gramercy Hotel in New York City, and was founded by four art dealers: Colin De Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks and Paul Morris [1]. The fair quickly outgrew its location and became The Armory Show in February 1999. It was first held at the 69th Regiment Armory [2], the site of the legendary Armory Show of 1913 that introduced Modern art to America and for which it was named, and is now held annually in Pier 94 on New York City’s west side. In 2007, The Armory Show was bought by Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.[3]
The event, which lasts four days, has attracted crowds of up to 52,000 and reported sales of up to $85 million.[4] Due to The Armory Show’s success, a number of smaller fairs follow the same schedule. This, in conjunction with other institutions that also schedule special events at the same time, have led to the term “Armory Week.” [5]
Starting in 2002, The Armory Show has commissioned artists to provide visuals for the fair. These artists have included Karen Kilimnik (2002), Barnaby Furnas (2003), Lisa Ruyter (2004), Jockum Nordström (2005), John Wesley (2006), Pipilotti Rist (2007), John Waters and Mary Heilmann (2008), and British artist Ewan Gibbs[6] (2009).[7] In 2006 The Armory Show began publishing an annual series of prints by the commissioned artists to benefit the Pat Hearn and Colin de Land Cancer Foundation and the Pat Hearn and Colin de Land Acquisition Fund at The Museum of Modern Art.[5]

Some above information from Wikipedia All links remain active.

The Armory Show New York 2011 - Entry 1

In its thirteenth year the Armory Show Contemporary and the Armory Show Modern combined 270 plus galleries from around the world at its location at Pier 92 and Pier 92 on the Hudson River. The event lasted from February 28 thru March 6 and with some discipline you can see the show comfortably in two days.

“Art Week” New York, which the city will not officially call the event, includes many other venues in the city, which are called the “Armory Circle Events”. Countless VIP parties, private collection tours and other fairs including Critical Design NY, Fountain, Independent, Moving Image, PooL, Pulse, Red Dot, Scope, Verge and Volta. It’s almost impossible to see everything so you need to make some choices. We hit Pier 92 and 94 the first two days which is described as follows from the Armory website:

PIER 94 
MARCH 3 - 6, 2011
The Armory Show is America's leading fine art fair devoted to the most important art of the 20th and 21st centuries. In its eleven years, the fair has become an international institution. Every March, artists, galleries, collectors, critics and curators from all over the world make New York their destination during Armory Arts Week
PIER 92 
MARCH 3 - 6, 2011
The Armory Show – Modern is a section dedicated to international dealers specializing in historically significant Modern and contemporary art. With one admission ticket, visitors to The Armory Show on March 3 – 6, 2011 will now have access not only to the newest developments in the art world, but also to the masterpieces that heralded them.

Some of the above information was obtained from the Armory Show website at: