Momin thrives on the sleepless pursuit of the next best relational aesthetic. Between January and August of last year, while scouting artists with Huldisch, she was in her Union Square apartment a total of 28 days, she says. She has a reputation in the art world for partying as hard as she works—to which she responds: “You are never really out of the office in the art world. I mean, you obviously are literally. But it’s a community.” Later, she returns to the subject: “When it’s not just an object, how I am supposed to understand that if I don’t experience it? The embrace of locality is part of the work. It’s so easy to hear it as, ‘You like to party.’ ”
Embrace of locality is another way of saying, you know who you know. Networks and communities are also cliques and scenes. And this, of course, is one of the biggest gripes with any Biennial, that artist a or b was selected because he is with x or y gallery or knows this or that curator. Where, people wonder, is that self-taught artist who mailed in slides from Alabama?
The last big happening at the Armory was Aaron Young’s motorcycle-painting performance—bikers screeching back and forth over panels, leaving art in their skid marks. Some found it a little much: the Tom Ford sponsorship, the invitation-only glitz, the Jackson Pollock analogies, the carbon monoxide.
This time things are more democratic. Anyone so inclined can register at the Armory for Snow’s dance marathon or for Haeg’s animal-movement schoolhouse or drop by Sarabia’s bar for a shot. It won’t be quite the same as sipping tea with Haeg in his geodesic dome (which he has put up for sale, anyway), but it could be as close to being there as you’ll get.