The ninth annual Armory Show opens at the West Side piers today, bringing 148 of the world's leading contemporary art galleries to Twelfth Avenue and 55th Street. (This is not to be confused with the Art Show, which is smaller and stodgier and opened yesterday at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue.) Yesterday was the press preview for the show, and New York art critic Karen Rosenberg was there. Her observations, in no particular order:
1. Stephen Shore's black-and-white photographs of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, at 303 Gallery, have all the charisma that's missing from Factory Girl — and they were captured by an original Factory Boy.
2. There's the obligatory but effective protest piece: Thomas Hirschorn's sculpture at Arndt & Partner, combining grotesque bulges of newspaper and packing tape with unedited photographs of deformed people.
3. The BritArt Neon Wars rage on: Martin Creed's succinct "SHIT" faces off against Tracy Emin's confessional cursive "People like you need to fuck people like me."
4. Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman's video installation at Lehmann Maupin shows a belly-dancing transvestite with some serious moves. It's the only genuinely funny piece here, and it's by an artist better known for epic documentaries.
5. There's a notable presence of spunky — and, by the look of their busy booths, successful — first-time exhibitors, like CANADA, Foxy Production, Harris Lieberman, and Wallspace. Not to mention a gallery from Cape Town, South Africa.
6. The guy inexplicably dressed like a cotton-candy-colored Robin Hood completes his ensemble with pink moccasin boots and a feather in his cap.
7. Troy Brauntuch's paintings of the Bank of New York and Merrill Lynch logos, at Zurich's Galerie Mai 36, are art tailor-made for the conference room — the perfect fit for a fair sponsored by a law firm.
CORRECTION, Feb. 23: The photos in Thomas Hirschorn's sculpture are of people with natural deformities, not deformities caused by war or terrorism, as this item initially said.