The Armory Show opened last night with a private viewing at Pier 94 and a party — well, there was a bar and some undertipped bartenders — for the art world and its lackeys. It was a private benefit for MoMA and P.S. 1, and there were fashion editors with tans and strange hats, artists with all sorts of accents, and dapper Bill Cunningham snapping photos of gallery workers. People milled around the bar and through the vast expanse of art, and there was a lot of chitchat about performance artist Marina Abramovic's 60th-birthday party, coming up on Saturday night. (Apparently she's been sleeping on a whole bunch of peppers, which will no doubt be incorporated into a sauce or a centerpiece for the 350-plus guests.) But the highlight of the evening was a garbage truck — a 28-foot, 12-ton New York City sanitation truck, the front painted white, the mammoth sides covered with mirrors. "I want people to see themselves in the frame of this trash truck," said artist Mieles Laderman Ukeles. "It doesn't belong to the sanitation workers. We are all in this together." Ukeles calls her beast of a piece The Social Mirror, and she has a thing for trash: In 1978 she did a project called Touch Sanitation, in which she shook the hands of 8,500 sanitation workers. "It took eleven months," she told us. "I thought it would take three." —Emma Pearse
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."