Art Dispatch: NYC Armory Show
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FROM LEFT: Michael Vasquez’s Untitled, 2011; Bert Rodriguez’s The True Artist Makes Useless Shit For Rich People To Buy, 2008
“Why did Emmanuel Perrotin leave Miami? Why did Kevin Bruk close his gallery?” Snitzer continues rhetorically, referring to the Wynwood departures of his former Basel-booth neighbors. “You can’t run a gallery on five collectors. You have to get your artists out of Miami.” To that end, his own 2011 itinerary includes manning booths at art fairs in Aspen, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Rio. “You take it on the road. This is the game we’ve chosen to play.”
In downtown Manhattan, at the Pulse art fair booth of Wynwood’s Dorsch gallery, the attitude was brighter—but the gallery’s directors, Brook and Tyler Emerson-Dorsch, used the same vocabulary. “We’ve just begun the art fair game,” explains Tyler Emerson-Dorsch. “But even if we didn’t sell anything, it’s worth it just to get the name of our artists out.” Fortunately, it hadn’t come to that. A striking cyanotype by Brian O’Connell had several collectors clamoring over it—“We could’ve sold it eight times over”—while Miami art advisor Lisa Austin was admiring several sculptures by Robert Thiele, each smaller than the towering monoliths he’s become known for, but with carved-out compartments no less hauntingly eerie. Austin’s own take on the fair circuit? “If you want to be big in Miami, you have to get out of Miami,” she agrees.
And the artists themselves? Back at The Armory Show, Miami sculptor Daniel Arsham was spotted wandering the aisles with a dazed look in his eyes. “I have no idea where I am,” he chuckles, thankfully seizing upon my booth layout map. He’d set up Snarkitecture, his studio, in New York. And while that made it much easier to install his creepy, wall-enveloped mannequin inside his Dutch dealer’s booth, it also meant he was expected to put in some face time out on the floor. With its sticker price of $45,000, collectors were more than a little interested in the man behind the mannequin. “It’s the same people as Art Basel,” Arsham says with a shrug. He studies the map, brightening as he plots his exit. “I’m really looking forward to the day when I never have to go to an art fair again.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID WILLEMS; COURTESY OF THE ARMORY SHOW (TOP); COURTESY OF DORSCH GALLERY (BOTTOM)