10 Artists You Have To See At This Year’s Armory Show

Nam June Paik, ‘Megatron Matrix’, photo courtesy of Ryan Somma

 

The Armory is basically the Coachella of the art world – well, sans the ecstasy and the floral headbands. But anyone who’s anyone (or has ever been at some point in time) will gather at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan to browse New York’s largest art fair and see work from both emerging and legendary global artists.

Since that can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve done you a solid and put together a list of 10 artists you won’t want to miss at this year’s show. Trust us.

 

Douglas Coupland at Daniel Faria

 

‘Tsunami Chest,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery

 

Postmodern artist and fiction author Douglas Coupland is known for subverting pop culture and military imagery, in part due to his time growing up in a military family throughout the Cold War. Fascinated by Andy Warhol and the whole Pop Art movement, Coupland explores the darker side of popular culture through installation and sculpture.

Gilbert & George at Ropac

 

‘Beardache,’ 2016, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Collaborative art duo Gilbert & George are known for their highly formalized performance art practice, as well as their, um, not so formal photography work. Their ongoing photo series, referred to as The Pictures, features large scale back-lit images of everything from skinheads to semen, and a whole lot of beards.

 

Kyle Meyer at Yossi Milo

 

From ‘Interwoven,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Kyle Meyer is a photographer, sculptor and mixed media artist who uses digital photography and a variety of handmade techniques, such as weaving, to explore connectivity in the digital age. For his series, Interwoven, Meyer hand-wove over photographs to celebrate flamboyance, homosexuality and femme-identifying men in a hyper-masculine culture.

 

Cammie Staros at Shulamit Nazarian

 

‘All Quiver and Shake,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Sculptor Camme Staros creates handmade objects that juxtapose modernism with antiquity and craft. Joining traditional materials like clay and ceramics with modern details like neon and steel, Staros examines the “semiotic systems” that have been “created and reinforced throughout art history.”

 

Etel Adnan at Gallery Continua

 

‘Five Senses for One Death,’ 1969, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Lebanese-American poet, writer and painter Etel Adnan crafts abstract oil paintings and landscapes inspired by Japanese leporellos that extend into space “like free-hand drawings.” In 2014, Adnan’s work was also included in the Whitney Biennial.

 

Nam June Paik at Gagosian

 

‘Lion,’ 2005, photo courtesy of Gagosian

 

Probably the most exciting artist on this list (at least for us), Nam June Paik is credited with being the founder of video art. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Paik began his career as a musician as part of the Fluxus movement in 1960. After moving to New York in 1964, he began experimenting with film, combining his musical works with video sculptures constructed of wire and metal. Before his death in 2006, Paik was known as an early adopter of technology, including his famous robots built of out multiple computers. In fact, he’s also credited with using the term “electronic super highway” as early as 1974. Damn.

 

Alicja Kwade at i8 Gallery

 

‘Computer (Power Mac),’ 2017, photo courtesy of i8 Gallery

 

Polish artist Alicja Kwade works in sculpture, installation, photography and film. Throughout all of her work, however, she likes to play with value systems, transforming useless materials like wood or glass into high value pieces of art.

 

Jinshi Zhu at Pearl Lam

 

‘A Tiger Shaped Tally,’ 2016, photo courtesy of Pearl Lam Gallery

 

Painter Jinshi Zhu creates abstract oil paintings focused on texture, through endless layers of color and paint. Inspired by the German Expressionist movement and their unconventional techniques, Zhu often creates these layers using a spatula or shovel.

 

The Haas Brothers at R & Company

 

‘Socrata Floor Lamps and Furries’, photo courtesy of the artists

 

Twins Nikolai and Simon Haas have worked in pretty much every medium, from music and film to installation and visual art. Now focused mostly on their sculpture and installation work, The Haas Brothers highlight themes including sexuality, science fiction, psychedelia and politics.

Jeffrey Gibson at Roberts Projects

 

‘Power Power Power,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Roberts Projects

 

Artist Jeffrey Gibson relates his experience as a Native American growing up in a Western culture into large scale paintings and woven sculpture. Also inspired by dance and movement, from pow-wows to nightclubs and the work of Leigh Bowery, Gibson examines nostalgia, heritage and pre-colonized Native American life.

 

Oh, and if looking at all this great art makes you hungry, check out our guide to The Armory’s pop-up restaurants.

 

Thai Rap, Shirtless Bartenders, and High Art: SculptureCenter Celebrates Its 2013 Gala

From behind the grey-flecked dome of Fred Wilson’s hair, I spy a troop of Thai men clad in double-denim, sucking on e-cigarettes. The stoic backing crew is fronted by artist Korakrit Arunanondchai who, shirtless beneath a denim jacket, is rapping about Bangkok; every now and then he spins around and flaunts a sort of Christ-on-the-cross pose. Smoke machines are working overtime. This performance—which began with Arunanondchai milling around the room, counting from zero toward one hundred while his video Painting W/ History In A Roomful of Men With Funny Names 2 played on an enormous projection screen—is the centerpiece of SculptureCenters annual gala, held at Edison Ballroom in Manhattan. Galas traditionally have a high awfulness potential (roomfuls of rich people chowing down on airplane food) but SculptureCenter knows how to throw a party: You get a buff male model to serve vodka drinks out of an ice sculpture by Anicka Yi; offer limited edition artworks for prices that even art journalists might ponder; and you finish the night with drunken karaoke.

Last year’s gala celebrated gallerist Paula Cooper, with newly minted superstar Christian Marclay performing an experimental DJ set. For 2013, one of the honorees was a bit closer to home: artist Fred Wilson, who also happens to be the President of SculptureCenter’s Board of Trustees. (Wilson is generous with his time: He’s also on the board of Creative Capital and Skowhegan. “As much as Fred loves objects and materials,” said SculptureCenter director Mary Ceruti, “he also loves institutions.) The second honoree was curator Susanne Ghez, formerly of the Renaissance Gallery at the University of Chicago—where she worked on major exhibitions by the likes of Paul Chan, Pierre Huyghe, Franz West, and Daniel Buren—now an adjunct curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.

After the speeches and Arunanondchai’s aforementioned performance, everyone was free to mingle upstairs. The wildly creative team from Vanity Project offered free nail art—a friend showed me some samples, including one hilariously derived from Dale Chihuly’s kitschy blown-glass ceiling sculpture at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Guests could ponder, perhaps a bit more drunkenly now, the range of limited editions from Michael DeLucia, Nikolas Gambaroff, and Valerie Snobeck. (Respectively: Handsomely carved and painted hunks of wood; a tiny bronze pinecone; series of deconstructed Depression-era glassware.) The night ended with a karaoke session helmed by Mariah Robertson, in a side ballroom whose aesthetic was charmingly out-of-touch with the current decade.

You may have missed the party, but don’t miss upcoming programming at SculptureCenter itself, including exhibitions in November from Agnieszka Kurant and Tue Greenfort. And in excellent news: The institution has scored a rebranding for its street in Long Island City. Purves Street—which always made us think of Pervert’s Street, clearly—will soon be known as Sculpture Street.

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A shirtless model mans Anicka Yi’s vodka-dispensing ice sculpture.

 

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Honoree Fred Wilson with SculptureCenter director Mary Ceruti.

 

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A few works from the limited benefit edition by Valerie Snobeck.

Main image: Korakrit Arunanondchai and friends performing for the dinner crowd.

Images: Leandro Justen/ BFAnyc.com

Jon Hamm Hangs Out With Elmo, Talks About Sculptures

The offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are back open for a sixth season, but when he’s not drinking cocktails on the beach and reading Dante or promoting a line of cameras, Don Draper sometimes hangs out with the kids’ educational TV set. Jon Hamm, everyone’s favorite ad man / distinguished University of Missouri alumnus / conversation-starter about the highly gendered objectifying nature of the media, appeared on Sesame Street yesterday to help his buddy Elmo teach viewers about the word "sculpture."

The rather unprepared Hamm has the task of distracting the audience while Elmo finishes his self-portrait rendered in hammer and chisel, showing off different examples of the art form (including some very heavy metal). He explains the word very well, and, as with his appearances on 30 Rock and other more adult shows, commits wonderfully to physical comedy and slapstick. What’s strange about it though is that although he clearly conveys the idea of a sculpture, he mentions getting a hernia, which, like, would he have to explain what a hernia is to a preschooler? Will there be a follow-up episode? Anyway, watch below, especially if you’re in need of a good laugh today.