Now, with the small "One Hour/One Painting" workshop the only purpose of this long and arduous journey, I had serious second thoughts about undertaking it; and after agonizing for a while, came to the reluctant decision that it would be far wiser to cancel for this year and look forward to another opportunity in the future. So much of the morning was spent contacting my friends at the NAEA--I was truly sorry to be disappointing them--changing the travel itinerary with the airline, and making arrangements for two more nights in New York. None of which proved too easy, and involved much working through online menus and delayed responses. But by morning's end, the task was done and I felt at once relieved and much disappointed to have let some good people down.
Still, onward and upward--in this case via Yellow Cab to the Armory show down at Piers 52 and 54, where we arrived an hour later than planned and having missed the scheduled press conference. Still, my press pass assured us both access before the huge crowds descended, and we spent a good two hours wandering the aisles. Trouble with these big art fairs is that, with what must be hundreds of thousands of art works on display, they end up canceling each out. You don't go expecting to see "art", you go expecting to see product, indulge in commerce, and network with associates. For Ellie and myself, the highlights were the few moments of personal connection--with Cheryl Haines from San Francisco, who shows our old friend Patsy Krebs; and with Ron Feldman, whose booth was "best in show" so far as we were concerned, devoted to the subtle and engaging work of the late Terry Fox, an artist better known in Europe than the U.S., an important heir to John Cage and the Fluxus group.
|Andrew Ohanesian, "Urinal"|
To anyone who thinks it odd to find so modest, almost anonymous a piece singled out for attention in this report, let me just say that little else in the entire show spoke with this much originality and verve. It played with convention and art history, yes, but it substantially altered and challenged the convention--and in a thoroughly amusing and thought-provoking way. I wish there had been more such challenges to report upon. Perhaps there were. If so, I missed them. But that was the "Contemporary" wing of the Armory show. Ellie and I went on to the "Modern" wing and found there much to like, many old friends, the artists we "grew up with." We wondered if we were simply victims of the generation gap...
The wait for a taxi outside the exhibition halls, in the already cold winds arriving in the forefront of the coming storm--that was another story. Hundreds in line. Few cabs arriving, and too many of those that did taken by a single occupant. The crowd grew restless, talkative. By the time we reached the front of the line--it must have been close to an hour--we were all old chums, bidding each other congratulations and farewell. Back in our warm little apartment on the Upper West Side, we relaxed for a while watching news of the worsening weather, and wrapped up warm to venture out for dinner.