Category: Armory-palooza

The banality of public monuments: Miguel Andrade Valdez on Lima.

Untitled - Monumento Series, by Miguel Andrade Valdez.

Not wanting to ever be accused of producing timely coverage on this blog, I wanted to take a minute to ruminate on a video by Miguel Andrade Valdez I saw in Galería Revolver‘s booth at the Armory Show last month. It dovetails perfectly with my current Peru obsession, as well as my continuing interest in supremely absurd public works. In fact, recently, I’ve been immersed in photographer Mario Silva’s book Lords, Pyramids and Replicas: Images from the North Coast of Peru, in which he chronicles the influence of pre-Columbian art in contemporary architecture. If you’re into vernacular everything, his book is an absolutely stunning documentation of blended styles and motifs — from Moche forms to graceful Art Deco to that school of design a friend of mine lovingly refers to as “the South American bizarre.” Plus: it contains a two-page spread on bizarre traffic circle sculptures in northern Peru.

Which brings me right back around to the Armory: Andrade Valdez’s video Untitled - Monumento Series is a chaotic, rapid-fire visual compendium of the monuments that occupy Lima’s traffic circles and pedestrian malls. They range from the forgotten to the futurist, the Spanish Mediterranean to the brutal, the Modernist to the I-don’t-know-what. (Check out the weird blue things at about 2:50. They re-emerge later in the video as well.) Interestingly, in looking at all of this, the trapezoid emerges as a very popular shape — perhaps because it’s cheap and easy to construct (and resistant to earthquakes), perhaps because it’s a common motif in pre-Columbian Peruvian architecture. Also popular: brutalism. Of all of the monuments shown, my favorite have to be the bizarre pipe organ thingies, shown in the image above, which appear to be a decorative collaboration between various Soviet bloc architects and the guys in charge of the local water authority.

If you’re into all things design, consider watching Andrade’s video more than once. He has turned up some amazing stuff — a fantastic tribute to all of the things in our landscape we might see but rarely take the time to examine.

Find Miguel Andrade Valdez’s website here. Special thanks to Carlos Díaz at Ojjo for the tip on Mario Silva’s book.


The Figure in Contemporary Art: Armory Show Edition.

The Armory Show provided the perfect location in which to scope out some works for my series on the figure in contemporary art (see parts one and two). Above, Marc Quinn’s Michael Jackson, from 2010, at Thaddaeus Ropac. A classical take on a fallen icon — reminding me of Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons, except naked.

Pieter Hugo, Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Asaba, Nigeria, 2007, at Yossi Milo. I was blown away by this series of photographs by Hugo when they came out, and it was nice to see a large print in person. The fair was heavy on photojournalism, especially series that deal with Africa.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2010, at Lisson. True to my Midwestern roots, I wore blue jeans and a white T-shirt to the Armory… Now, thanks to Anish Kapoor’s reflective tendencies, you’ll all know about my child-bearing hips and incredible forearms. There was an abundance of mirrors, mirror finishes, and reflective plastics at the fair.

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Art Fairs: Super quick update.

Volta is meh. But if you’re there, head straight for Steve Turner Contemporary’s booth which has this piece by Deborah Grant. It is pretty dang epic, charting the all-kinds-of-tragic life of painter William H. Johnson in a series of illustrations that creep out from the center. Click on the image to supersize. Click here to see a detail. (Photo by C-M.)


Imagined Artist Vacations: Christopher K. Ho at Pulse.

& Leisure, Christopher K. Ho’s project for the artiste with wanderlust. (Photos by C-M.)

When I’m not not making a living as a blogger, I spend a fair amount of time doing travel writing (a genre that is as sublimely ridiculous as arts writing). Which is why Christopher K. Ho’s travel-related project at the booth manned by Mexico City’s EDS Galería, at the Pulse NY art fair, caught my eye. In it, Ho’s fictional travel consultancy, & Leisure, plans vacation itineraries for well-known artists. Suggested trip for Barbara Kruger: a shopping excursion in Dubai. Olafur Eliasson gets blasted off into space for a zero-gravity flight experience. And the naughty Santiago Sierra is dispatched off to Rome for a session with the Pope.

You can view the entire project at the Winkleman Gallery, where it initially debuted in 2007. (Boy, am I timely, or what?) Better yet, scroll down for a few of my pix from Ho’s installation at Pulse.

Click on images to supersize.

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Volta NY: Marilyn Manson meets tacos meets Dr. Seuss.

Fly away: Detail of a photograph by Rina Castelnuovo at the Andrea Meisler Gallery at Volta. (Photos by C-M.)

It’s Friday and I have an imminent appointment to go get my drink on. So, without much commentary, and further ado, are photos from Volta NY, where there were wonderful photos by Rina Castelnuovo, fascinating videos by Regina Jose Galindo and some creeped-out paintings by Marilyn Manson — not to mention one seriously bizarre-looking hammock. Sadly, this year, there was no pop tart of evil.

The show is up through 9 p.m. on Sunday. 

Click on images to supersize. Way more after the jump.

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Scoping Scope. (After this, I promise, no more pun heads.)

I’ll have what she’s having. A detail of an installation by Camille Rose Garcia at Jonathan LeVine’s booth at Scope. (Photos by C-M.)

Knowing that life as we once knew it is, like, totally over, it was reassuring to visit Scope on opening night and see the place totally hopping. A real improvement from last year when everything seemed kinda humdrum. Unfortunately, no one was giving out Twinkies or Devil Dogs (though there was some sculpture made with food), but it was a good time nonetheless — part of which had to do with the generously-poured shot of bourbon I’d inhaled at J. Mac‘s prior to my tour of the fair.

On a somewhat related note… I have two words for all of these fair operators, especially the ones located in the boonies: TACO. TRUCKS. I’ve had it with slimy chef’s salads and soggy turkey wraps. Bring on the carne asada. Or do like the Queens Museum of Art and get a Vendy Award-winning pupusa cart. Cheap food can be good.

Scope is open through 7 p.m. on Sunday. 

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