Best of The Armory Art Fair 2014 Edition

Maria-Brito-Best-of-Armory-2014.jpg

I can’t believe how art fairs have proliferated and grown in the past few years. A little more than a week ago I saw a massive contemporary art fair in Madrid when I visited ARCO and only two days ago I attended the VIP Preview of The Armory Show.  The Armory Show is one of the oldest New York City art fairs and the center of the “Armory Arts Week” showing a vast selection of extraordinary contemporary and modern art. Piers 92 and 94 on 12th Avenue host galleries from all over the world and welcome specific sections that have a determined focus.  This year the focus was China and 2014 also marks the inaugural edition of Armory Presents, an expanded and re-branded take on solo projects dedicated to single artist presentations usually exhibited by young galleries.

Because I see so much art all the time, I decided to curate here what I really liked but taking into consideration common trends in the contemporary art market right now.

DETAILS AND UP CLOSE APPRECIATION 

Massive, big, impactful art pieces have always been my thing.  And art collectors value that.  But I have been noticing a trend where people have to get up close to appreciate tiny details and create certain level of intimacy with the art piece.  And I'm really loving that.  

The three images above are from the solo installation of small scale pieces by Japanese artist Atsushi Kaga with Irish gallery Mother's Tankstation. They all revolve around the bunny which is an alter ego of the artist and a set of imaginary friends depicted as characters.  Some of the pieces are funny, some ironic, some are very, very smart.  This installation and the individual pieces were truly favorites of mine.

Simon Evan's Yantra's Diptych with James Cohan Gallery

People had to come really close to appreciate the details of this amazing piece, where Simon hand wrote each word and cut each piece of paper.  

LARGE SCALE SCULPTURES 

I think every art collection should have sculptures in it.  Size, however, matters a lot because of a very simple reason: while canvases or wall pieces of large scale can be placed in most homes or apartments, a giant sculpture cannot.  I still loved appreciating the detail and originality of many of these pieces.

 These were my favorite sculptures, each of them made of clothing pieces by LA-based artist Aiko Hachisuka. 

These were my favorite sculptures, each of them made of clothing pieces by LA-based artist Aiko Hachisuka. 

 Swedish artist Cajsa von Zeipel edgy sculptures made of a combined mix of styrofoam, jesmonite, and plaster. 

Swedish artist Cajsa von Zeipel edgy sculptures made of a combined mix of styrofoam, jesmonite, and plaster. 

 Nick Cave and his amazing sculptures never cease to amaze me

Nick Cave and his amazing sculptures never cease to amaze me

 Massive clouds created by Inigo Manglano-Ovalle made in fiberglass are light enough to be hung, despite their impressive size

Massive clouds created by Inigo Manglano-Ovalle made in fiberglass are light enough to be hung, despite their impressive size

LIGHTBOXES

The use of electricity in art is nothing new, like I explored in this post here or here. However, I saw a specific trend where lightboxes are used to create something more subtle, where the electrical component isn't overwhelming and doesn't take over.  The electrical part of these artworks feels more like an enhancement rather than becoming the main component of the piece.

 Spencer Finch's gorgeous light box kept me staring at it for a long time

Spencer Finch's gorgeous light box kept me staring at it for a long time

 I have always coveted Airen Kang's "electrical books".  They can be charged and then unplugged so that they don't always depend on a power outlet.

I have always coveted Airen Kang's "electrical books".  They can be charged and then unplugged so that they don't always depend on a power outlet.

SCULPTURAL WALL PIECES 

The creation of a wall piece where there are sculptural elements in it whether it is a canvas, a wood panel, a piece of foam or even paper, is becoming very strong. I would venture to say this is the most dominant trend that is enticing collectors, museum curators and critics right now.

 Jason Martin's pigment on aluminium piece is a clear winner and an excellent example of the sculptural wall piece trend

Jason Martin's pigment on aluminium piece is a clear winner and an excellent example of the sculptural wall piece trend

 German artist Gelitin's piece was a favorite of mine

German artist Gelitin's piece was a favorite of mine

 New York-based Natalie Frank's amazing wood panel had knobs, hinges and doors

New York-based Natalie Frank's amazing wood panel had knobs, hinges and doors

 Jose Lerma's piece was another attention-gatherer artwork that caught the eyes of many collectors 

Jose Lerma's piece was another attention-gatherer artwork that caught the eyes of many collectors 

 Dwyer Kilcollin's pieces were made with a combination of silica, glass, feldspar, granite, urethane and bronze.  

Dwyer Kilcollin's pieces were made with a combination of silica, glass, feldspar, granite, urethane and bronze.