What to Look For, What to Buy at the Armory Show 2014

Twenty years after its founding, the Armory Show is still going strong, anchoring the busiest week of the year on the New York art world’s calendar. As returning visitors to the piers know all too well, it doesn’t take long to reach your saturation point for visual stimuli as you trek up and down the aisles, so it pays to plan your route and aim for specific booths. To aid you in that endeavor, here are what some of our favorite dealers will be bringing to this week’s biggest fair.

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Thornton Dial, Master of Space, 2004. (Courtesy Andrew Edlin Gallery.)

Andrew Edlin Gallery (Pier 92, booth 302): Thornton Dial, Master of Space (2004).

The renowned self-taught artist will dominate Andrew Edlin’s booth with this nine-foot-wide, seven-foot-tall mixed media piece that functions as both a painting and a bas-relief sculpture made up of found objects, including fake flowers, neckties, and dirt.

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Scott Treleaven, Furthur, 2013. (Courtesy Invisible-Exports.)

Invisible-Exports (Pier 94, booth 778): Scott Treleaven, Furthur (2013).

This Lower East Side standby will be presenting a solo booth by Scott Treleaven featuring his abstractions on paper, all of which incorporate collage techniques and are generated by either an image or a text. “Further is based on Ken Kesey’s psychedelic descriptions,” gallery co-director Benjamin Tischer explains. “I’ve been referring to it as Scott’s ‘American drawing,’ though both he and the piece are Canadian in origin.”

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McArthur Binion, DNA Study: VI, 2014. (Photo: Joseph Rynkiewicz. Image courtesy Kavi Gupta CHICAGO | BERLIN.)

Kavi Gupta (Pier 94, booth 608): McArthur Binion, DNA Study: VI (2014).

The Chicago mega-gallery stole the entire Armory Show last year, at least judging by social media, with Tony Tasset’s hyper-realistic snowman sculpture. This year Kavi Gupta is taking a more subdued route with Binion’s abstract, mixed media and laser print collage compositions. Though their forms and palette may be more sober, Binion’s panels are still eight feet tall.

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Mark Francis, The Evidence Of Absence (2014).
Courtesy the artist, Kerlin Gallery.

Kerlin Gallery (Pier 94, booth 808): Mark Francis, The Evidence Of Absence (2014).

The Dublin-based gallery’s Armory Show booth will be dramatically divided by this ominous scrim—made up of wire mesh, aluminum wire, electrical and nylon cables, glass beads, and wooden balls—casting cryptic shadows over neighboring works.

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Kim Jones, Doll House, 1974-2013. (Courtesy Pierogi.)

Pierogi (Pier 94, booth 752): Kim Jones, Doll House (1974-2013).

They say the best gifts are handmade, in wich case Kim Jones’s Doll House might just be the best gift a son has ever given his mother. He made it for her in 1974, and, over the past four decades, has done some rather extensive remodeling and painting. “As with many of Kim’s drawings and sculpture, he later re-worked it,” explains Pierogi co-director Susan Swenson. “Some of the pieces he’s done he began as early as age 14, kept them, and later went back to them so they evolve over time.”

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William Powhida, How to Try and Be OK with the Contemporary Art Market, 2014. (Courtesy Postmasters.)

Postmasters (Pier 94, booth 760): William Powhida, How to Try and Be OK with the Contemporary Art Market (2014).

Never one to miss an opportunity to speak truth to the art world, Powhida has drawn up one of his ascerbic checklist pieces (although, somewhat uncharacteristically, this one is a painting) just in time for Armory Week—and ahead of his solo show at the Tribeca gallery this spring. Among the nuggets of wisdom overwhelmed fair-goers might take to heart: “Don’t worry about staggering prices, they really don’t concern you,” and “Listen to the sales people! They are experts.”

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David Wojnarowicz,
Untitled (Man with Rifle), 1983. (Courtesy PPOW and the Estate of David Wojnarowicz.)

PPOW (Pier 94, booth 755): David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Man with Rifle) (1983).

This bright, vivid, and violent mural by the late artist hasn’t been seen since it was first exhibited at Gracie Mansion Gallery in 1983. It will be hard to miss at the Armory Show—it measures rougly nine feet by nine feet.

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Laurent Grasso, Studies into the past, 2014.
Courtesy Valentin, Paris.

Valentin (Pier 94, booth 857): Laurent Grasso, Studies into the past (2014).

The Parisian gallery will be showing three new miniature paintings that Grasso created in collaboration with professional art restorers to replicate the iconography and spatial dynamics of pre-Renaissance art. Each of the tiny, playful oil-on-panel pieces depict a disaster of biblical proportions; in this a meteorite seems to have collided with the earth, leaving a city in ruins.