The Week in Art: Armory Week Edition, With Patti Smith at Anthology Film Archives
The New York art world hits peak art fair.
Armory Week hit New York city like an art hurricane, bringing with it an onslaught of satellite fairs, exhibition openings, and, of course, parties. With so much going on, it’s impossible to see it all. That’s where artnet News steps in, with a full recap of the week’s highlights. Here they are:
Anthology Film Archives Benefit and Auction at Capitale
With a major expansion project in the works, Anthology Film Archives hosted its first gala in many a year, attracting a star-studded crowd to the Bowery on March 2. It was a meeting of New York’s art and film worlds: Greta Gerwig, Zosia Mamet, and Ellen Burstyn were all there representing Hollywood, while a benefit auction led by Simon de Pury featured work by Ai Weiwei, the duo of Rirkrit Tiravanija and Tomas Vu, and Cindy Sherman, among others.
In his remarks, 94-year-old AFA co-founder Jonas Mekas credited artists, rather than filmmakers, with supporting his vision of a library for independent cinema, pointing out that “Agnes Martin built what we have now.”
“It’s artists who brought us here,” he added. “With your help we’re going to finish it.”
Director John Waters also encouraged the crowd to chip in toward the fundraising efforts, saying “without you Anthology film is going to die and we need an underground now more than ever.”
“Anthology is to film what MoMA is to art,” Steve Buscemi added. “It is the cathedral to cinema.”
The first artwork of the night went to gallerist Edward Tyler Nahem, who bested an absentee bid with his $110,000 offer for Ed Ruscha’s Fade to Black. Julian Schnabel, Christian Marclay, and Buscemi all snapped up copies of an unlimited edition Chuck Close print of Mekas, priced at $5,000 each.
At one point, De Pury excitedly announced the chance to buy a commissioned work by Andres Serrano, represented by a portrait of Snoop Dogg (the hip hop star is “my ultimate hero,” said the auctioneer), only to have the image abruptly switched to a Serrano photo of Donald Trump. The crowd booed loudly, until De Pury convinced them to switch it back, and the lot sold for $20,000. All in all, $1.8 million was raised.
Patti Smith followed the auction with a live performance, memorably marking what would have been Lou Reed’s 75th birthday with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes.”
Smith ended the night with a rousing rendition of her 1988 song “People Have the Power,” with Stipe joining in on the choruses. By way of introduction, she encouraged the crowd to be political, and to act as “thorns in the side—just keep poking ’til they fucking bleed.”
The Armory Show VIP Preview at Pier 94 and Pier 92
The piers were undoubtedly the place to be on March 1, where fair director Benjamin Genocchio welcomed socialite-turned-fashion designer Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Sotheby’s Eric Shiner, collector Agnes Gund, the Studio Museum Harlem’s Thelma Golden, and artists Dustin Yellin, Kalup Linzy, and Patricia Cronin, among many, many others to see work from an astonishing 207 galleries.
Independent VIP Preview at Spring Studios
Another veritable art-world who’s who was the March 2 opening at the Independent, which welcomed artists TM Davy and Devan Shimoyama, Art Basel director Marc Spiegler, Artforum publisher Knight Landesman, Visionaire‘s Cecilia Dean, New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, Institute of Contemporary Art Miami chief curator and deputy director Alex Gartenfeld, collector Thea Wagner, and Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of New York’s New Museum.
ADAA Art Show Gala Preview at the Park Avenue Armory
Always the swankiest fair opening of the week, the ADAA Art Show attracted a predictably well-heeled crowd on February 28, thanks to the delicious bites and plentiful drinks, as well as its high-end blue-chip works. Spotted amid the aisles were actor and art collector Steve Martin, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg, Beth Rudin DeWoody, the Art Production Fund’s Yvonne Force Villareal, performer Justin Vivian Bond, and artists Tracey Emin, KAWS, and Marilyn Minter.
SPRING/BREAK Vernissage at 4 Times Square
The art fair for all the cool kids attracted no small number of in-the-know art world VIPs for its February 28 opening: gallerist Tony Shafrazi hadn’t even set foot in the door before he started buying $100 sculptures from the entryway installation by Greg Haberny, while art advisor Maria Brito bluntly commanded me to leave the room so I wouldn’t appear in her mirrored selfie with the work of Jonathan Rosen.
With PULSE Art Fair jettisoning its New York edition to focus on its bigger Miami fair, director Helen Toomer was also on hand, perhaps scouting for fresh artistic and curatorial talent. And on the celebrity side, former Mad Men star John Slattery and Michael Stipe were both spotted wandering the maze that is the old Vanity Fair offices.
I arrived early in the afternoon, sharing an elevator with collector Anita Zabludowicz and her daughters, Tiffany and Olivia. By nightfall, the line for VIP entry stretched around the block, proving that the affordable, often outrageous work at the curator-driven fair has hit on a winning formula.
Bronx Museum Gala: Get Down and AIM High at the Hotel Conrad
The Bronx Museum raised nearly $975,000 at its spring gala on February 27. Alan Siegel and Grandmaster Flash were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards, while the museum also recognized the achievements of artist and curator alumni of its Artist in the Marketplace program: artists Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Grimanesa Amoros, Deborah Buck, Abigail DeVille, Byron Kim, and Erik Parker, and curators Laura Hoptman and Lydia Yee. Guests included director Holly Block and Tom Finkelpearl, head of New York’s Cultural Affairs Department.
In Flex We Trust, Sean Kelly and Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray’s Armory Week Party at Sean Kelly Gallery
Sean Kelly hosted an epic dance battle, featuring the contortionist marvels of “Flex dance,” at his gallery on March 2. The cross-cultural celebration of art, music, and social activism—the gallery is also hosting a Flex dance fundraiser on the 12th—was co-hosted by Flex dance pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, and was sponsored by Absolut Elyx.
Guests, who were invited to take to the floor themselves after witnessing the competitor’s moves, included the Jewish Museum’s JiaJia Fei, designer Coco Dotson, and artists Hugo McCloud, Joseph Kosuth, and Diana Fonseca Quinoñes.
VERSIONS 2017 at the New Museum
NEW INC and Kill Screen hosted their second annual conference on virtual reality on February 25. After a full day of panel discussions, featuring speakers from Lucasfilm, NASA, and the Sundance Institute and ending with a keynote by Cory Doctorow, the conference concluded with an after party at the Ace Hotel.
Armory Show Collectors’ Dinner Co-Hosted by Town & Country at Hearst Tower
An intimate affair atop the Hearst Tower saw the Armory’s Ben Genocchio, Deborah Harris, and Nicole Berry welcome Performa’s RoseLee Goldberg, gallerist Kamel Mennour, curator Jarrett Gregory, artists Sebastian Errazuriz, Patricia Cronin, and Deborah Kass for the fair’s exclusive collectors’ dinner on February 28.
The Armory Party 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art
The lobby was the place to be at MoMA’s annual Armory Party on March 1. I ventured upstairs to see “Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction,” closing March 19, and was treated to a completely empty gallery.
Meanwhile, drink flowed and the crowd danced down below, rocking out to the tunes of DJ Helado Negro. It was only Wednesday, but by the time St. Lucia took to the stage for a live performance, I was long gone, exhausted by the endless crush of art and events that is Armory Week.
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