The Armory Show Is a Wreck

THE DAILY PIC: A car crash by Jonathan Schipper is the fair's iconic work.


(Courtesy Jonathan Schipper and Pierogi Gallery)

THE DAILY PIC (#1504): The fair is literally a wreck. An ongoing one.

Its most telling work may be a sculptural installation wherein a real Volkswagen Golf is ever so slowly ramming itself into a solid wall, crushing its front end over the course of the next few days. (Thanks to a pneumatic mechanism hidden below it). The piece is by Jonathan Schipper, and it’s being presented by Pierogi, the pioneering Williamsburg gallery that has now opened on New York’s Lower East Side. (Click on my image to see time-lapse footage of Schipper’s Slow Motion Car Crash in its original presentation in Newcastle-on-Tyne, in the U.K.)

Like all good art, this work makes sure to get its smallest details right. I love the fact that there’s a Dartmouth College sticker on the back window – art-fair art and the Ivy League have long been brothers in status – and of course we all know how VW loves to borrow prestige from the art events it sponsors. (Although, with the current scandals around its faked emission results, some wise non-profits may be thinking twice about taking its money.)

Does the slowly crashing car stand for art coming up, hard, against the market?

For the artist-dealer relationship? (As seen from either side.)

For the grieving critic’s encounter with the immovable reality of the art fair?

For the state of the entire planet with humans at the wheel?


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