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abmb apparently stomping all over the rest of the art world

Post #494 • March 17, 2005, 5:08 PM • 14 Comments

Via Tyler Green - Chiore Sicha reviews the Armory Show; BBEdit counts the word Miami eight times.

"Everyone knows they didn't finalize their V.I.P. schedule until the last minute," said someone - after a few cocktails - who worked for the Armory Art Fair, at the end of last week's hard-drinking, flesh-pressing art marathon. "The reason everyone loves Miami is they have such good parties. This was such a ramshackle operation. The opening-night MoMA preview was a total bust. In Miami, they sold out opening night. But here, in the epicenter of the art world? Uh-uh. In Miami, it's a feeding frenzy."

Via Artnet news - the Seattle International Art Fair, slated for April, has been cancelled by its organizers, who had this to say: "While the support from Seattle Center, The City of Seattle, Governors [sic] Office and Seattle Tacoma area museums were [sic] high, the local galleries albeit [sic] a few failed to support the fair." An unnamed person quoted on their website added:

It is a shame to say that other gallerists were correct in their assumptions about Seattle and that regional collectors will have to continue their migration to New York, Miami and Europe to make purchases of what would have been available in their home town.

Caryn Coleman at

In case you live in an artworld whole, the Armory is this week. I'm not going to write much about it because, heck, I'm not there. I chose to stay in the warm weather and miss out of seeing what I mostly saw in Miami last December.

While a certain amount of soul-searching regarding Art Basel Miami Beach is appropriate, its impact has become indisputable.




March 18, 2005, 2:09 AM

Good to see you back. Sorry about your loss.

I don't have much to say about the fashion news. Maybe someine else will.



March 18, 2005, 2:54 AM

Unfortunately, its impact on the Miami art scene, except for the week of the fair, has so far been negligible, if not negative. Out-of-towners can be as impressed as they like by the goings-on of Basel week here, and no doubt the whole operation is very well run on its own terms, but it's still a brief alien visit, and it is NOT appreciably reflected in the rest of the local season, so far.



March 18, 2005, 3:35 PM

If I were living in Miami I'd look at a way to take advantage of these statements. "Take it any way you can get it" rules in the art world. Learn to love your Art Basel MIami show.

Another statement from the ARTNET NEWS site Franklin quoted above:

An ad hoc group of artists known as the Brainstormers has accused the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center of gender bias in the selection of artists for "Greater New York 2005," the high-profile show of younger artists that had its gala debut at the Long Island City museum on Mar. 15, 2005. Of the more than 160 artists in the show, 107 are men -- almost double the number of women selected for the exhibition.

"How did we become the minority in a show that markets itself as a prediction of the upcoming Public New York Art World?" asked the group, rhetorically. P.S.1 curator Klaus Biesenbach has the answer -- "Any discrepancy is due to the quality of the art..."

Don't some of you folks just love this statement? Perhaps the art you hate has met up with its anti-christ on our most recent Ides of march.



March 18, 2005, 4:03 PM

I'd have to see the show. It could be the worst of both worlds - people unable to see quality, plus gender bias.



March 18, 2005, 5:06 PM

And it could be no gender bias at all. .It is far more common these days to be biased against good art than any race or gender.

When I judge shows & portfolios I make an effort to not know anything about the artist until the selection is done. It only makes sense to do so, and it saves a lot of time defending against whatever bias people who don't get in come up with to throw at you

I think that until there is more infomation the guy should get the benefit of the doubt.


Todd W.

March 18, 2005, 5:24 PM

Oddly, I read "abmb" as mistyped "a bomb".



March 18, 2005, 5:37 PM

I did too, Tyler. I couldn't make sense of it at first.

A reference like this in small cap initials without periods or spacing is confusing.



March 18, 2005, 6:24 PM

I don't know how i got "Tyler" out of "Todd". Sorry!



March 18, 2005, 6:26 PM

I think this could be the worst art in Miami today. Warning: It is very bad



March 18, 2005, 8:13 PM

During 2004 I saw both the Armory and Miami Beach. (I didn't see this year's Armory show, having done plenty of art-related travelling last year to last me a while.) In terms of art, I think I'd give the edge to NY. I remember being impressed by more of the works I saw. Maybe it was the wide eyes of a first-time fair-goer, but even in hindsight, I think the works were generally good. (It was funny seeing a sculpture displayed there in NY that March, then later exhibited at Saatchi's place in July.)

But in terms of the fair itself, my goodness, hands-down Miami Beach was far more enjoyable, not least because Miami Beach itself was so much more lovely, but also because the convention center was a far superior venue.

The Armory show was cold outside (winter coats) but boiling inside (did I mention winter coats?). And cramped like a submarine. Holy cow. Freight elevators to take you from the street level to the pier. (In which we got stuck on the way between the two piers; having to find a ratty staircase and non-working escalator to eventually exit.) It was divided between two similarly horrid piers, with a city block of outdoor walking between them. The food court was a tiny cupboard of packaged salads and sammiches crammed all the way at the far end of Das Boot each pier, with scantly a seat in sight, many people sitting on the floor (practically sitting and eating among the art in the booths at the end of the two central rows).

On the other hand, MB was a joy to visit, a breeze to walk through, well lighted, with high ceilings, and a comfortable set of spaces and benches to relax, with decent food and at least some basic choice. Again, I'm not talking about the art, only the feeling I got from being in the space, and the experience of attending. Only the one corridor, along one wall in particular, where some new tar-coated Donald Sultans were hanging (inter al.), reminded me of the cramped quarters of the Armory show.



March 18, 2005, 8:27 PM

Hovig, that was astute and hilarious.

You may be on to something. Given that the level of the work is more or less equal, people are less likely to buy or otherwise interact if they're uncomfortable and crabby. ABMB seems to have solved a social engineering problem that the Armory hasn't figured out yet.

I wonder along with Jack, though, what might be done to pull up the other 51 weeks of the year.



March 18, 2005, 8:45 PM

Hovig, if the Armory show is as bad as you describe, the organizers must be pretty poor at their job. If they had no competition, that would be one thing, but they obviously do, certainly now. When you're only really after the well-heeled, you can't afford to make things this unappealing. Rich people want better, and they can sure as hell get it.



March 18, 2005, 8:56 PM

Franklin, I'm afraid nothing much will be done about the other 51 weeks. ABMB is now IT for the Miami art scene, and most people will continue putting most of their eggs (certainly the best eggs) in that basket. It may be justifiable on a purely pragmatic/business basis, but it may actually impoverish or weaken the rest of the year, as I think it already has.



March 18, 2005, 11:59 PM

Franklin, Jack,

The more I think about it, the more I think Armory's art was actually generally good. For example, I remember a large "photograph" (actually an elephantine and overpriced digital-photo exercise by one of those famous Young German Photographers) which look in retrospect almost similar to Jules Olitski's Drakely, as posted by Franklin earlier here. But what I remember is that it looked out of place, by which I mean it looked very unserious next to the rest of the art there.

That work was in view on a far wall as I noticed a lovely little print by Bridget Riley, and in another gallery, a substantial painting by Jim Dine (which I didn't care for, but which a member of my party greatly did), and thought the "photo" was silly in comparison.

(What I'm trying to say is, while I don't remember everything I saw that day, I do remember finding the "photographic" work to be the exception, and that the norm was much more substantial.)

I suspect the reason the Armory fair seemed careless next to Miami Beach because they figured people would come to see the art itself, no matter under what conditions. Last year they were right, but ABMB may now have changed that perception.

If we could have Armory's art in Miami Beach's venue, we'd have a real monster. Here's hoping both fairs influence each other to the positive.



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