Photography at the 2012 Armory Show

In previous years, my review of the photography at the Armory Show has required a handful of posts, breaking the fair up into smaller, more easily digestible chunks, since there was so much to write about. This year, I have collapsed all of the data into one single mega-post, the entire experience boiled down to something you can read in a few minutes. The reason I have chosen this approach is that for the first time in my many years of attending this fair, I was generally underwhelmed by what I saw on offer.

Taking pot shots at art fairs is far too easy to be any fun, and I have long been one of the few hold outs who actually enjoys the process of wandering through the bazaar, poking my head into booth after booth in search of something exciting hiding on an interior side wall. Perhaps it is because I already see so much here in New York that I felt that a spark was somehow missing this time; I bounced along the hallways, dutifully making my notes, but mostly nodding my head and moving along rather than digging in to engage the gallery owners. The fact that I could systematically cover the entire fair (both Piers) in just under two and half hours is proof that I didn’t stop much to inquire more. I would hate to feel like I’d seen it all before, but that was certainly part of my reaction this year.

The second part of my conclusion was that I saw much more clearly a focus on what was sellable. For many of the non-photography specialist venues, I think the mantra was, when in doubt, put up a Cindy Sherman. From an economic standpoint, this makes complete sense – cover the walls of your booth with art that will sell (and sell for high prices) to ensure that you cover your costs of renting the space and doing all the work the fair entails; hopefully you’ll sell a few pieces, meet some new collectors/clients, and come out ahead. The challenge is that if every gallery operates in this same manner, the fair takes on a quality of sameness that becomes dull. The richness of a fair comes in its diversity and risk taking, which is potentially at odds with maximizing profits. As I traveled the crowded halls, I felt the pressure of this commercial push and pull much more acutely than I had before. Of course, none of this is news, I just noticed it more than usual this year.

In any case, my notes from the fair are below, grouped by Pier and arranged by my path through the halls. For each booth, a list of photographers has been provided, with the number of works on display in parentheses. Additional commentary, prices, and pictures of the installation are also included in the slideshow.

Christian Larsen Gallery (here): Charlotte Gyllenhammer (1), Joakim Eneroth (1). I liked the crisp abstract geometries of this series of red Swedish buildings by Eneroth. A monograph of the work is being published by Steidl. The print was priced at $10000.

Gallery Niklas Belenius (here): Leif Elggren (1 set of 18), Miriam Bäckström (2). There were two of these circular portraits by Bäckström in this booth. I was told the subjects are famous theater actors, but what I found intriguing was the heavy mirrored framing, tinted to match the photograph. The works were priced at $40000 each.

Cardi Black Box (here): Shirana Shahbazi (1 diptych). I have been hearing more about this Iranian photographer’s work lately, but haven’t actually seen much of it in person. This diptych was priced at 25000€.

Sprüth Magers (here): Louise Lawler (1), Cindy Sherman (3), Peter Fischli and David Weiss (3), Andreas Gursky (1), Barbara Kruger (1). I thought these perilously staged sculptural images by Fischli/Weiss were the best thing I saw at the fair. They were priced at 55000€ each.

Sean Kelly Gallery (here): James Casebere (2), Frank Thiel (1), Idris Khan (3), Robert Mapplethorpe (2), Alec Soth (3). These new images of London landmarks by Khan seem less ridigly conceptual than his earlier works, while still employing the ghostly multiple overlayed exposure technique. This print was priced at £35000. The Soth images were from his series of goth girls.

Galerie Forsblom (here): Chen Jiagang (1), Ola Kolehmainen (1). I haven’t seen images by Chen this large before; it appeared to be in three integrated panels. The work was priced at $60000.

Springer & Winckler Galerie (here): Hiroshi Sugimoto (1), Arnold Odermatt (3 color, 6 black and white), Georges Rousse (1), Andy Goldsworthy (1), Bernd and Hilla Becher (1 set of 4). I think these black and white Odermatt car crashes are wonderfully formal; while I’ve seen many of them before, they continue to grow on me. They were priced between $4000 and $8000 each.

Mireille Mosler Ltd. (here): Ed Van Der Elsken (1), Philip-Lorca diCorcia (1), Cindy Sherman (8), William Wegman (1 diptych). I really enjoy the clever absurdity of Wegman’s early 1970s conceptual work. This work is entitled Which Tube Attracts the Dog?; Wegman holds a tiny tube on the left and a massive one on the right. The dog’s head peeks in from the left in the right panel. The work was priced at $30000.

Alan Koppel Gallery (here): Walker Evans (1), August Sander (1), Hiroshi Sugimoto (4), Diane Arbus (1), Yves Klein (1). For our particular collection, this tiny Walker Evans was the best fit at the fair. I have always coveted the few images from this series of train tracks he did in the late 1920s, and this is one of the best I’ve seen. It was priced at $20000.

Pier 94

Galerie Anhava (here): Hreinn Fridfinnsson (1 set of 6)

NoPlace (here): Ingvild Langgård (1), Kjetil Berge (2), Kristine Jakobsen (2), Tommy Høvik (3)

Galleri Christian Torp (here): Marianne Hurum (1)

V1 Gallery (here): Peter Funch (1 triptych)

ELASTIC (here): Per Mårtensson (1 set of 8), Maria Hedlund (1 triptych, 1)

CRYSTAL (here): Julia Peirone (1 triptych, 1)

Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder (here): James Welling (1)

Galerie Nathalie Obadia (here): Youssef Nabil (1 diptych)

Whitechapel Gallery (here): Susan Hiller (1), Richard Wentworth (1), Paul Graham (1), Thomas Struth (1), Zarina Bhimji (1), Franz West (1), John Baldessari (1)

Richard Heller Gallery (here): Corey Arnold (4)

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): Saul Leiter (6, plus 6 gouaches), Aaron Siskind (9), Charles Jones (4), Edward Burtynsky (1 diptych, 1), Vivian Maier (6), Weegee (5), Bruce Davidson (3), Robert Mapplethorpe (1), William Klein (1). I continue to enjoy Leiter’s color work, and a grid of Siskind divers is always a high contrast visual statement.

Upstream Gallery (here): Jeroen Jongeleen (1)

Bruce Silverstein Gallery (here): Shinichi Maruyama (3), Andre Kertesz (grid of 20, 1), Trine Sondergaard (2), Silvio Wolf (1), John Wood (1), Frederick Sommer (1 collage), Edward Weston (1), Constantin Brancusi (1), Robert Frank (1), Michael Wolf (1), Aaron Siskind (grid of 36), Todd Hido (2), Keith Smith (1 book), Zoe Strauss (grid of 12). There were several strong grids of work in this booth: the Kertesz distortions, the Siskind rock walls, and the Strauss color images on the outside wall.

Yossi Milo Gallery (here): Tim Hetherington (3), Matthew Brandt (1), Alison Rossiter (4 diptychs, 1), Simen Johan (1), Chris McCaw (1 diptych, 1), Sze Tsung Leong (1), Pieter Hugo (2)

Angles Gallery (here): Soo Kim (2), Ori Gersht (1 diptych), Augusta Wood (1), Judy Fiskin (2)

Frederic Snitzer Gallery (here): Kehinde Wiley (1), Sean Dack (1)

Galeria Senda (here): Ola Kolehmainen (1)

Galerie Crone (here): Rosemarie Trockel (2), Adrien Missika (4)

Michael Kohn Gallery (here): Simmons & Burke (5)

Rhona Hoffman Gallery (here): Robert Heinecken (1 triptych, 1 set of 6), Luis Gispert (1)

Galerie Parisa Kind (here): Mike Bouchet (1)

Peter Blum Gallery (here): Su-Mei Tse (1), John Beech (2)

Galleria Continua (here): Shilpa Gupta (1)

Mai 36 Galerie (here): John Baldessari (1 triptych, 1 diptych), Lugi Ghirri (1), Thomas Ruff (1), Robert Mapplethorpe (2). Hard to beat a monumental Ruff head shot portrait for being eye-catching and imposing.

Corvi-Mora (here): Anne Collier (1)

Kukje Gallery (here): Candida Höfer (1), Yeondoo Jung (1)

Corkin Gallery (here): Barbara Astman (1 group of 6, 6), Brett Weston (1), Marjorie Content (1), Berenice Abbott (1), Garry Winogrand (2), Robert Frank (1), Margaret Bourke-White (1), Herbert Bayer (1), Walker Evans (1), George Platt Lynes (2), Andre Kertesz (1), Guy Bourdin (1), Francesco Scavullo (3), Thaddeus Holownia (16), Frank Madler (4), Ian Baxter (1)

Galeria Filomena Soares (here): Joao Penalva (1), Carlos Motta (21), Helena Almeida (1), Vasco Araujo (1)

Dirimart (here): O Zhang (1)

Kalfayan Galleries (here): Hrair Sarkissian (3), Breda Beban (3)

Ai Kowada Gallery (here): Hiroshi Sugimoto (3)

moniquemeloche (here): Aaron Siskind (2), Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1)

BISCHOFF/WEISS (here): Michael Reisch (3)

Ratio 3 (here): Geof Oppenheimer (3), Matthew Hale (1)

Cherry and Martin (here): Robert Heinecken (1 triptych, 1 set of 5), Amanda Ross-Ho (1)

Jack Shainman Gallery (here): Hank Willis Thomas (1), Gauri Gill (1)

González y González (here): Patrick Hamilton (3), Jota Castro (2)

Carolina Nitsch (here): Cindy Sherman (1), EV Day (1), Carsten Holler (5), Vera Lutter (1)

Galeria Nara Roesler (here): Lucia Koch (2), Marcos Chaves (1)

Galerie Georg Kargl (here): Cindy Sherman (1)

Galerie Bob van Orsouw (here): Nobuyoshi Araki (16), Shirana Shahbazi (2). This wall of Araki images from the 1960s/1970s was looser and less staged than his later, more recognizable work.

Lisson Gallery (here): James Casebere (1), Gerald Byre (1 set of 16), Tim Lee (1)

Max Wigram Gallery (here): Mustafa Hulusi (2)

Ingleby Gallery (here): Peter Liversidge (1), Garry Fabian Miller (1)

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery (here): Pertti Kekarainen (2), Ola Kolehmainen (4), Jorma Puranen (4), Susanna Majuri (2), Niko Luoma (4)

Other Criteria (here): Polly Borland (2)

Parkett Publishers (here): Zoe Leonard (1), Tracy Emin (1)

Mary Ryan Gallery (here): Sangbin Im (1 dipytch, 1)

Poligrafa Obra Grafica (here): Tony Oursler (1)

Galerie Anne de Villepoix (here): Sam Samore (1)

Kavi Gupta (here): Roe Ethridge (3)

Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art (here): Andres Serrano (13). An entire booth of bold silhouetted toys and action figures, derivative of David Levinthal I thought.

Andréhn-Schiptjenko (here): Matts Leiderstam (14)

Victoria Miro (here): William Eggleston (1), Stan Douglas (1), Issac Julien (1), Francesca Woodman (3), Alex Hartley (1 diptych), Doug Aitken (1 lightbox)

Leo Koenig Inc. (here): Gerhard Richter (3), Sigmar Polke (1)

Mendes Wood (here): Paolo Nazareth (7)

ONE AND J. Gallery (here): Kang Hong-Goo (6, 1 triptych, 1 wall installation)

On Stellar Rays (here): Clifford Owens (1 wall installation)

Henrique Faria Fine Art (here): Marta Minujin (6), Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck (1), Pedro Teran (2), Anna Bella Geiger (1 set of 18)

Luciana Brito Galeria (here): Caio Reisewitz (1)

Galerie Daniel Templon (here): James Casebere (1)

BLAIN/SOUTHERN (here): Mat Collinshaw (1), Wim Wenders (4)

Marianne Boesky Gallery (here): Anthony Pearson (5)

Baro Galleria (here): Claudia Jaguaribe (2)

Pier 92

Vivian Horan Fine Art (here): Cindy Sherman (2), John Baldessari (1), Elger Esser (1)

Galerie Thomas (here): Thomas Struth (1)

Galerie Sho Contemporary Art (here): Helmut Newton (1)

Wetterling Gallery (here): Nathalia Edenmont (2), Mike and Doug Starn (2)

HackelBury Fine Art (here): Garry Fabian Miller (4, 1 set of 11), Mike and Doug Starn (5)

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery (here): Jan Dibbets (1), Richard Long (1)

Marc Selwyn Fine Art (here): Robert Heinecken (3), Matt Lipps (1), Richard Misrach (1)

James Barron Art (here): Luigi Ghirri (3)

Chowaiki & Co. (here): Marilyn Minter (2), Cindy Sherman (1), Gregory Crewdson (1), Nobuyoshi Araki (1 diptych), Shirin Nehsat (1)

Gerald Peters Gallery (here): Alfred Steiglitz (2), J. Henry Fair (2), Craig Varjabedlan (3). The two O’Keeffe nudes by Stielglitz were on a side wall.

Robert Klein Gallery (here): Francesca Woodman (7), Mario Giacomelli (4), Edward Burtynsky (1), Irving Penn (10), Bill Jacobsen (3)

Yancey Richardson Gallery (here): Jitka Hanzlova (6), Andrew Moore (1), Sharon Core (5), Rachel Perry Welty (2), Bryan Graf (3), Olivo Barbieri (1), Sebastiao Salgado (1), Victoria Samburnaris (1), Bernd and Hilla Becher (1 set of 9), Kenneth Josephson (1)

Ricco Maresca Gallery (here): Tim Freccia (4)

Carl Hammer Gallery (here): Blythe Bohnen (3)

Arnold Odermatt, Chen Jiagang, Idris Khan, Joakim Eneroth, Miriam Bäckström, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Shirana Shahbazi, Walker Evans, William Wegman, Ai Kowada Gallery, Alan Koppel Gallery, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Angles Gallery, Baró Galeria, Bischoff/Weiss, Blain/Southern, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, Cardi Black Box, Carl Hammer Gallery, Carolina Nitsch, Cherry and Martin, Chowaiki & Co., Christian Larsen, Corkin Gallery, Corvi-Mora, CRYSTAL, Dirimart, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, ELASTIC Gallery, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Galeria Filomena Soares, Galeria Nara Roesler, Galeria SENDA, Galerie Anhava, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Galerie Crone, Galerie Daniel Templon, Galerie Forsblom, Galerie Georg Kargl, Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Galerie Parisa Kind, Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Galerie Springer Berlin, Galerie Thomas, Galleri Christian Torp, Galleria Continua, Gallery Niklas Belenius, Gerald Peters Gallery, González y González, HackelBury Fine Art, Henrique Faria Fine Art, Howard Greenberg Gallery, Ingleby Gallery, Jack Shainman Gallery, James Barron Art, Kalfayan Galleries, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Kukje Gallery, Koenig & Clinton, Lisson Gallery, Luciana Brito Galeria, Mai 36 Galerie, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Mary Ryan Gallery, Max Wigram Gallery, Mendes Wood, Kohn Gallery, Mireille Mosler Ltd., Monique Meloche Gallery, NoPlace, On Stellar Rays, ONE and J. Gallery, Other Criteria, Parkett Publishers, Peter Blum Gallery, Poligrafa Obra Gráfica, Ratio 3, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, Richard Heller Gallery, Robert Klein Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, Senior & Shopmaker Gallery, Sprüth Magers, Upstream Gallery, V1 Gallery, Victoria Miro Gallery, Vivian Horan Fie Art, Wetterling Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, Yossi Milo Gallery, Armory Show

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