The ultimate question that fairgoers are trying to answer this year is whether the Armory Show was able to reinvent itself, after the arrival of Frieze to New York clearly showed how the Armory Show had become a confusing maze of galleries, not particularly innovative, and the reflection of a button-down and corporate approach to art.
I haven’t personally answered this question yet, although the general comments don’t seem very positive. According to the New York Times, “tenuous, if more timely, is the association of this fair with the 1913 Armory Show. The scattered references mainly serve to remind you how little the current Armory Show has in common with the original show and how hard it is to rile fairgoers today.” “At both piers, as at any fair of this size, there is lot of art that is bad and some that is quite good,” continues the Times.
As usual I have the feeling that the best surprises are often outside of the main fair.
Wondering around Scope, for instance, I had the pleasure to watch a video by an artist who is very close to Patricia’s Accents. In-Between is part of a larger project by Vera Comploj, who has been searching to capture the transition moments between day and night, male and female, reality and fiction, mingling with the American less known drag-queen scenes.
This video shows the disarming, voluptuous and contagious energy of its protagonist: Tiara Qistina.
Through a hypnotic black and white syncopated trip into her memory, she resolves the dichotomy between East and West with a seducing dance, where every step is a reinvention of an old Indonesian dance. It’s a circular composition that rises with Tiara’s magnetic looks, spaced out with her saucy lip licking, continues with a dip into a male bird of paradise choir and culminates with Tiara’s arresting bird -like movements.
I can’t wait to defeat the snow storm and have a look at the other satellite fairs!