Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Born to Be Late (II)

26 February 2007 (~ 6:30 p.m.)

Did I mention I have no budget for taxicabs? What was I thinking? The Audi people (co-sponsors of the Armory Show) are going to send a car for me? EMERGENCY – less than 3 hours to run through the Show AND I need a class of the special Clicquot rosé champagne! Instead I get the equivalent of the Doris Day parking space in L.A. A cab pulls up in the turnabout in front of the Met just as I’m about to cross towards Broadway. I get in.

As we approach the Pier, I find myself on the flip side of that easy cab hail – the endless queue of cabs, shuttles and limousines crawling toward the entrance. I get out and find myself in something that looks like a minimalist ballet, or something out of a 1930s Futurist view of an urban commercial scene: a multitude of figures mostly dressed in long coats in black, (or am I thinking of The Matrix?) or shades of gray, criss-cross each other heading for 12th Street or parking garages flanking the pier, all carrying mostly squarish or rectangular brown paper wrapped packages. The art is leaving the building. No point in making myself crazy. Just keep walking. In any case I’m bound to run into Kathleen, right? I could have sworn she mentioned picking up something from Christian Nagel (Cologne), so I head more or less in that direction. (Did I mention I seem to have utterly lost any sense of direction?) En route, I pass among others, L.A. gallerists, including Richard Telles; and I have to wonder what I’m doing practically ignoring him. Is there anything here NOT worth a second look? I’m amazed that the Richard Hawkins collages (brilliant) and Lecia Dole-Recio piece – in gouache and collage on vellum – haven’t sold. At least one of the Hawkins might have been slated for pick-up. I almost have to assume that there will be nothing to ship back to L.A.

I have not ignored Marc Foxx, and as I’m flying by, I can’t help noticing an affinity between the Evan Holloway construction and the Fausto Melotti I was admiring uptown a couple days earlier. (Rodney’s so engrossed in a sale, he doesn’t even see me. The Jason Meadows is still here; maybe he’s selling that.) At Nagel finally, I’m wondering what Kathleen had her ever-prescient eye on. I have a cursory look around, but find myself coming back to a kind of rocket sequence – a series of drawings – constructions in blue pencil cross-hatchings by Kader Attia. I have a Steinberg moment (see previous post) before moving on.

The surprises – the art, the artists new and old, the market – never stop. One more thing that keeps us coming back. What is the Christian Marclay “Shboom” – the print of torn collaged 4-color comic page fragments around an empty center – still doing at the White Cube/Jay Jopling booth? ‘Shboom – so nice to see you again.’ (I have to assume it may be the last time.) The phone rings. It’s Kathleen. “Where are you?” “I’m at the gallery, dropping off my purchases.” (I suddenly realize that there are probably 50 dealers uttering the exact same words all over Manhattan, at least half of them in Chelsea.) “I can’t believe I missed you. You must have shot through Scope with a rocket pack. I’ve only been here 20 minutes.” While the kaleidoscopic group show in my brain is still turning, Kathleen is already in re-group (collector assignment?) mode. Like I said – always 25 emerging (and maybe 25 established) artists ahead of me – and probably Basel, too. I still have major reconnaissance ahead of me so I’m locked in until breakdown – the Show’s or my own it remains to be seen; but Katheleen encourages me to wheedle an Audi out of the VIP staff to speed me down to 26th Street from where we can negotiate a drink. I could use a nice dry red – especially now that there’s a Veuve Clicquot drought at the fair’s end. (What did I tell you? The Joads in the Dust Bowl (see first post) – always having to make the trek for a good cabernet.)

“There’s an auction over at Christie’s I was thinking of going to – but right now, I’d just as soon sit down with a glass of wine before I go home to Brooklyn.” An auction? This is not on the schedule. (Oh – like I’ve been so on-schedule through – MY LIFE.) I wonder if she’s reserved a paddle. And the sales don’t start until Wednesday, right? I am as clueless as ever. “It’s the Pierre Huber collection – it’s being auctioned tonight. Maybe you should cover it. Come have a glass of wine and we can figure out what to do.” Pierre. Huber. Now I know why people access the internet on their cell phones. I mull this over a minute as I ring off, stopping of course only to look at work. More Ori Gersht, I see – exploding flowers at CRG (New York). Gersht is another artist who has had a certain visibility at the fairs. Then there are the artists who somehow manage to stay before you even as you’re looking at someone else’s work. I’m looking at a Pierre Bismuth drawing on perspex at the Lisson Gallery (London) space “Following the Right Hand of Marlene Dietrich in Touch of Evil,” and thinking of Juliao Sarmento who – didn’t I just see something of his at Sean Kelly (nyc). ‘Yeah, I’ve been there I think,’ in two places at once (privilege of a Gemini, right?). The line is fascinating (more than the thought I wonder? – or should we simply revisit Welles and Dietrich?). But I find myself going back to Sarmento’s interposing and intersections of image and text – something that really drives right into civilization’s shattering bedrock. Speaking of shattered and Sean (Kelly) – great Frank Thiel there, no? But I can’t think about that right now. That’s the thing with Jenny Holzer – she distracts you from that last thought – and it’s sort of happening now with a “White Purple Curve.” Yvon Lambert (Paris) is showing Douglas Gordon – after Gilbert & George (how do you feel about that?)

I’m just pulling away from another Anish Kapoor alabaster ‘eye’ (this one at the Galleria Continua space (San Gemignano an Beijing) when another eye catches mine. David, a dealer from L.A. (and Dallas) strides into view. I haven’t seen him anywhere in the last 4 days. Where has he been? (On the other hand, I run into a lot of people who are just coming from Europe; and I don’t really know what’s going on there.) This, he tells me, is his first day at the show. I can’t tell if this is really smart or really dumb; it either simplifies the business or complicates it. Either way, just like me, he has to keep moving. He’s joined by another pal, Joel; and we’re all buzzing in and out of spaces like bees wondering where all the nectar has gone.


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