Rough and Ready at Pier 94
The Armory Show

Jonathan Meese detail at Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

by artist Alison Knowles


Convinced by a friend that I should see more art that is almost next door I ventured out with Bonnie Marranca of Performance Art Journal to the Armory show at 12th Avenue and 55th Street. Commenting that this is hardly next door on a cold March day she smilingly retorted. “There will be coffee. “Once inside there in my immediate sites was Leah Fried of the Lombard Fried gallery. She had the best show at the fair for my vote. His name is Michael Rakovitch, a third generation Iraqui American who started out by putting his sculptures in his fathers Import Export store on Atlantic Avenue. The work was so compelling one had to pick it up and look closely. About twenty small sculpture filled the table: dogs, shoes, lamps, perhaps all rejects from his father’s store I imagined. Each piece wrapped in a daily newspaper, impeccably glued and adhered smoothly so the Arabic or Turkish or English could be read. One had to guess the object that supported the newspaper accounts.

Leah was one of many friends that had shown up for this fair and she pointed the way to another series of works by Emily Jacir. These were clearly Fluxus like event accounts, suggesting to walk a certain street in Gaza and find one corner to observe. I decline to take the Gaza walk at this time, but the pieces were evocative of what this young Palestinian was going about to make art from her torn homeland. Then turning around there in my sites was artist/student from Cal Arts, Aviva Rahmani now in Maine. She is an artist doing a PHD as part of her “art practice”. Her field is ecology and she has repaired a huge pond water-site in Maine. Today she said “we have to think of knowledge particularly science as the material of art”. It is up to artists to start thinking and make their own archives available she said, as loose theoretical writing and reportage have made it necessary for artists themselves to communicate what they are about. I mentioned AOA to her: “It was great getting in with AOA. They said ‘we don’t care if you’re an artist, you have to be a writer to get in here.’ Fortunately, my Shoreline had my name attached as writer.”

Around another corner I found a work by Idris Khan titled “Hearing Voices”. A large spread of grayish notes based on a Schumann concerto had been transferred as a digital c-print onto aluminum, a glowing beautiful work. Finally with coffee in hand I could sit for a moment with Dominique de Menil, a strong and generous contributor to the work of John Cage for decades. She is the remarkable person who bought and island in the Caribbean and built a college there.

Julie Harrison informed me that Steve Clay at Granary of Granary books was not present but caring for the kids. She was sipping tea on a huge cushion.

“At The Armory Show an air of orderly professionalism pervades…”

On the news just now I see that artis ts in Brooklyn have rented a dumpster and are showing digital tapes inside for free entry. Because I am a member of Artists Organized Art I was able to bypass the line and get free entry by showing a work Shoreline on the Internet. It worked. They gave me a badge and let me through. The line was more than a half hour long and the fee $30. I disagree with this situation of large fees for museums and fairs. Clearly I better stick with those enterprising artists renting a dumpster in Brooklyn.

Alison Knowles

photography: Erika Knerr

#permalink posted by Alison Knowles: 4/01/08 09:03:00 AM


Get More Involved: Donate Now | Announcements | Subscribe | About Us | Contact Us