New York's largest premiere world art fair, The Armory Show, just closed its doors after a truly hectic and overwhelming weekend at Piers 92 and 94. Though the fair has been running every spring since its revival in 1994, this year it hosted a truly gargantuan number of contemporary and modern works exhibited by 274 galleries representing 31 countries from around the world. It was, of course, in 1913 that the original Armory Show, otherwise known as the
International Exhibition of Modern Art brought Cubism, and with it Marcel Duchamp, to the eyes of the American public. The show featured Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), the painting that scandalized the New York art world and made Duchamp an infamous sensation overnight: Teddy Roosevelt famously hated it, and the New York Times condemned the Nude to being
an explosion in a shingle factory.
In 2011, though it would have been lamentably easy to overlook a Duchampian gem in a space where all kinds of pantings, sculptures, and installations spanned endlessly in every direction and people streamed through every possible crevice and booth, Duchamp's work was notably absent. His likeness, however, could have been spotted at a booth of modern art in Man Ray's small print, Marcel Duchamp with Nude (1920). Meanwhile, exhibited in the contemporary section at pier 94 by Kavi Gupta, Theaster Gates paid his respects to Duchamp in Whyte Painting (NGGRWR 0014) (2010). The white-porcelain sink basin is part of a series of similar porcelain sink
Whyte Paintings that hung beside one another from a white wall. On (NGGRWR 0014), Gates inscribed
My Name Goes Here in gold-leaf block lettering. The influence of R. Mutt from Duchamp's Fountain (1917) was transparent as Gates appeared to suggest that Duchamp's legacy simply refuses to wash off, and, in fact, only continues to glisten. There may have been scores of bolder and brighter works than Gates' in the contemporary wing, but his fond and easy parlance with Duchamp resonated for the Armory Show's reincarnation.
...more below for the New York Times review of the show.