People are talking and asking: “What are you going to buy? Is art selling?”

On a beautifully sunny Sunday afternoon, Jill and I made our way zig-zagging through the streets of Soho, to the Armory. Originally I was going to go with Lyle but with free tickets in hand, Jill happily accepted the opportunity to see the fair. Ironically before even entering the Armory, we ran into my cousin Sarah and her parents who just happened to be strolling on the West side along the Hudson, after a late brunch. We all briefly chatted and smiling and hugged, Jill and I headed into the gaping mouth of the Armory.

Starting on the left side, I hadn’t realized they separated and changed the layout of the exhibition space. We were in Modern and languidly strolled amongst the most of the museum quality, blue chip work. Most booths don’t feature visible price lists and those that did were mostly for editions (as above, an edition by Chuck Close, “Lyle”, for $28,500). The only original, medium sized painting I saw with a price tag was a 2009 piece by Lisa Ruyter for $45,000. While the prices were beyond my budget (shucks) they also fell into place within a market value that I hoped to see. We ran into a preppily clad Ted, who asked if we had been downstairs…and that’s when I realized the expanse and why most feedback I heard was that people were exhausted.

Descending the somewhat rickety, 3 flight staircase to the lower level, I felt a breath of fresh air as the fluorescent gave way to: Color! Geometrics! & Puppies!

In the nether-world of the contemporary section most of the artwork had a similar quality and feel. It was almost as if a higher-power curator had swooped down (from Modern?) and dictated what should go where. The result was a cacophony of painting, drawing, installation, photography, and a smattering of video. After inhaling the invisible debris left behind by preview parties and evaporating champagne ($16/glass) I still found myself grinning at what largely felt like very saleable, yet less censored art.

In the mix I took in artists I’m not familiar with, but also quickly digested new work by old favorites such as Tony Ousler shown above.

Neon Geometry.

Painted Geometry.

Kara Walker.

A photograph & dog who looks like Coco. (one of Jill & Brians’ puggles)

All in all, we spent about 3 1/2 hours and still had to scurry a bit, skipping the back of the Contemporary area, reaching our cut-off point for visual stimulation.

For years, I’ve gone to the Armory to not only see what galleries are showing in a contained area, but also to research spaces that might show my own paintings. This year something in me changed and as I strolled through each fair, I thought not only of where I’d like to exhibit but who I’d like to buy! Let’s hope that this sentiment was shared by others with expendable bank accounts in what could equal….2010, the artworld rules and the economy makes a comeback!

You never know…

More soon!