Published on March 8th, 2013 | by Sarah0
Art Online: The Real Armory Show Versus Artsy’s
When Greg (the Editor) and I went to The 2013 Armory Show at Piers 92 and 94 in New York City, we were on a mission to see the whole show in it’s entirety without getting overwhelmed or hitting art fatigue. We chose a route, stayed on target and maintained a steady pace. Thankfully, art fairs tend to display work that is relatively easy to consume, so our goals seemed realistic.
We stepped forth allowing the art to wash over us. Work by Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, Chuck Close, among many (many, many) more caught fragments of our valuable and limited attention. Some of the work was truly impressive and much of it I had never seen before. We completed our mission long before hitting our art limits, in fact we even considered tackling one of the many other art fairs happening around the city at the moment… but our ambition faded when we failed to locate the free shuttle to VOLTA. Nonetheless, we left feeling accomplished and even a little invigorated.
But what if you can’t attend in person? Or what if you forgot to take a picture of that piece, of to jot down the information? Well, this year the Armory Show is being presented for FREE, online at Artsy.net. Being a child of the internet most of the art I have seen has been online. Being a recent grad, a formerly broke student, and working multiple unpaid internships (I know I know, I’m part of the internship problem) I am overjoyed to have a free venue to visit the show (though they have very affordable student tickets for $10 as well). I am also happy to have a way to revisit the show whenever and as often as I’d like. Furthermore, I think this is a great way to utilize the internet and share experiences with people who would otherwise be unable or unwilling. The Art world is notoriously intimidating and Artsy might be a great way remedy some of that… but can you really get the full experience online? My initial expectations were “of course”. As I said, most of the art I have seen has been online, and after seeing some of those works later in real life I was rarely surprised. You’re not going to appreciate David, of course, but many painting lose only a small amount in the transition to digital in my opinion.
I chose not to view the Artsy version until I had seen the the Armory Show in person. While I was walking around I saw several pieces that looked like they would be very difficult to display online. I knew off the bat that anything with video, sound, or sculptural elements would get short changed, but how would they handle flashing neon or holographs? Some of the pieces that were most exciting seemed like they would present definite challenges.
Hesitations aside I made an Artsy account (not required) and was really pleased to see the network they were building. Publications, artist, galleries, and art enthusiasts were all organized and easily searchable. The show itself could be browsed by location, exhibitor, price, medium, size, and artist (In that order, very telling of their priorities). Once I started browsing I saw a lot of work that I had overlooked at the show, like Tony Tasset’s “Snowman”, Tobias Bernstrup’s “Skin Games”, and Frank Ammerlann’s “untitled” work all of which look like they would be very rewarding to see in person. To be honest I have no idea how I missed them, and I’m beginning to realize that I hadn’t been as through during my mission as I had thought.
However, for every piece I had absentmindedly missed in person there were other pieces I was now scrolling past. Pieces like Lars Elling’s “History of Empowerment”, Jenny Morgan’s “Hiatus”, and HC Berg’s “Visual Vortex- Oily Colours- Ornaments VII”. They made me stop in my tracks in person, but they fell flat online. There were other pieces that I couldn’t even find on Artsy, like Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s sequel to “Dinner for Two” (pictured, right) and a small version of Jim Campbell’s “Exploded Views”, both of which happened to be my favorite pieces at Armory.
The site was glitchy, and there was only one photo for each piece, but most work was well documented and I never once felt overwhelmed or tired. Artsy holds great promise and I hope it hosts more big events. In the mean ime, it has become a new favorite of mine and I will be perusing it on a regular basis. The Armory Show runs through March 10, and I highly recommend you attend in whatever capacity you can.