Armory Show to Exhibit Monumental Works That Question Monuments
The Platform section of this year's fair includes an imperial throne being 'gassed' and a clown-headed rug tent visitors can go inside.
Sean Townley, Gassing the Imperial Throne (2020). Courtesy the artist, Night Gallery, Los Angeles and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Brica Wilcox.
The Armory Show has revealed details of this year's fair, which takes place at the Javits Center in New York from 9 to 11 September.
This year's Platform section will feature an exhibition of 12 supersized works curated by Tobias Ostrander, a curator of Latin American Art at Tate.
The section, entitled Monumental Change, explores responses to monuments from artists including Iván Argote (Perrotin), Sonia Gomes (Mendes Wood DM), Julio César Morales (Gallery Wendi Norris), Reynier Leyva Novo (El Apartamento), and Mary Sibande (Kavi Gupta).
One of the most visually intriguing is Sean Townley's piece Gassing the Imperial Throne (2020) (pictured top), which Ostrander says 'presents a very odd sculptural situation'.
Presented by Night Gallery, the carved wooden throne — like something you'd expect to find at the US Supreme Court or inside the Capitol building — is encased in an inflated plastic bubble as if being fumigated or asphyxiated.
'The object is being "gassed" by chemicals used to preserve wood, but metaphorically it turns the piece into a critique of imperialism and serves as a symbolic action trying to eradicate it,' Ostrander said.
Another standout work is Oklahoma-born artist Trenton Doyle Hancock's Mound #1, The Color Crop Experience (2018), co-presented by Hales and James Cohan.
The Mounds are a half-human, half-plant species that, according to Hancock's mythology, came into being thousands of years ago when an ape-man ejaculated in a field of flowers. These mounds are at war with a group he calls the Vegans.
'Whereas Mounds get bigger and bigger, Vegans are obsessed with getting smaller and smaller,' Hancock told Smithsonian Magazine in 2007. 'They see the Mounds as a threat to that purity, and they are always plotting to destroy Mound-kind.'
According to Ostrander, the work's forms 'reference fun house and fast-food figurative logos used to invite children into fantastical worlds. Here Doyle Hancock invites you into the strange, fictitious universe he has generated.'
Monuments have increasingly come under attack in recent years, and not just those depicting Confederate generals and slave traffickers. Built in 1980 as a means of instructing survivors of an apocalypse on how to rebuild, the Georgia Guidestones were bombed earlier this month.
'Monuments have become visible sites for many forms of individual or collective critique of historical events,' Ostrander said.
'The dismantling of monuments raises interesting questions that artists working in sculpture are addressing, regarding what can we agree on collectively to commemorate today? Several of the answers artists present in Platform include honouring nature, women and non-western forms of knowledge,' he said.
Other features of The Armory Show's programming this year include the exhibition of large sculptures at the US Open from 23 August to 11 September, and a partnership with iconic New York not-for-profit The Kitchen. —[O]