Highlights From The Armory Show 2017

Highlights From The Armory Show 2017

New York's biggest display of contemporary art is just as astonishing as ever.

For the uninitiated, The Armory Show is an annual art show hosted in New York City housing galleries from around the world who display/sell modern art in its many forms. The show is kind of like an oversized MoMA and this year had over 200 exhibitors. At The Armory Show one can find anything from contemporary painting, sculpture, to installation, and at least one performance piece. The show has been going strong since its opening in 1913 and this year was no different. I'm here to bring you some of my highlights from this year's incarnation. Unfortunately, the highlights I have from the show distinctly reflect my personal artistic preferences; however, I still feel I have a nice range of pieces to show off.

1. Asha Zero, Exxdip (2017, Acrylic on board)

Zero is a South African artist based in Cape Town. Her paintings and collages are reminiscent of the work of Basquiat and other such abstractions. Her work is an excellent example of modern abstract expressionism and the direction abstract painting is heading in. Furthermore, the use of collage has had a resurgence in the past years, as can be seen in works like these.

2. Alex Katz, Red Hat (2013, Acrylic on canvas)

Alex Katz is arguably one of the most famous portrait artists of the 20th century. His distinctive style makes his work impossible to miss. In fact, I must have spotted at least six Katz paintings while at the show. Warhol once claimed he stole his famous solid color backgrounds from Katz. This specific piece is a perfect example of his simplified painting style, use of bright color, and the piercing close-up portraits he loved.

3. Marina Abramović, Ectasy II from the series With Eyes Closed I See Happiness (2012, Fine art pigment print)

Marina Abramović is a performance artist originally from Yugoslavia (now based in upstate New York). Her work has been featured prominently in the MoMA and other famous museums of modern art. Photographs from her performances, like this one, are highly sought after. Her work is entirely based on heightened emotion and human connection. She is one of my personal favorites and I highly recommend checking out her work.

4. Cyrus Kabiru, Njia Ya Maisha, Macho Nnne: Trump (2016, Pigment ink on HP Premium Satin photographic paper)

To create his images, Cyrus Kabiru digs through the trash of Nairobi to find metal pieces and assorted electronic parts. He fashions these into glasses for his subjects to wear. He says when he was young his father never wanted him to have a pair of glasses, and so his obsession began. Note that the title of this piece includes the word "Trump". Take from that what you will.

5. Sadaharu Horio, Art Vending Machine (Performance Art Piece)

Japanese artist Sadaharu Horio sat in this makeshift "Art Vending Machine" at set hours during the week of The Armory Show. The patron would insert a dollar, choose a painting category, and in a minute Horio would slide a painting out of the bottom of his box. This piece is easily a clever statement on the relationship between artist and observer, as well as a comment on our love of instant gratification. Indeed, the piece had a huge crowd around it when I saw it.

6. Hadieh Shafie, 11375 Pages (2010, Ink and paper with printed and handwritten Farsi text "Esheghe" - "Love")

Hadieh Shafie makes feel good art pieces in every sense of the word. Firstly, her pieces are a delight to look at, possibly resembling a color blindness test with better colors. However, if one reads the description of her pieces, they will find that they are made of rolled up paper that each say a different uplifting Farsi word (this one specifically being love). In times like these, who couldn't use some more colorful love?

7. Kehinde Wiley, Frantz Fanon, After Memling's Portrait of a Man with a Letter (2013, Oil on wood)

In the past few years, Kehinde Wiley has become highly recognized for her paintings of young black men and women in the style of renaissance masterpieces. This specific piece is a portrait of revolutionary anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon, in the style of a moderately famous Hans Memling painting from 1475. Wiley's work is highly political and extremely relevant in today's America. Again, she is an artist to check out and definitely keep an eye on.

8. Deborah Kass, 4 Barbras (The Jewish Jackie Series) (1993, Silkscreen and acrylic on canvas)

At first glance, one might mistake Deborah Kass' paintings for Warhol's. However, Warhol never painted Barbra Streisand (or any Jewish icon for that matter). Kass recreates Warhol's iconic style but inserts her own icons. In this series she replaces Jackie Kennedy with an assortment of famous Jewish women. Being a big Streisand fan, I was lucky enough to stumble upon this piece in the back room of one of the gallery's many exhibit spaces.

9. Hannah Wilke, Marxism and Art: Beware of Fascist Feminism (1975, Lithograph on paper)

Hannah Wilke's poster speaks for itself. She made the piece in 1975, and like it or not, it is still relevant today. Take a moment to contemplate what she means by "Fascist Feminism". I guarantee you it does not mean the Feminazis that meninists like to talk about. Think along the lines of any exclusionary form of feminism.

10. Zohra Opoku, Debie (2017, Screenprint on canvas and cotton)

The gallery displaying Zohra Opoku's pieces won the first-ever Armory Show Booth Prize. It's easy to see why. Opoku's work is an arresting and absolutely beautiful visual statement on the lives of females in Ghana. The pieces hang huge and feel like tapestries. Her subjects begin to feel like deities. To raise poor Ghanian women into deities is quite the feat. This is why I saved this piece for last. Opoku's art is successful in its many purposes. I only wish everyone could see it in person. I'm telling you, her art was so beautiful that it had me wanting to ask how much for the piece even if I knew it would be thousands of dollars.

Cover Image Credit: contemporaryand.com

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist


Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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