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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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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