The Best Of The Wurst: Berlin Galleries At The Armory Show

I landed at JFK last Monday at 8pm EST; it was the first time I had been back to the States for almost a year. Beyond the horrific jetlag I was about to experience and the trying week ahead of studio visits and art fairs, I was most excited about one thing: a fat, juicy hamburger. I claimed my baggage, gleefully passed through customs and received a fat stamp in my passport from a heavier, mustachioed police officer who grumbly and patriotically told me “welcome home son.” I found my way to the subway and was quickly reminded how much filth frames New York City’s infrastructure. After growing accustomed to the clean, timely and fast U-Bahn of Berlin, I was immediately confronted with the grime and litter of The Empire State. I finally made my way to Queens where I would be staying with my brother, but not before I stopped by a local barbeque pit to grab a greasy hunk of meat stuffed between layers of cheese and hamburger buns. I fell asleep almost instantly (partially due to travel, partially due to a food coma) with a wild anticipation for the city’s art events. My first stop: The Armory Show.

The Art Marathon Begins

The Armory wasn’t going to officially start until that Thursday, but luckily I had a press pass for Wednesday’s preview. Through my wit and amiability (aka a previous position at a well-known gallery), I managed to snag a VIP pass for a close friend to accompany me. The card was silver and printed on its surface was the rather unwelcoming tagline that this was one of almost 13,000 VIP passes. As I later understood, this was a purposeful work by a local artist––however I couldn’t help but think of the myriad collectors who were red in the face to feel their “importance” was undervalued. As I neared the Piers 94 & 92 that host the Armory Show yearly, I fell victim to a traffic jam of several hundred yellow cabs carrying the multi-thousands VIPs. Finally I was there! I held my VIP card close, walked towards the entrance, let a volunteer in a blue shirt scan my ID and I was in. 

Being inside the Armory is a bit sublime. Some say it is where art goes to die by being strung up like meat in a meat market and sold off to those with the world’s largest disposable income. As I found myself in the world’s worst art shopping mall, I braved up and went out in search of Berlin’s presence in the fair. Welcome to the art clusterfuck!

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