The Armory Show and Independent Highlights

An exclusive look at the highlights from The Armory Show and Independent fairs before they open next month!

Cindy Sherman
Lucille Ball, 1975 / 2001

Gelatin silver print | 12 x 9.5 inches

Taking from the image of the widely popular comedian and screen actress Lucille Ball, Cindy Sherman subverts celebrity status and prompts the viewer to reassess Ball’s image within redefined parameters. This reinterpretation of Ball could be dismissed as caustic, however, Sherman strategically offers complexity and narration in this consciously layered portrait.

Marsha Cottrell
Untitled (12:59:03pm), 2018

Laser toner on paper, unique | 11 x 8.5 inches

Aperture Series (51), 2016

Laser toner on paper, unique | 11.625 x 18.125 inches

Cottrell uses the laser printer as one would a paint brush, registering mathematically defined lines and shapes grabbed from the software’s tool palette onto handmade paper in multiple passes of carbon-based toner. Each work is an improvisation that develops slowly and gradually on the page, or an instantaneously generated translation of a carefully controlled file, interpreted according to the printer’s unpredictability when “misused.”

Markus Amm
Untitled (12,19, 8), 2019

Oil on gesso board | 13 3/4 x 11 7/8 x 1 inches

Markus Amm's paintings are created by pouring thin layers of richly pigmented paint onto a prepared surface over long periods of time. His paintings are powerful objects whose radiant compositions elicit meditative concentration, and whose making represents an intuitively balanced position between chance and control. He approaches abstraction as a materials-based process rather than an ideological mode, one in which the constituent elements of painting, as well as a work’s entire physical context (support, hanging apparatus, architecture), are considered part of its subject matter.

Gordon Parks
Ondria Tanner and Her Grandmother Window-shopping, Mobile, Alabama, 1956, 1956

Archival pigment print | 34 x 34 inches

Considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Gordon Parks was a self-taught photographer, filmmaker, writer, and composer. He is best known for chronicling the African American experience in powerful, poetic photographs. Parks worked for the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information before becoming the first black staff photographer at Life magazine. Parks also cofounded Essence magazine. In his photographs, he captured both the rich and famous and marginalized communities, especially his own.

“I saw that the camera could be a weapon against . . . all sorts of social wrongs,” he said. “I knew at that point I had to have a camera.”

Hans Op de Beeck
(still from) Staging Silence (3), 2019

Full HD video, black and white, sound | Full video:

Staging Silence (3) takes the viewer on a journey through a series of desolate scenes, gradually constructed and deconstructed by a pair of anonymous hands that act as either divine creator or grand puppeteer. Ranging from hyper-realistic fictional land and cityscapes to absurd, almost surreal, dreamscapes, the various locations are connected by the sense of mystery and melancholy that pervades them.

The Manor House, 2019

Wood, metal, glass, polyester, coating | 45 1/8 x 23 x 26 3/4 inches

Created in greyscale, the works consistent of finely detailed miniature interiors and domestic views. The sculptures invite the viewer to peek into these realms and imagine the life that exists within them. Scenes that feel comfortingly familiar are also laced with a sense of disconcerting voyeurism, as one peers into and moves through these spaces. With this newest group of sculptures, the role of the viewer is further complicated by the positioning of these scenes atop traditional camera tri-pods.

Sanford Biggers
Moon River, 2019

Antique quilt, textiles, charcoal | 43 1/2 x 34 x 1/4 inches

Responding to such movements as Post-Minimalism and Dada, and to his own experiences as an African-American and frequent expat, Biggers challenges viewers with unlikely connections in his challenging, seductive work. Claiming that, “intent can define or shape the content,” he presents the tree, for example, as a symbol of earthly connectedness, as well as the site of Buddha’s enlightenment, and of lynching. By fusing these contradictions, Biggers shatters binary assumptions, offering viewers a more complex, and truer, picture of the world.

Matthias Bitzer
Robert, Molly, and the Indispensable Third, 2018

Ink and acrylic and ceramic on canvas with artist frame | 96 1/2 x 84 5/8 x 11 inches

Berlin-based artist Matthias Bitzer mines scientific and literary sources as points of departure for his works, ultimately arriving at his larger project: a visual network that bridges gaps in our perception of time and space. Weaving varied references, from Euclidean geometry to Emily Dickinson, into his drawings, paintings, sculptures, and multi-part installations, Bitzer produces works that carry a unique formal and conceptual language—one whose extensive sources collapse art historical narratives and bridge compositional divides.

Jay Heikes
Mother Sky, 2018

Oil on canvas | 47 x 65 inches

Minneapolis-based artist Jay Heikes is known for his heterogeneous practice, which mixes and reinterprets a kaleidoscopic array of media—activating stories, puns, and irony in a cyclical meditation. His most recent body of work employs his preoccupation with the philosophical tradition of alchemy. Themes of evolution and regeneration, stasis and corrosion take form in his artistic actions, recharging Heikes' previous narrative pursuits and reaffirming the notion that mutation and change are essential to the creative process.

Pat Steir
Gold and Gold and Silver, 2010

Oil on canvas | 84 x 84 inches

Pat Steir likes to think her paintings make themselves. In 1988, she began to experiment with pouring diaphanous layers of white paint onto canvas. With the first of these “Waterfall” paintings, she liberated herself almost overnight from decisions about imagery and let the record of the process become the image itself. Steir embraces the incident and accident of working in this mode. “It’s chance within limitations. I decide the colors and make simple divisions to the canvas, and then basically the pouring of the paint paints the painting,” she says.

Louise Fishman
Epistophy, 2018

Oil on linen | 50 x 30 inches

Louise Fishman is a contemporary American artist known for her expressive abstract paintings. Her works are channels for the cathartic expression of memories and anger as well as the process of painting itself. Employing trowels, squeegees, and paint-laden brushes, Fishman develops her paintings over time, often starting with a one emotion and finishing with another. “Almost everything is covered in my paintings. I go through numerous changes in them.”

Analia Saban 
Collapsed Drawing: “Study of a Horse with Two Figures" (Eugene Delacroix), 2007

Laser-cut paper and laser-cut archival digital print mounted on museum board |  22 x 32 x 2.5 inches

Collapsed Drawing: "Combat" (Jacques Louis David), 2007

Laser-cut paper and laser-cut archival digital print mounted on museum board | 30 1/2 x 44 1/2 x 2.5 inches

Collapsed Drawing: "John Lennon" (Andy Warhol), 2007

Laser-cut paper and laser-cut archival digital print mounted on museum board | 27 3/4 x 23 5/16 x 2.5 inches

Analia Saban approaches her work scientifically. By looking at drawing lines, brushstrokes and shapes not two dimensional planes but as three dimensional objects with their own volume and weight, she plays with the structure of drawings and paintings: what happens when their structure collapses? In her Collapsed Drawings, she appropriates drawings from Art History's masters such as Guercino, Durer, Kandinsky or Matisse among others. Then she separates the lines from the drawing's background - the loose lines collapse from the drawing to the floor of the frame.

Brie Ruais
Torn Up From Center, 130lbs (Dusk), 2018

Glazed and pigmented stoneware, hardware | 71 x 71 x 3 inches

Ruais’s pieces each begin with a mass of clay equal in weight to her own body. In a highly physical process, she pushes, scrapes, and kneads the material into undulating, organic shapes. Through the work, Ruais examines the body as a site for personal, political, and ecological struggle. The resulting structures are then cut into segments, glazed in multiple colors, fired and hung on the wall. At a time when the state seems increasingly involved in the policing of bodies and borders, Ruais explores how a single body with a distinct of perspectives and qualities – female, queer, able-bodied, white – can express its presence within a space, and invites reflection on how one’s actions may leave extended traces over time.

Ai Weiwei
Zodiac, 2018

LEGO bricks mounted on aluminum | Set of 12: Each 45.3 x 45.3 inches

In his new series of Zodiac works composed from thousands of plastic LEGO bricks. The set of twelve works incorporates imagery from two well-known series by the artist. The twelve LEGO Zodiac animal heads deriving from his sculpture series Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010) are overlaid onto twelve landscapes and monuments from Ai’s Study of Perspective (1995–2003) series of photographs.

Ai has been employing LEGO bricks as an artistic medium since 2007. He appreciates how LEGO is accessible to everyone, especially young people. His use of LEGO components is a response to the pixelated structure of digital images. Zodiac is the first major LEGO work to be exhibited since Trace (2014) at the Hirshhorn Museum in 2017.

Sam Moyer
Morocco Poppy, 2019

Slate, painted canvas mounted to MDF panel | 69 1/4 x 49 x 1 inches

Examining traditional roles of painting and sculpture, Moyer reframes the painted surface as a sculptural field in which fragments of previously used stone are paired with hand painted canvas to create dynamic compositions. She manipulates these found textures and materials into powerful and evocative abstract works that evince beauty, humor, balance and chance, employing the hand-made and readymade.