The Spring Show at the Park Avenue Armory, which started today, is a new event in the art calendar. This is its third edition, as fair organizers like to term their annual events. It is a mixed offering — mixed in the goods on offer (paintings, furniture, silver, jewelry, flags, artifacts, etc. etc.), mixed in quality, mixed in the geographical home of the dealers, and so on. At the opening preview reception last night, I found plenty of things to enjoy and admire, as well as some that were easy to bypass.
Art snobs who pass it up are missing something, and so are museum people. True, they won’t find many museum-quality items on offer. But they will find something else: Spring Show galleries provide a laboratory for the color of their walls. Not since Thelma Golden hung Bob Thompson’s paintings on bright yellow walls at the Whitney in 1998 have I seen such an eye-opening display. (OK, there was the Brooklyn Museum’s experiment with neon colors for its American art galleries, but I didn’t and don’t like those. But the beige walls in the Metropolitan Museum’s American paintings galleries are just as awful.)
Since then, we’ve seen museums expand their use of colored walls — as I mentioned in my last post, the Brooklyn very successfully used melon walls for its current Sargent exhibition, and I’ve noticed marvelous shades of blue, olive, deep purple, gold, etc. etc. in many museums. Even in contemporary art exhibitions, white walls are not the required uniform anymore.
What did I see last night? Black. Turquoise. Deep Green. Bright red.
I took pictures, some posted here, but they don’t do the job as well as I’d have liked. Exposure was difficult because the dealers put spotlights on their offerings.
Photo Credits: © Judith H. Dobrzynski