Building Art at the Armory
Courtesy Olaf Breuning
At this year’s Armory Show, which ended last month, a Mapplethorpe diptych of Philip Johnson was prominently hung near the entrance. It could hardly have been a coincidence. Design is increasingly swallowed up by the art world, and many of the 160 exhibiting galleries seemed to have it on the mind. So while you could find the usual flotsam stapled to walls, cropped details from German pornos, and neon-paint-covered talking skulls, there was also a lot of work dedicated to architecture.
Over at the Swiss Institute, Olaf Breuning was represented by an old-timey black-and-white photo titled “A Man’s World,” which showed a chorus line of barefoot, mustachioed men dressed, in full-body costume, as famous New York skyscrapers—the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, of course, but also a few underappreciated icons, such as the Waldorf-Astoria, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, and a slightly menacing Citicorp Center. The Jack Tilton Gallery had a couple of Sudarshan Shetty’s structures of toy PVC Taj Mahal-esque buildings, stacked à la Sol LeWitt in offset blocks.
Courtesy Eigen + Art Leipzig/Berlin
But the showstopper was probably the Galerie Eigen + Art booth, whose walls were memorably designed with Googie-style imagery by Maix Mayer, an artist from Leipzig, Germany. Mayer pairs films of real and imagined architecture with gorgeous, lonely photographs of empty Modern buildings that lurk awkwardly in his frame.