By Nate Freeman
During the press conference for the Armory Show, about 30 minutes before the fair opened to VIPs, its director, Ben Genocchio, was addressing the press corps in the VIP Lounge. There were “bespoke culinary offerings” on offer, although the cloudy weather deprived attendees of the “sun-drenched views.”
“But look, you can see beautiful New Jersey!” Genocchio told me with his usual exuberance.
More interesting, though, was talk of another structural innovation designed for this year’s edition of Armory. It’s a clearing in the middle of Pier 94 that, on the map, is deemed the “town square.”
Genocchio explained that in North Africa and Spain, a town’s center was dubbed its “sacred heart” (an appropriate term for a fair that opened on Ash Wednesday) and that he wanted to create that kind of epicenter for the first edition of the fair he has been able to fully organize. He wanted it to offer a break from the booths, drawing people in, he said. And so, to do that, he called upon Yayoi Kusama, who is very good at drawing people in. Her show at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garner in Washington, D.C. (an institution run by Genocchio’s wife, Melissa Chiu) has a show up of her work that’s inspired headlines in the local papers that all say something like, “Lines for the Kusama Exhibit at the Hirshhorn Appear Infinite.”
Image: Yayoi Kusama, GUIDEPOST TO THE NEW WORLD, 2016 at the Armory Show, on view in Platform, a new curated section. Courtesy YAYOI KUSAMA Inc., Ota Fine Arts Tokyo/Singapore and Victoria Miro, London, © Yayoi Kusama.