Even though, as I was recently told, I have no right to be writing about art…I brazenly decided, against my better judgment, that I should risk making a fool of myself by attending the Armory Show.

God forbid if I write something dumb.  I decided that I would NOT have opinions.  How would that feel?  But, try as I might… within seconds of arriving at the 2011 Armory show… I was overwhelmed with… opinions.  Many, many opinions. Sickeningly, I just could not stop.  Opinions… swarmed… like bees.  Involuntary… like hiccups, like dry heaving, like angina.  In many cases the opinions were as painful as having a heart attack.  Worst of all… I had no idea if my opinions were worth having or not.

I was invited by Adam Gross…thanks for asking Lorcan.  “Who invited you?”  He sneered imperiously.  “What are you doing here?”  I stopped by at 12 midday with my friend Aaron so I could enjoy a leisurely meander around the 200 or so stands on Pier 94 devoted to NEW WORK BY LIVING ARTISTS….rather than fight through a raucous crowd at 5pm like everyone else.  All the usual suspects in attendance.

Remember when Jay first came here?  That little room at the Gramercy Park Hotel?  Those were exciting days.  The White Cube gallery is now an ‘institution’ and looked just like that: a dreary, so what space showing all the usual stuff in all the usual ways. White Cube has lost its edge. In the words of Jay’s greatest victim Miss Tracy Emin it is ‘stuck, stuck, stuck’.

Living artists?

Also stuck: Max Wigram (looks terribly OLD) and Lorcan O’Neill (attractive) who still pedal that same old YBA shit. Lorcan tried to up his game with a mediocre Richard Long mud work but it was too little too late.

Victoria Miro, also an ‘institution’ but less arrogant, more in touch.

There sure were slim pickings this year.  There were a few exceptional stands that inspired and a few artists who caught our attention.  Here are some of them:

My favorite piece and stand were audaciously combined by Paul Kasmin.  Ivan Navarro’s site specific Armory Fence delineated Kasmin’s pitch and excluded even the gallery assistants who sat at the edge taking comments and cards.  It was genius.

Ivan Navarro at Paul Kasmin

Felt a little sorry for the surrounding booths as there was no escaping the nuclear fallout from Navarro’s huge neon piece.

I loved Sean Kelly’s delicious space and choices. I asked him if he had offered Billy Childish a show. “Not to my knowledge.” He said.

Richard Heller showing Devin Troy Strother…not usually worth mentioning but there is something charming about Devin’s new work.

At Josh Lilly I fell in love with the work of Analin Saban who works in LA and shares a studio with John Baldessari. It sold moments before I could pull out my cheque book.

Analin Saban @ Josh Lilley

At Leo Koenig I was drawn to and offered to buy a small and very beautiful work by Nicole Eisenman. Again I was beaten at the pass by an ‘important’ collector. It was the only piece that they had sold. At 6.5k this was a bargain. Studio visit planned for next week. I dragged Stavros Niarchos into the gallery to admire this most painterly of painters.  Leo started in on Vito Schnabel, boasting that it was opening his gallery that inspired Vito to become a gallerist. Really?

Bumped into my friends from the Donald Judd Foundation who invited me this week on a hard hat tour of the space on Spring St that is currently being extensively renovated.

I noticed Jay Jopling all over a Belinde De Bruyckere work at Galleria Continua. Here it is:

Berlinde De Bruyckere

There was another work of hers at Sean Kelly’s:

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Frankly the boys were prettier than the art… and cheaper.  One GORGEOUS Swiss boy working his father’s gallery.

Lunch with Aaron at Soho House.   Steam room.  Saw Joan.  Missed Dan.  Dinner and a cuddle with SH.

On the way home from the Armory we stopped off at David Zwirner’s gallery on 19th street.

Marcel Dzama’s Behind Every Curtain. Delightful: