Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Pier 94, 901)
On Wednesday, Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a year on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, on Planet Art, visitors to New York’s Armory Show at Piers 92 and 94 can travel to the outer reaches with a space-themed stand by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. To launch things off there is Sylvie Fleury’s First Spaceship on Venus (22) (2015), a sparkly fibreglass rocket priced at $35,000.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac's Space Age stand: Sylvie Fleury, First Spaceship On Venus (22) (2015); Robert Rauschenberg, Nagshead Summer Glut Sketch, (1987); James Rosenquist, Fractals Caught Approaching Zero (2013); Tom Sachs, Saturn V (2011)
The gallery is also showing a large-scale diptych Robert Longo, Untitled (Cosmonaut Tereshkova, First Woman in Space) (2015), Jules de Ballincourt’s Space Investors (2015) and a smaller garbage rocket by Tom Sachs Saturn V, (2011). These are accompanied by older works by James Rosenquist, Richard Artschwager and Robert Rauschenberg, who created a wall-mounted sculpture that resembles a sort of broken flying machine. Ropac said almost all the works in the booth besides those older ones were commissioned by the gallery. The historic works are a bit more expensive too—$1m for Rosenquist’s and $1.5m for Rauschenberg’s.
The Armory project follows a similar group show Ropac staged at its Paris Pantin gallery this fall. “We were just talking at the gallery about what might be a fun idea to do, and this came up,” Ropac said, adding that the decision to do a show about space was not at all influenced by the new Star Wars movie. — Dan Duray
Galerie Nordenhake (Pier 94, 801)
John Coplans, Self Portrait, Back With Arms Above (1984), Galerie Nordenhake, $18,000
John Coplans (1920-2003) is known best as a founding editor of Artforum and its editor-in-chief from 1972 to 1977. His nude self-portrait photographs, a group of which are on view with Galerie Nordenhake from Berlin and Stockholm, reveal a more intimate side to the artist and writer. “The head is decapitated in every image,” says the dealer Ben Loveless, adding that the series reflects in part Coplans’s experience as a British soldier in Ethiopia during the Second World War.
He took up photography in earnest in 1980, says Amanda Means, Coplans’s second wife and a trustee of the John Coplans Trust. “He said he had entered his ‘silent period’ when he stopped writing,” she says. In 2002, the self-portrait series was the subject of the monograph A Body, published by Powerhouse books. Each print at the Nordenhake stand is priced at $18,000. — Pac Pobric
Two Palms Press (Pier 94, 733)
Cecily Brown, Untitled
The Armory Show tends not to be a place for single artist shows—most galleries tend to favour a more eclectic display—but one stand features an impressive series of new works by Cecily Brown. They are presented by Two Palms Press, a New York-based print studio that works with artists including Brown, Elizabeth Peyton, Chris Ofili and Dana Schutz.
The works are all original monotypes generally featuring forest scenes, but in Brown’s abstract style, and are around three feet long. The cost of each is $66,000. Not bad for a unique work by Brown, even if the resale value may pale in comparison to her other pieces. — Dan Duray
James Cohan (Pier 94, 909)
Fred Tomaselli, Behind Your Eyes (1992)
The New Yorker's art critic Peter Schjeldahl once described the Brooklyn artist Fred Tomaselli as “the guy who puts drugs in his paintings”. This anatomical depiction of a man, priced at $300,000, is made from a cocktail of over-the-counter pills such as Tylenol, Advil, Tums, and placebos which are set with paint and resin on wood. The piece demonstrates “the idea of how humans use drugs as an escape, and the psychological effects of taking drugs”, a spokeswoman for the gallery said. — Gabriella Angeleti
Sean Kelly (Pier 94, 501)
Niles Luther with his portrait by Kehinde Wiley
The artist Kehinde Wiley typically discovers his models on the streets of New York, but for his newest painting—finished in Sean Kelly’s booth the night before the Armory Show opened to VIPs on Wednesday—the painter picked Niles Luther, a strapping young cellist who Wiley saw performing with the Harlem Chamber Players at the opening of his Brooklyn Museum retrospective last year.
During the fair’s Wednesday afternoon preview, Luther, now a student at the Manhattan School of Music, could be found standing proudly alongside the portrait, which showed him riding a bucking blond horse, sword in hand. One of Wiley’s largest works to date, the painting is priced at $300,000. — Rachel Corbett
Hollis Taggart (Pier 92, 406)
The Honor and Glory of Whaling (1992)
Hollis Taggart Galleries
Frank Stella’s work can be spotted all over Pier 92, the section of the Armory Show that learns toward Modern art. At least four galleries—Armand Bartos Fine Art (420), Leila Heller Gallery (106), Simon Capstick-Dale Fine Art (100) and Hollis Taggart Galleries (406), all from New York—are presenting work by the artist. That the market for Stella’s work has picked up following his recent retrospective at the Whitney Museum is perhaps not surprising. “He has always had such broad appeal,” says the New Jersey dealer Michael Borghi, who is working with Hollis Taggart at the fair.
But are Stella’s more recent works, made since he abandoned his stripe paintings in 1965, less popular? “It’s not that they’re less popular, it’s just that they don’t cost as much money,” Borghi says. Taggart is selling The Honor and Glory of Whaling (1992), a painted aluminium maquette for a larger work from the Moby Dick series, for $675,000. As well as the lower price-point, this newer work is less hefty in other ways. “It probably only weighs about 250 pounds,” Borghi says, adding that it was intended for a private residence. — Pac Pobric
Donald Ellis (Pier 92, 238)
Sun Dance Painting, Lakota (Teton Sioux) Northern Plains, around 1895
Well-trafficked by the public and well-regarded by critics, the Plains Indians exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year has spurred new interest in the market for works of art by Native American artists. “This is one of the most important aspects of American art history and nobody knows about it,” says Donald Ellis, whose New York-based gallery had an especially vivid pigment-on-muslin work on view at Pier 92.
Made by an anonymous artist from the Lakota (Teton Sioux) Northern Plains tribe and dating to around 1895, the painting depicts a crowd gathered for the grueling spiritual ceremony known as a Sun Dance. Ellis said the piece, priced at $275,000, is “the finest example of its type”, pointing out the way the earthy colours “expand across the surface” of the muslin. — Rachel Corbett