Art mavens, hail to you, it’s Armory Season
And time to write rhymes without rhyme or reason,
With paeans to museums and dealers and buyers
Artists, art handlers, and all their suppliers,
We’ll dream winter’s past, the recession gone with it,
and hymn an ars longa ‘ere vita’s extincted.
So hey Lisa Phillips, here’s lookin’ to ya!
Jeff Koons, Jeffrey Deitch, and Yuken Teruya,
Good fellows all, creative in spirit,
Along with Mel Bochner, Kim Rugg and Al Saret,
With thanks now to MOCA for bearing your load,
But please go and find you some more Eli Broads.
Oh let’s not forget dear Sotheby’s and Christie’s
Whose market liquidity comes with such modest fees.
Carl Andre, Ken Snelson, Ken Solomon and still more,
Jerry Saltz, Arthur Danto, Ken Johnson we do adore.
All cheers to Mnuchin for hosting De Kooning,
And Heidenberg’s Moores, for which we are mooning,
Deeps thanks now to Manny for Dugmore and Leslie,
D. Smith, Michael Goldberg and always a Mark Tobey,
All nicely arrayed in Park Avenue splendor
With not a cross word ‘twixt vendor and vendor.
But vault from the tried and the true now we must
And trek to the Piers where mini-booths roost,
Now Zwirner, now Pace, now Washburn, now Selwyn,
On Warhol, on Donovan, on Ruscha, on Flavin,
To the rooftops we climb, we’re all covered with dust,
But treasures await to be snatched for a buck.
Look at that Abramowic, surely she’s hot!
Is Glenn Ligon a steal? Jackson Pollock is not.
Ellen Harvey is radiant, etched mirrors and light,
But Damien Hirst? Gee that guy’s a fright.
All hail the Rubells, the Horts and the Mallins,
Undaunted by crises, or dollars, or Palins,
They scour the stalls and the tables and closets
Hoping to scoop up tomorrow’s new Basquiat.
There’s Pinaud! There’s Glenn Close! And even Steve Martin!
They seem to have money while others are smartin’
So hail you intrepid fair-goers out tryin’
To score a James Brooks or even a Marden,
And kudos to Sol, in pace requiescat,
Now there was an artist who knew where it all was at.
Let’s welcome Biennialists – Storm Tharp we love you –
Pae White, Aurel Schmidt and Thomas Houseago.
Drink to our pals, Bob and Merrill so loyal,
Anastasi and Bradshaw, renegades royal,
Valerie Hagerty, Hank Willis Thomas,
Clementine Nixon and others of promise;
Erwin Wurm, Erwin Redl and always Bob Irwin,
Jessica Stockholder and also John Chamberlain,
Annabel Daou, so intensely inscribing,
And you Ms. Jill Moser, whose work we’re imbibing,
Plus Sharon Louden, John Wesley, Mark Sheinkman,
Julianne Swartz, N. Dash and Tom Ericsson,
Judd and McCracken, worked to perfection,
You won’t find these guys under “honorable mention.”
Do lift up a song to the keepers of flames
Carter Foster, Ann Temkin, Shamim Momin we name,
And thanks to Glenn Lowry, Glenn Fuhrman and Shaq,
Yes art should be fun, so down with the hacks!
Three cheers for our friends Messrs. Weinberg and Vergné,
They won’t sell themselves for just champagne and paté,
Ms. Philbin, Ms. Viso and good Sherri Geldin,
Who stick to their vision both through thick and through thin.
Then lend us a hand to greet every true man,
Marc Glimcher, Jay Gorney and Jimminy Cohan,
And here’s to the lassies, second to noone,
Ms. Boesky, Ms. Goodman and yes Mary Boone,
P. Cooper, F. Taylor, J. Bienvenu too,
C. Plummer, B. Cunningham, to name just a few:
Oh there’s never enough on the walls and the floors,
So help us to find some more art for the doors!
And pax far and wide, that’s our hope for the future,
Plus video, drawing, and painting and sculpture,
But please, weary viewers, surfeited with art fairs,
Don’t spend all your cash lest you come up short car fare.
MICHAEL STRAUS is a Contributing Writer for The Brooklyn Rail as well as one of its Board members. He is also Chairman of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, past Chairman of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and a member of the Drawings Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.