The Best Rooms at Armory Week 2016


With thousands of artworks stocked in the hundreds of rooms at the dozen or so fairs that make up Armory Week, it’s not exactly hard to get a case of visual fatigue – which is why showstopper installations also double as wonderful pit stops. The fully outfitted living rooms and bedrooms at fairs like Spring/Break may not actually allow you to sit and rest your legs – they are art, after all – but your eyes can certainly get a break from straining at the details when it’s more about the immersive experience. From mock stores and bedrooms to a fully peopled mental hospital, these are the standout rooms of the 2016 New York art shows.


In her co-curated exhibit “Glory Hole” at Spring/Break Rémy Bennett installed a lived-in, cutesy lavender bedroom, then covered it with spray paint, fake blood, and torturous Polaroids. Its imagined owner is a webcam-girl-turned-serial-killer, a twist that’s pointed at digital-age violence and exploitation.

Curated by 1985, Rémy Bennett, and Kelsey Bennett. Photo by Katie Thompson.


Often compared to Cindy Sherman for her costumed self-portraits, artist Genevieve Gaignard took her role-playing to another level with “Apt. #3104,” an installation at Spring/Break meant to be a living space shared by two of her characters. Using everyday objects and environments, including even a bathroom, Gaignard creates a character portrait of her self-iterations the Hairhopper and the Cat Lady without words or paintings – though photos of herself dressed as both do appear on the walls as well.

Curated by Shulamit Nazarian and Renée Fox. Photo by Katie Thompson.


Alternate view of of Genevieve Gaignard’s installation, curated by Shulamit Nazarian and Renée Fox. Photo by Katie Thompson.


A recreation of a mental hospital, Spring/Break’s “L-Dopa” is a full-on interactive experience, complete with actors living out the parts of the patients described on the walls and their accompanying interrogating doctors. In part because of the room’s narrowness – it’s one of the galleries at Spring/Break that’s actually in a bathroom, thanks to space constraints – the installation is startlingly immersive, and leaves a definite sense of the viewer as voyeur.

Curated by Eve Sussman and Simon Lee. Photo courtesy of Samuel Sachs Morgan and SPRING/BREAK Art Show.


One of the bigger-name curators at Spring/Break, Brooklyn artist Dustin Yellin engineered an installation from Azikiwe Mohammed called “Jimmy’s Thrift,” a mock store filled with everything from knick knacks to Malcolm X awards to racks of postcards from New Devonhaime. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because Mohammed invented it, combining the names of the most populous black cities in America to create an imagined racial utopia of sorts where the store is meant to take place.

Photo courtesy of Samuel Sachs Morgan and SPRING/BREAK Art Show.


A fake Louis Vuitton store, Alfred Steiner’s “LV DIY” takes designer knock-offs to the true extreme. Even the walls are counterfeit, made of cardboard and barely holding up the dollar-store mirrors and plastic hangers that stock the Sharpie-monogrammed merchandise. In a clear aim at consumer culture, McDonalds logos are mixed in with the LV’s, and many clothes bear visible price tags from other stores. Steiner definitely won’t be the next GucciGhost, but that’s hardly his goal – the exhibit directly calls out the house’s use of of intellectual property laws, which, to him, border on censorship.

Curated by Kevin Van Gorp + Shen-Shen Wu at Spring/Break.