As you may have heard, conceptual, performance, and video artist Liz Magic Laser is the commissioned artist at next week’s Armory Show art fair, and in preparation for completing the various tasks that such a role entails — a pair of benefit editions, designing VIP invitations, staff T-shirts, fair catalogues, and so on — the artists held a series of six focus groups late last year. The sessions, each of which lasted two hours and featured 10 members of the art world audience, were recorded and edited down to create the video “The Armory Show Focus Group” (2013) — a nine-minute trailer for which is embedded below — and which will be on view in the Various Small Fires booth (917) at the fair.
The focus groups, which were conducted by Ben Allen of the market research group Labrador Agency, brought together a variety of art world professionals like gallerists, curators, administrators, and critics — including, as you’ll see in the video, ARTINFO‘s own Julia Halperin — as well as artists and museum-goers. While the initial groups offered a general impression of the Armory Show’s standing and meaning in the art market, later groups were presented with prototypes and asked for feedback.
The trailer for the video offers a glimpse of what the fair’s centennial edition will look like, from the tees to the totes, and provides an idea of the designs that weren’t, like the corporate-branded posters and other paraphernalia to which panel members can be seen reacting rather intensely around 5:45. “I’m just aesthetically kind of like — this sounds so dramatic — but like repulsed by it,” offers museum attendee Katie White.
Collector and Museum of Modern Art trustee Lawrence B. Benenson was similarly off-put by another design idea, which proffered the closely guarded productions costs and booth fees for the fair on T-shirts, tote bags, and flyers. “It’s all about statistics,” he said, “and it’s just… it’s just… I think it sucks.”
You can form your own opinion of Liz Magic Laser’s Armory Show commissions next week, when the fair runs March 7-10.
Watch the trailer for Liz Magic Laser’s video “The Armory Show Focus Group” below, or wait to see it at the Armory Show:
— Benjamin Sutton