Same spot, same place. But what a difference opening up a few rooms on the second floor makes.
And what a difference simple unobtrusive lighting in those second floor rooms by a Dutch specialist makes. The difference really shines when it’s ancient sculpture and artifacts that are displayed.
Whatever you do his year don’t miss the displays in the Park Avenue Armory’s restored rooms on the second floor. Instead of the usual totally artificial spaces within the cavern of the invisible drill hall – invisible except from the second floor landing – you have ancient antiques in just restored American antique spaces the changing rooms of the old Armory. (The Armory was named in 2000 among the “100 Most Endangered Historic Sites in the world by the World Monuments Fund www.armoryonpark.org.) And when you have just sculpture to present you can do it with double the impact – and that incredibly focused unobtrusive Dutch lighting structures.
To start this year’s show off at the top go to the far north end of the second floor. There, tucked away in a corner, you’ll find the work of Wallace Chan. Be prepared to gasp at the sheer size, and amount – and extravagance – of the materials Maitre Chan uses with seemingly casual abandon. Flights of fancy become flights of jewels held in space by his mastery of titanium – the mosts bio-friendly metal – and invisible support that makes his jewels come alive.
The Armory show, never strong in Asian art, is strikingly weak in its offerings this year. After all as these new sponsors insist on reminding us TEFAF is short for The European Fine Art Foundation. (They simply ignore American work.) They have more than made up for this by welcoming Wallace Chan
Chan committed to carving gemstones at 17 in 1974. In 1987 he invented the Wallace Cut illusory carving technique. He immersed himself in Buddhist art for a decade starting in 1991. Chan also spent 8 years to experiment with titanium, the most bio-friendly metal known to date. He surprised Baselworld 2007 with a series of jewelry creations featuring ethereal titanium structures, the technical secrets of which he later unveiled to the world. In 2012 and 2014, he emerged at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris as the first and only Asian artist ever invited to exhibit at this fair. In 2015, Wallace Chan has his solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, invited by Christie’s. His very first limited edition illustrated monograph Dream Light Water is published by Rizzoli.
In 2016, Wallace Chan became the first Chinese jewelry artist invited to exhibit at TEFAF in Maastricht. He made another debut at Masterpiece, London the same year – delivering a 1-hour talk at the Victoria & Albert Museum. After that he delivered a dialogue with the Jewelry Curator of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at the Hong Kong Book Fair. Now he caps off 2016 with his first exhibition in New York at the Park Avenue Armory TEFAF show. Here’s his masterpiece sculpture – an art extravaganza.