The Armory Show has selected Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen as the commissioned artist for the 2014 edition of the fair, executive director Noah Horowitz announced last night.
“We picked an artist with an intentionally hard to pronounce name,” quipped Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, who is curating the Armory Focus: China section of the fair. (For the record it’s pronounced “‘shoe’ like on a foot and ‘Jen’ with a J.”)
The Empire State Building, which was appropriately (if coincidentally) lit red, glowed behind Mr. Tinari as he addressed the crowd assembled in the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel. “He is the artist in whom we might locate the backbone of the generation I’m so excited about,” said Mr. Tinari, referring to the generation of Chinese artists born around the death of Mao. Their work, he said, differs from what one might associate with contemporary Chinese art: “Pink babies and green dogs and yawning men—a genre I lovingly refer to as Mao with a Coke can.”
Mr. Xu’s commissioned work will be on view in The Armory Focus: China section of the fair, which will run from March 6-9, 2014.