Covering both piers of the Armory Show is definitely an eyeful, or two, of art and as satisfying/inspiring as it can be, it’s also a bit draining. So, even in the most ordinary of circumstances I would have appreciated artist Andrew Ohanesian’s witty artworks, but they were especially welcome as an antidote to the exhaustion that started to set in a pier and half in. First spotted, was “Oceans” a San Jamar Tear-n-Dry, Hands-free Paper Towel Dispenser, the kind we’ve all had a little fun with in public restrooms, waving our hands in front of. Here, smack in the middle of the Armory Show, hanging from the wall, getting a lot of quizzical looks by passers-by, was the dispenser, beckoning to the public with its artist/title label to the side on the wall. Hard not to smile, though it might have been even funnier if each sheet had been signed by the artist. On the wall to the left, less noticeable, was the “Dollar Bill Acceptor”—in the style of vending machine money collectors—installed in the wall actually taking anyone’s money that was inclined to insert, giving nothing in return. I was a fan, and felt my dollar contribution was very well spent.
These humorous interactive artworks are not new to Ohanesian. Last year at the Armory Show he installed a flushing urinal, surely a nod to Marcel Duchamp. And in 2011 “ATM 2011”, a fully functioning ATM built by the artist charged the user the hefty fee of $4.99, but after completing a transaction, the user received a receipt with a title and an edition number on it… basically, a purchased work of art.