PHOTOS: Walkable art at Armory Arts Week in New York City

Don’t touch the art. That’s the rule at most galleries and museums, and most of us hesitate to get too close to artwork– even if it isn’t roped off and protected by a security guard.

For those of us who like to interact with art, a refreshing trend emerged at this year’s Armory Arts Week in New York City: walkable art. If this trend continues, the floor may replace the wall as the focal point of any gallery.

The next time you attend an art exhibit, make sure to look down!

>> Click here for more coverage of Armory Arts Week 2012

3D gallery

Volta NY Art Show_Jens Schubert prints 02

Entering the Galerie Kleindienst booth at the Volta NY Show is like stepping into the matrix. It resembles a giant cube, with art covering all walls and the floor. Art movers and shakers clad in black turtlenecks huddle in the corner making business deals as visitors tentatively step on the colorful mat of artwork.

Volta NY Art Show_Jens Schubert prints

This is the work of Jens Schubert, a German artists who leaves traces of his work– in this case, the blocks used to make the prints displayed on the gallery walls– to prove the authenticity and uniqueness of his work.

Please tread on me

Fountain Art Fair_Benito Valadie 02

Another artist creating walkable art is Benito Valadie, whose work is literally “street” art. One of his fabric-backed paintings is spread out on the floor of the Lambert Fine Arts booth at the Fountain Art Fair. Visitors were side-stepping the artwork on Friday, unsure whether they were supposed to walk over it or treat it as a precious work of art.

Fountain Art Fair_Benito Valadie

I spotted the gallery’s executive director, Marc Lambert, standing on the edge of the artwork, which prompted me to ask if we were supposed to tread on it. One of the gallery reps contemplated putting up a ‘please walk on me’ sign to encourage other visitors.

It’s clearly hard to change our ingrained habits!

From sky to floor

Fountain Art Fair_Sarah Trouche blue stars

Nearby, I came across these framed stars on the floor of the Fountain show. The glass was cracked and paint smeared on the surface; I quickly connected them to French artist Sarah Trouche, whose body was covered in blue paint. Trouche has just finished a performance, which I missed by mere minutes, that undoubtedly included this floor art.

Seeing the stars on the floor instead of the sky may cause momentary confusion for some art patrons. If these celestial bodies are choosing to hang out on the ground, we must be on to a major art trend!

What do you think of art you can walk on?

>> Click here for more coverage of Armory Arts Week 2012

About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.