Most people think it's cliché to talk about the iPad itself as a work of art, but we've yet to see the tablet be embraced as the next artist's medium. Early after it debuted, there were many who lamented that the artistry of the iPad was all Apple's: the purpose of the thing was to consume stuff that other people made. Roughly two years since the first model debuted, a new iPad will hit hands on Friday and, if the fanboys are right, it will change the way we think about tablets thanks to the new high resolution screen and top notch camera. With new software that makes photo editing easy and a zippy processor that makes video editing seamless, Apple's latest iteration seems intent on making the iPad more creative. But, if our empty search for iPad art is a sign, the art community doesn't seem to care about the iPad one bit. Everyone may own iPhones and carry MacBooks and AirBooks, but the iPad is still stuck in the world of commerce.
With the Armory Show, New York's biggest art fair, in full swing last weekend, we wanted to see if there was any sign of iPads as art. Perched on piers 92 and 94 in midtown Manhattan, the Armory Show is not just for the gallery types. Its historical legacy conjures up the idea of innovation in art -- a fair at the 69th Regiment Armory over on Lexington Avenue in 1913 was where Marcel Duchamp introduced his infamous sculpture Fountain, a urinal laid flat and signed "R. Mutt." To a large degree, the modern incarnation of the Armory Show is also all about innovation. There were a few people walking around with iPads in front of their faces, taking pictures and video of the art in the hundreds of booths set up for galleries, non-profits, art publications and (yes) sponsors, but not a single iPad painting on display and certainly no arty apps. There was a special wing dedicated to art from the Nordic countries, another that featured most of the 20th-century art and a giant champagne lounge in the middle.