The Comprehensive ARTINFO Guide to New York's Sprawling Armory Fair Week
Though Frieze New York may be invading its territory by taking over Randall’s Island May 4 through 7, Armory Week remains New York’s foremost occasion for art collecting. Opening on March 8, the Armory Show is the largest among a plethora of fairs, exhibitions, and events that will keep the city’s art-world class busy until everyone is nursing their hangovers on March 12. Though last year's Verge Art NYC, the inaugural NADA NYC art fair, and Pulse have all chosen to move to May to cluster around Frieze’s pre-summer warmth, there are still a dozen distinct fairs to choose from, sprawling across Manhattan and Brooklyn, and featuring everything from blue-chip dealers to the most emerging outfits and anarchic artists and galleries.
Already feeling overwhelmed? Here is ARTINFO’s guide to what’s happening where during Armory Week.
***The Armory Show, Modern and Contemporary, at Piers 92 and 94, 12th Avenue and 54th Street, March 8 through 11
In order to compete with the rash of art fairs that have popped up around New York City, the Armory Show has opted to fight quantity with quality, paring down their gallery list by 25 percent, allowing bigger booths, and adding a new solo projects section for young dealers. New York galleries Greene Naftali and David Zwirner are back in the Armory fold after prolonged absences, though international spaces including White Cube and Yvon Lambert have defected to May's Frieze New York. The Armory Focus section will shine a spotlight on Nordic art in a selection curated by Malmö Konsthall director Jacob Fabricius while a newly created media lounge will showcase a series of performances and films. And, to further tempt you, the refreshed fair will also host a farm-to-table restaurant and cafe courtesy of Great Performances catering.
***ADAA’s The Art Show, at Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue and 67th Street, March 7 through 11
The Art Dealers Association of America is also focusing on the artists, emphasizing solo and two-person exhibitions in its booths. The list of participants is diverse and exciting and includes a number of prominent female figures — one hopes that this year’s fair will surpass the musty atmosphere of its last outing. Metro Pictures will present Cindy Sherman’s 1976 “Murder Mystery” collage series, a fitting choice considering her present MoMA survey, while Marian Goodman will bring a booth of work by Francesca Woodman, whose posthumous retrospective soon opens at the Guggenheim. Galerie Lelong has an all-women booth featuring Louise Bourgeois, Ana Mendieta, and Yoko Ono, while Pace plans to show works on paper by their freshly-poached catch Yoshitomo Nara (not a woman, but popular with a huge female fanbase). A two-part Collectors’ Forum on March 9 and 10 will explore the sticky issue of catalogues raisonnés and authentication, with such speakers as dealer David Nash and MoMA chief curator emeritus John Elderfield.
***Independent, at 548 West 22nd Street, Between 10th and 11th Avenues, March 8 through 11
Will the 2012 Independent match the hip, internationalist glamor of last year’s outing? If the list of featured artists and galleries is any indication, then it’s a given. A pop-up structure will once again roost on the roof of the fair's Chelsea warehouse space, this time populated by publications Bidoun, 02, Mousse, and star-of-the-moment TripleCanopy. Both Bartolami and Murray Guy galleries have defected from the Armory to show at this dealer-driven alternative, which boasts a list of featured spaces including Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Elizabeth Dee, and Andrew Kreps gallery. Taking a historical bent, gb agency will be presenting a 1976 installation by sculptor and photographer Mac Adams, while McCaffrey will show late Japanese interdisciplinary artist Jiro Takamatsu. On March 9, the fair will host a screening of works by Luke Fowler at the SVA Theatre.
***Volta NY, at 7 West 34th Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues, March 8 through 11
Volta NY puts the emphasis on individual artists with a fair composed solely of invitational solo projects. Volta highlights an under-the-radar side of contemporary art, showing up-and-coming names that might not be familiar to collectors. Geometric street and installation artist Aakash Nihalani is bringing his neon polygons to Carmichael Gallery while Jeff Perrott will show loopy abstractions at LaMontagne. Spain’s Visor Gallery is presenting a timely show of work by feminist performance artist Sanja Ivekovic, coinciding with her Museum of Modern Art retrospective. Integrating video screens into faux-antique sculpltures, Japanese video artist Ken Matsubara will be featured at Tokyo’s MA2GALLERY. Volta’s extracurricular activities include “BOOM!,” a showing of technology-enabled artwork by media consultancy Culture Shock and a presentation of work by photographer David Schoerner from Brooklyn art nonprofit NURTUREart as well as a filming of the award ceremony of art reality TV show Art/Trek NYC.
***SCOPE New York, 57th Street and 12th Avenue, March 7 through 11
SCOPE is raising the stakes this year by boldly positioning itself across the street from The Armory Show in a brand new 30,000-square-foot pavilion. This year, the fair adds the SCOPE Foundation Series, with multi-disciplinary projects, performances, and events. “Focus: Puerto Rico” brings a selection of five artists (Juan A. Negroni, Martin Albarran, Omar Velazquez, Rogelio Baez Vega, and Samuel Toro Rosa) to represent the socio-political climate of the island’s art community within the fair. Artist David Rosenbloom will light up the scene with a six-screen LCD installation titled “Tokyo Bay,” showing the eponymous city at night as seen from the top of Mt. Fuji. Keep your eyes peeled while perusing the booths for work by Richard Hambleton from Dorian Gray Gallery, John Kessler from Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, Norman Mooney with Waterhouse & Dodd, and Ron English with Corey Helford Gallery, amongst a sea of other work for sale.
***Moving Image, at the Waterfront New York Tunnel, 11th Avenue Between 27th and 28th Streets, March 8 through 11
The Moving Image fair, focusing solely on video art, made a huge splash last year with its inaugural New York outing and even added a London event in October. Settling back in to its Chelsea tunnel space, the fair boasts a number of galleries showing two artists, as well as single-artist video installations and projections. The technology-obsessed bitforms gallery will show work by Marina Zurkow and Yael Kanarek while PPOW will highlight Martha Wilson’s video work. Winkleman gallery, whose owner Ed Winkleman founded the fair, will feature Christopher K. Ho and Janet Biggs. The fair has also organized an impressive series of panels dealing with the issues and conflicts surrounding video art. On Friday, March 9, Electronic Arts Intermix will address video preservation, while two panels on March 10 discuss the future of the moving image and the eternal collecting question — what do you get when you buy video art? — respectively.
***New City Art Fair, hpgrp gallery, 529 West 20th Street #2W, March 7 through 11
In a slew of fairs that pride themselves on internationalism, the New City Art Fair is unique by virtue of its focus. Bringing together 11 participating galleries from Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, New City is devoted to showing work by Japanese artists. Don’t expect to find any Murakami or Araki pieces here, though. Most of the artists are virtually unknown in the U.S.; and many have created works that respond to the recent natural disasters in Japan. Hpgrp gallery’s Tokyo outpost is bringing Kanako Ohya’s disquieting paintings of leaking trash bags, evoking Japan’s traumatic past with nuclear contamination. Courtesy of Osaka’s Tezukayama Gallery Western audiences will become acquainted with Hiroyuki Ooe’s surreal group of headless flower children, a sculpture both funereal and absurdly funny.
***PooL Art Fair New York, at the Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street, March 9 through 11
PooL is a three-day event that features artists who aren’t represented by galleries. In an established guerrilla-art-fair tactic, exhibiting artists will use guest rooms at the hotel to display their work. Run by the nonprofit Frere Independent, the fair includes artists Justin Wood, Francis Eck, Yoshiya Homma, and Anne-Marie Cosgrove. Manuela Viera-Gallo will contribute twisted fabric scupltures while Erol Gundez will show his geometric creations adorned with metallic action figures.
***Fountain, at the 69th Street Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, Between 25th and 26th Streets, March 9 through 11
Fountain embraces the indie side of the New York art scene, highlighting a bevy of Brooklyn galleries and artists. At an Artlog-hosted opening reception on March 9, NYC DJ legend Fab 5 Freddy will spin tunes (and show his artwork) and psych-rockers Spirit Animal will play a concert alongside an intervention by the art-improv collective Art Liars. A series of performances will feature Marni Kotak, who recently hit viral fame with her work “The Birth of Baby X,” during which she gave birth in Bushwick’s Microscope Gallery. Art consultancy Big Deal Arts, directed by Ginger Shulick, will create a facade projection inspired by the historic 69th Regiment Armory’s architecture. Among the participating galleries is Bushwick Gallery, an emerging space that will be highlighting Ken Kocses’s imaginary video game landscapes.
***SPRING/BREAK Art Show, at The Old School, 233 Mott Street, March 8 through 11
In its debut outing, SPRING/BREAK Art Show will assert itself as the sole "curator-focused" fair of Armory week. Stationed at the Old School, a multi-functional arts and cultur space in Nolita, Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori will assemble projects and a wide array of events from 23 curators. Maureen Sullivan will curate a site-specific piece by Eve Sussman as well as an installation by duo Algis Antanas Kizys & Simon Lee while Natalie Kovacs will assemble installations by Atelier Van Lieshout. Ambre and Andrew have also lined up events including Artlog’s “Show & Tell” lecture and presentation series, a special performance by Miky Fabrega, and Segway-guided tours of the fair and installations on the Lower East Side by Dora + Maja Cule. Before you head back uptown be sure to stop by “The End” sign workshop by Bigert & Bergström.
***Art’s Not Fair, at Like the Spice Gallery, 224 Roebling Street, Brooklyn, March 9 through 11
Looking for Brooklyn’s answer to all of the Manhattan fair insanity? This is it. Like the Spice gallery’s Marisa Sage is spearheading a free-for-all decentralized fair that encompasses 17 art spaces in and around Williamsburg. On March 9, check out the opening of “The Buzz” at Like the Spice, featuring Jenny Morgan, Chino Amobi, and Brian LaRossa, and then on March 10 explore Brooklyn Armory Night, with a plethora of local gallery openings at spaces including Pierogi and Parker’s Box. Capping it off is an afterparty at Indiescreen Cinema and, of course, all the bars of Williamsburg. A Pernod Absinthe app lets you know where it all goes down.
***Salon Zurcher, at Zurcher Studio, 33 Bleecker Street, March 5 through 12
The third edition of this “mini fair” will showcase the work of seven women artists from seven international galleries, circumventing the usual circuit of Armory fair week. New York City’s D’Amelio gallery will show work by fabric installation artist Polly Apfelbaum while Paris’s Galerie Anne Barrault will show sculptor Sarah Tritz.
— Kyle Chayka, Alanna Martinez, and Chloe Wyma