Events

Art Rx: Your Concise Guide to Armory Week and the Whitney Biennial

by Hrag Vartanian on March 4, 2014

The Westside Piers where the Armory Show will take place in Manhattan. (via Armory Show)

The Westside Piers where the Armory Show will take place in Manhattan. (via Armory Show)

Cultural omnivores will be descending on New York this week in order to partake in the art banquet that is the Armory Arts Week and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. The former is a collector’s delight, with 12 art fairs presenting commercial work of every type, while the latter is a window into the world of a few curators of American (loosely defined) art today.

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Here’s your quick guide to the week.

Also, don’t forget to follow Hyperallergic on Instagram for pics from the fairs and the Whitney Biennial all week.

 The Whitney Biennial

When: Friday, March 7–May 25 ($20)
Where: The Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

biennial_2014-HOMEThe 2014 Biennial, the 77th of the Whitney’s series of annuals and biennials, will feature 103 participants. Three curators — Stuart Corner, Anthony Elms, and Michele Grabner — each have a floor to themselves. The 2014 Biennial will be the last held at the Whitney’s current location on Madison Avenue (affectionately referred to as the ‘Breuer Building‘). The Museum is slated to open at its new location by the High Line in spring 2015. Expect a Chicago and Midwest-heavy vibe.

 The Whitney Houston Biennial

When: Sunday, March 9, 4pm–8pm (Free)
Where: 20 Jay Street, Suite 207 (20 Jay Street, Suite 207, Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Artist Christine Finley had a dream, and it involved a one-night, all female art show geared toward anyone who has ever thought, “I’m every woman, it’s all in me!” Yes, there is a Whitney Houston Biennial, and it is (fittingly) in Brooklyn.

 The Last Brucennial

When: Friday, March 7–April 4 (Free)
Where: 837 Washington Street (837 Washington Street, Meatpacking District, Manhattan)

The Bruces like to pretend like they invented the come-one-come-all show, but in reality it happens all the time, including annually at Sideshow Gallery in Williamsburg. This is the last Brucennial, and we hear it will be all female artists, which is a nice gesture to the gender imbalance in the bro-heavy Bruce High Quality Foundation.

 ADAA Art Show

When: March 5–9 / Wednesday–Friday: 12–8pm; Saturday, 12–7pm; Sunday, 12–5pm ($25)
Where: Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Where blue-chip art and secondary market converge in an old money orgy — it is on the Upper East Side — of orthodox taste and a little shot of something new. Don’t expect lots of new energy, but do expect to see some great museum-quality work hanging next to some OK stuff by some major names.

 The Armory Show

When: March 6–9 / Thursday–Sunday: 12–7pm ($40)
Where: Piers 92 & 94 (12th Avenue at West 55th Street, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)

DSC_0009-320This is the big kahuna. Everyone has been wondering if the Armory Show will be able to compete with the Frieze New York fair, which has sapped some of the energy of this older fair with its younger and fresher look, but I wouldn’t count the Armory out … yet.

This year the focus is on China, and the Modern section (which is normally a type of ADAA fair lite) has decided to try something new with its first curated exhibition, Venus Drawn Out, which will feature work by female artists submitted by the exhibitors.

Added bonus: Artsy has a preview of the fair on their site so you can check it out and see if it’s worth the trek to the West Side piers.

 Clio Art Fair

When: March 6–8 / Thursday–Saturday: 10–7pm (Free)
Where: 508 West 26th Street (Chelsea, Manhattan)

They call themselves an “anti-art fair,” but I honestly don’t know what to tell you since the Clio art fair is pretty unknown. We’ll be sure to report back.

 Fountain

When: March 7–9 / Friday–Saturday: 12–7pm; Sunday, 12–5pm ($10)
Where: 69th Regiment Armory (68 Lexington Avenue, Kips Bay, Manhattan)

Indie spirit meets commercial realities at this scrappy fair that includes gallery, artist, and curated booths of all type. Fountain art fair is a great venue for those who are normally intimidated by art fairs, as it’s definitely the most chill of the lot.

 FUƧION NY

When: Thursday, March 6, 12pm–9pm (Free)
Where: Four Points by Sheraton (66 Charlton Street, Soho, Manhattan)

A one-day fair at the Four Points by Sheraton in Soho, Fuƨion New York will feature four curators of color (Ina Archer, Badder Israel, Richard Beavers, Suave Rhoomes) exhibiting 17 artists. It’s organized by the West Harlem Art Fund.

 Independent

When: March 7–9 / Friday–Saturday: 12–7pm; Sunday, 12–6 ($20)
Where: 548 West 22nd Street (Chelsea, Manhattan)

People who love the Independent art fair usually really love it; those who don’t just see it as another trendy fair that takes itself too seriously. I personally oscillate between the former and latter perspective from year to year. One notable thing this year is that this will be the first time the fair will charge admission.

 Moving Image

When: March 6–9 / Thursday–Saturday: 11–8pm; Sunday, 11–4pm (Free)
Where: Waterfront New York Tunnel (269 Eleventh Avenue, Chelsea, Manhattan)

A video-art lover’s wet dream, the Moving Image art fair is arranged like a high-end trendy boutique. Remember to take your time, as this is a fair that’s impossible to see quickly … it is video art, after all.

 New City

When: March 6–9 / Thursday–Saturday: 12–7pm; Sunday, 12–6pm (FREE)
Where: 529 West 20th Street, 2W (Chelsea, Manhattan)

The week’s Japanese contemporary art fair, New City, has only 10 galleries, and, appropriately, sake will be served at the opening.

 Scope

When: March 7–9 / Friday–Saturday: 11–8pm; Sunday, 11–7pm ($25)
Where: Skylight at Moynihan Station (312 West 33rd Street, Penn Station, Manhattan)

The closest thing the art world has to a shopping mall. Go and buy something.

 Spring/Break

When: March 6–9 / Thursday–Sunday: 12–8pm ($5)
Where: Old School (233 Mott Street, Nolita, Manhattan)

They tout themselves as the curator-driven art fair, but it is still an art fair — though staged in an old Catholic school. Expect a wide range of styles and some surprises.

 The (Un)fair

When: March 5–9 / Wednesday–Sunday: 11–8pm (Free)
Where: 500 West 52nd Street (Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)

One of the recent breed of art fairs that like to think they’re not really an art fair, the (Un)fair is not a gallery-based fair and can be very hit or miss, depending on your tastes.

 Volta

When: March 7–9 / Friday–Saturday: 10–8pm; Sunday, 10–5pm ($15)
Where: 82 Mercer Street (82 Mercer Street, Soho, Manhattan)

The solo-booth art fair, Volta art fair often has some of the best displays during Armory Week because each gallery focuses on one artist, which gives you a better look at the work of those you might be unfamiliar with. This is a perfect place to spend an afternoon, peruse 98 galleries, and educate yourself about art from around the world.

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  • Quasimodo

    FYI The Spring/Break Art Show doesn’t “tout” itself as a fair but it is curator-driven, with some 40 shows organized by artists, curators, critics and, yes, dealers. Works are for sale, yes, but artists get a better cut than is typical (something like 65%). You should organize one sometime, Hype & S/B are definitely kindred spirits

    • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

      The first line on the website is “New York’s curator-driven art fair,” so I’m not sure where the controversy is here: http://www.springbreakartshow.com

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