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Like a noble grizzly emerging, famished and irritable, from her den after months of hibernation, the New York art world is roaring aggressively into action for the annual Armory Week fairs. This year sees the perennial pillars of this collectors’ feeding frenzy — the ADAA Art Show and the Armory Show — revamping their programs a little, while a new, social justice–themed fair joins the fray. There’s truly something for every taste (and price point), from the painting purists to the videophiles. To help you make sense of it all, we’ve put together this guide to all the week’s offerings.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated and follow Hyperallergic on Instagram for pics from the fairs all week.
ADAA Art Show
When: March 2–6 / Wednesday–Friday: noon–8pm; Saturday: noon–7pm; Sunday: noon–5pm ($25)
Where: Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
The toniest and oldest of the Armory Week fairs, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) Art Show is trying this year to maintain its reputation for thoughtfully curated selections of very high-end Modern and postwar art, while also incorporating newer work by less firmly canonized artists. So, alongside typical Art Show fodder like, say, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s solo booth of Beauford Delaney paintings and Betty Cuningham Gallery’s showing of works by Bill Traylor, you can see new sculptures by Simone Leigh courtesy of Tilton Gallery and fresh canvases by Trenton Doyle Hancock in James Cohan Gallery’s booth.
When: March 3–6 / Thursday–Sunday: noon–7pm ($45)
Where: Piers 92 & 94 (Twelfth Avenue at W 55th Street, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)
This year’s big hullabaloo on the Hudson has a few promising features, foremost among them its focus on African artists and galleries. The section will be accompanied by a symposium, which will include a conversation between artists El Anatsui and Sam Nhlengethwa (Thursday at 5:30pm) and panels like “Writing About Art from African Perspectives” (Friday at 1:30pm), which will assess how things like art fairs and biennials have (or have not) challenged general perceptions of what is typically African. If you’re in more of a browsing mood, the Armory Show will have its usual spread, with 205 galleries split between Pier 92 (for Modern art) and Pier 94 (for contemporary).
When: March 3–6 / hours vary by location, check website for details
Where: Centre for Social Innovation (601 W 26th Street, #325, Chelsea, Manhattan), Fountain House Gallery (702 Ninth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan), and Creative Art Works (The Atrium Shops and Cafes, 601 Lexington Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)
This year’s lone newcomer to the Armory Week roster, alt_break certainly promises something different, with a focus on social justice and nonprofit community organizations. Spread across three locations, alt_break is helmed by curators Audra Lambert, Kimi Kitada, Adam Zucker, and Victoria Manganiello, and will feature site-specific installations, nomadic performances, and sound environments, in addition to more traditional fodder like paintings.
Art on Paper
When: March 4–6 / Friday, Saturday: 11am–7pm; Sunday: noon–6pm ($25)
Where: Pier 36 (299 South Street at Clinton Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Back for its second year with nearly 80 galleries, Art on Paper fills an Armory Week niche, deploying paper goods in all guises, from collages, drawings, and prints to bas reliefs and freestanding sculptures. Among the most promising special projects on its slate are a sprawling, snaking rainbow sculpture of handmade paper by Li Hongbo and life-size animals fashioned from found cardboard by Laurence Vallières.
Clio Art Fair
When: March 4–6 / Friday, Saturday: 10am–6pm; Sunday: noon–6pm (free)
Where: 508 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
A self-described “anti-fair,” the Clio Art Fair cuts out the middlemen and lets independent artists show their own work. This year’s roster features 37 artists, and if last year’s edition is anything to go by, the fair will feature a tightly packed selection of playful and very colorful pieces.
When: March 1–3 / Tuesday: 9am–7pm; Wednesday: 9am–6pm ; Thursday: 7–8pm
Where: Various venues in Harlem, Manhattan
Though not strictly speaking an art fair, Fusion is a series of panels, tours, pop-up exhibitions, and performances organized by the West Harlem Art Fund. Take a Mount Morris Historic Neighborhood Tour with street artist Lady K Fever, catch panels on the relationship between art and technology, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a host of other topics, or attend a concert at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
When: March 4–6 / Friday, Saturday: noon–7pm; Sunday: noon–6pm ($25)
Where: Spring Studios (50 Varick Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
The big news for this year’s edition of Independent, the fair that mercifully doesn’t subscribe to the rows-of-booths format and usually feels like a Chelsea gallery stroll condensed into one building, is the change of location: from the former Dia Art Foundation building to Tribeca’s Spring Studios. Head downtown for a selection of sharp work from European and US nonprofits and galleries (and one, Mendes Wood DM, from Latin America). This year’s special attractions, aside from the new space, include a video game room and an installation of site-specific artists’ wallpaper.
When: March 3–6 / Thursday–Saturday: 11am–8pm; Sunday: 11am–4pm (free)
Where: Waterfront New York Tunnel (269 Eleventh Avenue, Chelsea, Manhattan)
For the sake of convenience, I often describe Moving Image in conversation as “the video art fair,” but, as its name implies, it includes all manner of moving image art. Amid the installations and works presented more conventionally on rows of monitors lining the cavernous Tunnel space this year will be a video playing inside a large felt tent by Amalie Atkins, documentation of artist Jennifer Dalton’s yearlong quest to land a standing backflip, and the world premiere of a perpetually self-generating animation of singing plants by British collective boredomresearch.
When: March 3–6 / Thursday: 11am–6pm (with free pass); Friday, Saturday: 11am–7pm; Sunday: 11am–6pm (free)
Where: hpgrp Gallery (434 Greenwich Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Small and (usually) full of saturated colors, the New City art fair focuses on Asian art. This year’s edition boasts four Tokyo-based galleries, plus the host, hpgrp Gallery. The most intriguing offerings in the lineup include a solo presentation devoted to the late avant-garde filmmaker, poet, and photographer Shuji Terayama by Gallery Kogure and a selection of Daisuke Takahashi’s yummy-looking and thickly applied abstract paintings from Harmas Gallery.
When: March 3–6 / Thursday: 1–6pm; Friday, Saturday: 11am–8pm; Sunday: 11am–5pm ($25)
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
With 45 participating galleries and nonprofits, a slew of site-specific projects, and a full roster of panels — including “Art and Revolution,” moderated by Hyperallergic’s Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian, on Saturday at 1pm — Pulse is one of the most robust of the Armory Week satellite fairs. In addition to the 15 solo presentations vying for the fair’s matter-of-factly named prize, Prize, I’m most intrigued by Macon Reed’s “Eulogy For The Dyke Bar” (2015), a large-scale installation complete with a full bar, working jukebox, and pool table. Intended as a tribute to the increasingly rare dyke bar, the installation will host performances, happy hours, a trivia night, and a panel of bar owners.
When: March 3–6 / Thursday: 6–10pm; Friday–Sunday: 11am–8pm ($35)
Where: 639 W 46th Street (Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)
Perhaps more so than any other Armory Week fair, Scope is full of extremes: it includes very sharp conceptual work, legitimately cool street art, kitschy Pop paintings, and laughably hokey art that is trying really hard to be, well, extreme. This makes for a very eclectic and entertaining viewing experience, which is bolstered by a generally upbeat and fun atmosphere. It’s also the fair where you’re most likely to come across a Banksy, so keep your eyes peeled.
When: March 1–6 / Tuesday: noon–8pm; Wednesday: noon–6pm; Thursday–Saturday: noon–8pm; Sunday: noon–5pm (free)
Where: Zürcher Gallery (33 Bleecker Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Back for its 12th edition, Salon Zürcher once again brings together a handful of galleries in Zürcher Gallery’s Bleecker Street space; this year’s lineup features Paris’s Marie Finaz Gallery, Brussels’s Mathilde Hatzenberger, Hudson’s Galerie Gris, and New York locals Kips Gallery and Weathervane. At first glance, the most enticing offering seems to be the textile sculptures by Jill Galliéni and Marie-Rose Lortet, brought by Marie Finaz.
When: March 2–7 / Wednesday–Sunday: noon–8pm; Monday: noon–6pm ($15)
Where: Skylight at Moynihan Station (421 Eighth Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)
The fifth installment of the “curator-driven” fair takes as its theme “⌘COPY⌘PASTE,” but but don’t turn up at Spring/Break expecting to see lots of clever, clip-art-like paintings. This sprawling indie fair has distinguished itself for unwieldy sculptures, site-specific installations, participatory performances, and other ambitious and unsellable fodder. Be sure to budget several hours and pack a snack: the fair features works by over 800 artists selected by more than 100 curators.
When: March 2–6 / Wednesday: 8–10pm (free); Thursday–Saturday: noon–8pm; Sunday: noon–6pm ($25)
Where: Pier 90 (West 50th Street at Twelfth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)
The Armory Show’s sister fair for emerging artists, Volta may seem daunting with 90 galleries, but it has the advantage of featuring almost exclusively solo booths. Not only does this cut down on fairtigue, but it can make for some wonderfully in-depth projects and presentations. I’m especially excited to see Something I Can Feel, the exhibition-within-the-fair curated by Derrick Adams, as well as booths of recent paintings by Kent Monkman (Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain), new textile pieces by Robin Kang (Field Projects), miniature set-like sculptures by Linda Lopez (Mindy Solomon Gallery), and Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir’s whimsical and fuzzy disk sculptures (Hverfisgalleri).