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Why, you might ask, does a city with one of the world’s highest concentrations of contemporary art galleries also need to host seasonal extravaganzas where hundreds more galleries pour into the city to share their wares? Good question, but there’s no time to ponder it now, because it’s Armory Week! There are a few changes to the lineup this time around: the typically concurrent ADAA Art Show happened last week; the video-centric Moving Image fair has jumped ship for Frieze Week in May; the Collective Design fair has done the opposite, joining Armory Week; and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair happened to land this week. Here’s a look at what’s in store.
As you tear around town, don’t forget to stay hydrated, dress warm — there’s a winter storm watch in effect for Wednesday, which is the day all the VIPs will trek to the Armory Show — and follow Hyperallergic on Instagram for photos from the fairs all week.
When: March 8–11 / Thursday–Saturday, 12–8pm; Sunday 12–6pm ($47)
Where: Piers 92 and 94 (Twelfth Avenue at West 55th Street, Midtown West, Manhattan)
The mega-fair of the week, the Armory Show returns to its sprawling location on the West Side piers, where a whopping 198 galleries have arrived from 31 countries. The fair was embroiled in scandal last year when sexual harassment allegations against its (now former) executive director Benjamin Genocchio came to light, but its new leader Nicole Berry has taken the helm and the mammoth fair appears to be back on track. As always, many of the world’s most prominent galleries of modern and contemporary art will be showing their prized pieces across three specialized sections and the main area of the fair. This year also marks the second iteration of the “Platform” section (curated by Jen Mergel) of really big art. As always, the Armory Show boasts a robust lineup of panels and the like, including talks by Carolee Schneemann, Leonardo Drew and Ja’Tovia Gary, and Hermann Nitsch. —BS
Art on Paper
When: March 8–11 / Thursday, 6–10pm ($50); Friday and Saturday, 11am–7pm; Sunday, 12–6pm ($25)
Where: Pier 36 (299 South Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
If works on paper are your thing, then look no further. From giant installations to impressive feats of printmaking, Art on Paper will welcome 85 exhibitors this year for its largest iteration yet. Some of the big installations include Michele Brody’s Reflections in Tea for Julio Valdez Project Space; Will Kurtz’s collection of realistic, life-sized figures constructed from newspaper, under the auspices of Garvey | Simon; and Jae Ko’s “FLOW,” presented by Heather Gaudio Fine Art, which features sculptures constructed from paper to produce folds, pleats, and gaps. —HV
Clio Art Fair
When: March 8–11 / Thursday, 6–9pm ($90); Friday and Saturday, 12–8pm; Sunday, 12–6pm (free)
Where: 335 West 35th Street (Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)
Billed as the anti-art fair, the Clio Art Fair gives artists who don’t easily fit into the art fair model a place to show their wares. Though it’s not the most curated art experience, Clio nevertheless offers a chance to discover new artists and names you might not see elsewhere. —HV
When: March 9–11 / Friday and Saturday, 11am–8pm; Sunday, 11am–5pm ($30)
Where: Skylight Clarkson North (572 Washington Street, West Village, Manhattan)
If you get sick of looking at colorful paintings and shiny sculptures this week, and would like a break to touch (or sit on) some beautiful objects, we highly recommend Collective Design, which mixes contemporary and modern furniture, decorative objects, and a smattering of art, as well as the occasional array of pre-modern artifacts. Beyond the conventional booths are specialized sections like “Collective Concept,” where designers (including Studio Giancarlo Valle and Christopher Boots) set up shop and create objects and environments over the course of the fair. And at the new initiative “Collective POV,” three interior designers (Jamie Bush, Ryan Korban, and Alex Papachristidis) will create large-scale installations displaying hand-picked, thematic arrays of objects. —BS
When: March 9–11 / Friday and Saturday, 12–7pm; Sunday, 12–6pm ($25)
Where: Spring Studios (50 Varick Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Falling somewhere between the Armory Show and NADA on the blue-chip-to-eccentric spectrum, Independent has sharpened its program this year to focus on solo, two-artist, and historical presentations. So, for instance, German gallery Delmes & Zander will host a booth of works by the late Romanian artist Alexandru Chira; Garth Greenan Gallery is bringing paintings by the Native American artist Jaune Quick-To-See Smith; and Alden Projects will be showcasing the fruits of William N. Copley’s various and multifarious publishing projects. This more tightly curated approach seems likely to make the fair one of the week’s standouts. —BS
When: March 8–11 / Thursday, 2–8pm; Friday and Saturday, 12–8pm; Sunday, 12–6pm ($20)
Where: Skylight Clarkson Sq (550 Washington Street, Soho, Manhattan)
The New Art Dealers Alliance’s (NADA) hometown fair stays steady this year, with 100 participating galleries (as in 2017) and a slight change of venue, to the refurbished Skylight Clarkson Sq space. More than a quarter of the participating galleries will present special projects rather than straightforward booths. The fair also has a fulsome lineup of performances and talks happening throughout its run, including the “International Global Karaoke World Championships,” hosted by none other than Kim Jong Un (as played by artist Seung-Min Lee). —BS
New York Antiquarian Book Fair
When: March 8–11 / Thursday, 5–9pm ($60); Friday, 12–8pm; Saturday, 12–7pm; Sun, 12–5pm ($25)
Where: Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
A must for lovers of fine books, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair brings together some of the leaders in the field to showcase their rare and precious volumes. Whether you’re looking for the first edition of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (check Whitmore Rare Books) or even original photographs by Andy Warhol (Librairie Le Feu Follet has some), you’re sure to whet your literary (and artistic) appetite here. —HV
When: March 8–11 / Thursday, 3–9pm ($100–150); Friday and Saturday, 11am–8pm; Sunday, 11am–7pm ($25)
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
We’re very happy Scope exists because, if we’re having a bad time at a different fair, we can always say to ourselves and anyone who will listen: “At least it isn’t Scope!” Though there are always a couple of interesting booths or projects amid the fair’s more than 50 exhibitors, part of what makes it stand out is just how consistently tacky the art is. But there’s something to be said for that. After a long week of self-serious fair presentations, perhaps the unintended humor of Scope will be exactly what you need. —BS
When: March 6–12 / Tuesday, 11am–9pm ($20–50); Wednesday–Monday, 11am–6pm ($15)
Where: 4 Times Square (entrance at 144 West 43rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)
One of the most exuberant and fresh art fairs you’ll experience, Spring Break welcomes cutting edge and emerging galleries, artists eager to try something new, and wacky curatorial projects that want to give art fair week a try. There’s always more art than you can ever see, and you might need to give the event more than one day if you want to take it all in, but the energy is unparalleled even if the quality of the work and curation can be all over the place. This is a fair we highly recommend, particular at the impressive Times Square location. It might just restore your faith in art fairs. —HV
When: March 7–11 / Wednesday, 6–9pm; Thursday–Saturday, 12–8pm; Sunday, 12–5pm ($25)
Where: Pier 90 (Twelfth Avenue at West 55th Street, Midtown West, Manhattan)
If you’re looking for the art fair equivalent of training wheels, we’d suggest Volta as a good starter art fair, for those who are unfamiliar with the format or who simply prefer less stimulation and more depth. The solo and two-artist booths featured here are a chance to familiarize yourself with an artist’s work, while still perusing a seemingly endless range of work, from Felix R. Cid’s solo display with LA’s Garis & Hahn to the presentation of Riga-based Gallery Bastejs’s Henrijs Preiss. The scope and galleries are global, and there are always booths that are worth a linger. —HV
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