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VOLTA Art Fair Cancels Its 12th Edition Almost a Week Before Opening Day

The art fair, which runs concurrent with the Armory Show, decided that staging an exhibition under the current circumstances would irreparably damage its brand.

Alan Fontes’s installation at the Galeria Emmathomas booth in 2018 (photo by Elena Goukassian for Hyperallergic)

Unforeseen construction work at Pier 92 has forced the VOLTA art fair to cancel its 12th edition, which runs concurrent with the Armory Show, just 11 days before the opening. Organizers plan to fully refund all exhibitors, projects, and sponsors associated with the program.

In a statement to Hyperallergic, a representative for the fair said that they had spent the last 36 hours working with the Armory Show to find a solution to the circumstances. The fair’s artistic director Amanda Coulson also added in a statement that “all considered situations were at best ad hoc and would not continue the high production value that is expected from our brand. We all agreed that presenting the New York 2019 edition in an extremely modified status would be a disservice to our galleries, the artists or the visitors.”

Nicole Berry, the Armory Show’s executive director also released a statement further describing the wider situation involving the whole Armory Fair, which has been hosted at Pier 92 and 94 in the past. “On February 20, we were informed that significant portions of Pier 92 require structural work, and as a result, we cannot utilize the entire pier for the fair,” she said. “The majority of Pier 92 exhibitions and activations will be relocated to Pier 90, a fully-renovated event space with a near-identical footprint, directly adjacent to Pier 92. Exhibitors and activities at Pier 94 will not be impacted.”

The relocation of other exhibitors to Pier 90, where VOLTA was scheduled to take place, would have required the art fair to make last-minute variations to its floor plan.

This year marks the Armory Show’s 25th anniversary in its rebooted form. VOLTA has been with the New York City-based exhibition for almost half that time. This is Berry’s first full year in charge of the operation, having replaced former director Benjamin Genocchio who, in late 2017, was dismissed after sexual-harassment allegations against him emerged; he later became a partner of Gmurzynska Gallery.

Much of VOLTA’s programming is devoted to emerging artists with a company motto, “global vision — solo focus. This year’s iteration was set to welcome 70 international exhibitors from across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia, presenting artists from 37 nations.

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