On the penultimate day of the Armory Show, galleries were reporting sold out booths, sales pushed from in-house inventory, new connections and clients discovered, and not one bit of weariness.
The elevator doors opened to reveal a series of photographs of naked women towering over me. Beat-heavy dance music blared from down the hall, mingled with strains of “I’m Every Woman.” I followed the sounds and the photos, past a corridor where dozens of people sat and stood mesmerized by videos, arriving at last at the suite marked #207.
This year’s Armory Show may have stopped the bleeding for an art fair that has suffered from years of lackluster energy and a major blow delivered by the Frieze New York art fair, which began two years ago on a bucolic urban island and in the far warmer month of May. But no one should count out the passion New York’s art world has for art souks, a place where collectors, art tourists, and dealers easily mingle and make deals.
Fountain Art Fair, now in its eighth year, continues to be the go-to Armory Week fair if you want see and buy art that’s more alternative or DIY, less brand-name and thus less expensive than what you’d get at the Armory Show, or even Volta.
In a small room on the top floor of the Old School building at the corner of Mott and Prince Streets, floor-to-ceiling shelves are lined with pictures of disembodied heads and torsos adhered to off-brand canned goods.
There are few hot topics in the art world like China, which along with its growing economic might is starting to flex its cultural soft power and demonstrate that it is central to any global dialogue.
A cynic might observe, correctly, that a large commercial fair is as good a place as any to be reminded that most art sucks.
The Independent art fair was born out of a sprawling nonprofit project founded by dealer Elizabeth Dee. Called the X Initiative, it turned the former Chelsea home of the Dia Art Foundation into a yearlong hub of exhibitions, performance, conversations, and more, all with an alternative bent. As it was coming to a close, in early 2010, Dee announced plans for the Independent.