Every March for the past 12 years, artists, galleries, collectors, critics and curators from all over the world have made New York their destination during Armory week. Launching the week of cultural activities, Mayor Bloomberg predicted that 60,000 visitors are expected bring in around $44 million. The week’s main event, The Armory Show, opened its doors to a record number of VIP ticket holders yesterday morning reflecting a renewed optimism in the art market. This year, the show has expanded to include 285 dealers, up from 239 in 2009. Pier 94, at 12th Avenue and 55th Street, showcases 211 cutting-edge contemporary galleries, institutions and non-profit art organizations, a further 78 dealers specializing in Modern and Secondary market works at the adjacent Pier 92.
This year sees the introduction of ‘Armory Focus,’ a new of section of the fair that will feature an important art community every year and premieres with Berlin. 22 of the German capital’s leading and emerging galleries will cluster at one end of Pier 94. The fair’s Executive Director Katelijne De Backer sees a kinship between Berlin’s art world and that of New York due it the communities history for experimentation and willingness to take risks. Many of the galleries we spoke to had exhibitied at the fair in previous years but admitted to being greatly encouraged to participate this year due to substantial backing by The Armory who contributed at least $3,000 to shipping costs per gallery.
Following on from 2009, a notable trend at this year’s fair is the large number of booths at this devoted to single-artist exhibitions. David Zwirner’s booth, dedicated to a series of photographs by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, was packed throughout the day. By mid-afternoon the booth had shifted 25 of 100 polaroids, selling for $4,000 apiece. Many of the participants in the new Armory Focus:Berlin section also featured solo exhibitions. Galerie Barbara Thumm presented a large canvas from the Berlin-based artist, Valérie Favre, that sold within hours of the opening.
This year, The Armory Show coincides with the opening of the Whitney Museum’s Biennial, as a result, a significant number of recognizable works by artists in the museum show took pride-of-place at yesterday’s fair. Our first sighting was at the booth of Ratio 3, San Francisco who were offering stills from Ari Marcopoulos’ video featuring two kids making electronic music in their tiny bedroom, Detroit. While the stills had not yet sold, we were informed that the video is on hold for a museum and another for a private collector. In addition, Dashwood Books have published 500 copies of a zine featuring stills from the video.
We also spotted works by Dawn Clements at Pierogi, Sharon Hayes at Tanya Leighton Gallery, Maureen Gallace at 303 Gallery and we negotiated the crowds at Sean Kelly’s booth to glimpse photographs by James Casebere. Buyers stormed the Sean Kelly booth throughout the day in search of photographs by Marina Abramovic, ahead of her performance retrospective that is set to begin at MoMA on March 14. Buyers were also enticed by the two sculptures, priced at $300,000 and $225,000, by Antony Gormley whose Event Horizon installation will open at New York’s Madison Square Park on March 23rd.
In celebration of the city’s artistic communities, Armory Week will highlight the art scene of a different each night of the week with public events including receptions, open studios, art tours, museum discounts, performances, panels, artist discussions and parties. One of the predicted highs of the week will take place in the Lower East Side Sunday on March 7th. The New Museum will act as a hub for the day’s activities, including self-guided walking tours and gallery crawls conducted by art professionals Aaron Thompson, Pearl Albino, Rita de Alencar Pinto and Heather Hubbs.
Other highlights of this year’s Armory Arts Week will include talks by the MTA’s Arts for Transit staff discussing art at different stations; SoHo Night, an evening of extended exhibition viewing and special programs by the nonprofit art institutions in the neighborhood; a walking tour of the High Line led by curator Lauren Ross; children’s tours of Chelsea galleries; several opening receptions and open studios in Long Island City; and galleries open after hours in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Armory Show Homepage
Armory Week Homepage
Fowler’s $7,000 Geometrics Pump Collectors at N.Y. Armory Show [Bloomberg]
Fair Mania: Armory Arts Week in New York [Flavorwire]
Survival of the fittest? NYC fairs multiply despite recession [The ArtNewspaper]
Bustling Armory Opening Heralds Contemporary Art Market Resurgence [ArtInfo]
The Armory Show’s Commissioned Artist Susan Collis on ‘Fiddling While Rome Burns’ [NY Magazine]
Buckle Your Seatbelt! It’s the Armory Show [MediaBistro]
The Armory Show: Vernissage [Whitewall Magazine]