As March rolls into New York, so too does the art world, as the city prepares for the 2014 edition of Armory Week, capped by The Armory Show on Piers 92 and 94 of Manhattan’s West Side, and complemented by a series of additional events, fairs and openings around the city.
At the center of the week-long stream of events is The Armory Show, the notoriously daunting fair that stretches out of the Hudson River. This year is no different, and the Armory Show will return with a full-range of talks, installations, projects and performances. This year, the fair has welcomed Chinese artist Xu Zhen as its commissioned artist, and the conceptualist cited as “China’s Maurizio Cattelan” will set up a number of his classic works, as well as a collaboration with Citibike, giving free entry to the fair to several riders lucky enough to find one of his specially designed bicycles. In similar fashion, the fair’s annual Focus section will center on the nation of China, examining the diverse body of contemporary art currently being made in the densely populated nation. Galleries like Space Station, Beijing Commune, and White Space will be offered prime position to present a selection of both young and established artists.
The Armory Show has also announced a rebranded Solo Projects section this year, launched as Armory Presents. The section will feature a number of solo or dual shows, with highlights including painter Harold Ancart at CLEARING Gallery, as well as Hayal Pozenti at Jessica Silverman.
The classic counterpart to the gargantuan proceedings of the Armory Show across town, the ADAA fair will return to the Park Avenue Armory for its markedly more restrained, focused exhibition. In keeping with the fair’s emphasis on focused and thematic shows over the sheer scale of the Armory, the ADAA will continue a number of booths centered around solo artists and curated group exhibitions. Artist Ad Reinhardt seems to be on both artists’ and exhibitors’ minds this year, as David Zwirner focuses on his work 100 years after his birth, and artist Jacob Kassay will pay tribute to him nearby at the 303 booth. Notable exhibitions are also expected by Sean Kelley, who will exclusively show the portraiture of Kehinde Wiley, while Pace Gallery will show a number of unique, holographic works by James Turrell.
Returning to the 548 Center in Chelsea, The Independent Fair will continue its decidedly looser proceedings, taking up the tiered floors of the 22nd street space. This year, the fair will continue its focus on young and upcoming dealers, with over 50 galleries from across the globe. This year offers a particularly strong batch, with 47 Canal, The Approach and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise all taking part. The fair will also boast an exhibition space on the roof of 548 this year, which will see fair attendees hoping for lighter weather than New York has seen this past winter.
Outside of the events and exhibitions of the fairs, New York will also see the opening of this year’s edition (the 77th) of the Whitney Biennial, which will be the last at the museum’s historic Madison Ave location before the institution relocates further south to the Meatpacking district. Marking the last biennial in its longtime home, the Whitney seems intent on shaking things up across the board, inviting a trio of curators (Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner) to each occupy a floor of the museum with their artists of choice. The result is a strikingly broad series of exhibitions and installations charting the current state of the American arts landscape. The biennial will feature a special focus on paper and book works this year, welcoming a number of projects examining print media in its various incarnations.
And of course, the opening of the Whitney Biennial will also see the return of the rabidly popular and equally subversive counterpart downtown, hosted by the Bruce High Quality Foundation? The Brucennial will touch down again in New York this year, but for the last time. The organization has committed itself to a more intent focus on its operations as a public learning institution (the Bruce High Quality Foundation University), and the demands of the exhibition seem to have been placed on the backburner. Never to be outdone, the collective has indicated that it will only show female artists at its most recent edition of the fair.
In addition to these centerpiece events of the Armory Week Calendar, a number of major exhibitions are opening or have already opened around the fair week. Art and publishing collective Dis has announced DISown, a retail art installation that will open March 7th at the Red Bull Studios in Chelsea. Curated by Agatha Wara, the show takes its cues from the retail diffusion strategies of major fashion houses, and includes “art retail” from Korakrit Arunanondchai, Hood by Air, Ryan Trecartin and more, inside a special shopping installation by Lizzie Fitch.
Arunanondchai seems to be everywhere lately, and the artist will close out Armory Week in a big way, opening his first major museum exhibition at MoMA Ps1, presenting a series of his paintings, installations and videos at the museum. The artist will also appear several times for performances during his exhibition stay. Back in Manhattan, Aki Sasamoto will appear for a string of performances at The Kitchen, bringing her unique, object driven pieces to the stage with a collaborative work between her, drummer John Bollinger, and artist Sam Ekwurtzel, actress Jessica Weinstein, mathematician Pau Atela, and lighting director Madeline Best.
Several major gallery shows will also open in Manhattan that week. Skarstedt Gallery will open a show of works by New York legend Martin Kippenberger uptown, and several blocks over, Hauser and Wirth will launch a show of works by Brazilian artist Mira Schendel. Other notable shows including a monumental group show at Marian Goodman, as well as the US opening of Sarah Lucas’s NOB installation at Gladstone.
Naturally, there are countless other events and openings during the course of the week, and adventurous visitors will no doubt find themselves caught up in the hustle of the almost nonstop stream of shows and fairs taking place across the city this week. Art Observed will be on the ground over the course of the week, and interested parties can view our Instagram and Twitter for a full view of events, openings and parties.
The Armory Show [Website]
Wryly Nibbling at His Bread and Butter [New York Times]
ADAA – The Art Show [Website]
Independent Art Fair [Website]
The Whitney Biennial [The Whitney]
“State of Our Art, According to Whitney” [New York Times]