The first week of March signals another year for Armory Week in New York City, as locations around the city prepare for the annual influx of galleries, artists and collectors that mark the first major art fair events in New York City for 2015. Building on the Armory Show’s increasingly popular public stature, week offers a wide range of events for both collectors and visitors alike.
At the center of the week’s proceedings is, of course, The Armory Show, the seventeenth edition of a fair that stands as a staple of the international circuit, and which is bringing 199 galleries (down again from last year’s 205) spanning 28 countries to its grounds this year at Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan’s West Side. James Fuentes is presenting a series of swirling folded works by Berta Fischer, while Metro Pictures is bringing forth a strong selection of group works, including pieces by Cindy Sherman, Sara VanDerBeek, Jim Shaw and Louise Lawler. LA Gallery OHWOW will also be on hand, with a selection of new works by Nick Van Woert. David Zwirner is also presenting a group show in their booth, with works from Karla Black, Carol Bove, Isa Genzken, Thomas Ruff, and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others. Also of note is the presence of MadeIn Company, the corporate stand-in for last year’s commissioned artist Xu Zhen. The artist is bringing his work and presenting in his own gallery this year, where he will be selling original works alongside some of his colleagues from the Chinese contemporary scene, and looking to maintain a strong impact on the Armory Show over the course of the week two years running.
This year, the fair has turned its Focus curatorial section to the Middle East and Northern Africa, led by curator, writer and editor Omar Kholeif of London’s Whitechapel Gallery. Bringing a series of galleries from the region, Kholeif has also brought a group of Middle Eastern and African artists for the fair’s commissioned Projects section. His efforts focused around Lawrence Abu Hamdan, the Jordanian-born, London and Beirut-based artist whose work The All Hearing is also one of the major standouts during this year’s New Museum Triennial exhibition, and whose projects at the fair will include a series of sculptural interventions, as well as a series of specially-designed, souvenir potato chip bags, a disposable object meant to commemorate the fair, a fitting object given the space’s temporary status. Other projects include a series of fencing barriers by Abbas Akhavan, and an interactive sculpture by Joana Hadjithomas, among other projects.
Across town, the ADAA Art Show will continue its long-running tenure at the Park Avenue Armory, the original location for the ground-breaking 1913 Armory Exhibition (and a former location for its aforementioned contemporary). Continuing its mission focusing on special projects for galleries on view, often single or dual artist exhibitions, or specially curated installs that focus on lesser known, historical or thematic trends. Highlights this year include an expansive exhibition on the work of Michelangelo Pistoletto at Luhring Augustine, as well as a series of works by Antony Gormley on view at Sean Kelly. Van de Weghe also has an impressive program this year, featuring a series of works from the fruitful collaborations between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Several blocks down in Chelsea, the Independent NY will also be opening its doors once again at the Center 548, following up on its highly successful fall edition late last year, and what seems to be a growing cadre of young, middle-tiered galleries has Independent’s 2015 edition looking like one its strongest in recent memory, with major gallerists including Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Paris’s Balice Hertling and Michael Werner mixed in with a set of dynamic younger spaces like Mexico City’s Kurimanzutto, Stuart Shave, and Brooklyn’s C L E A R I N G. The fair will also return its popular rooftop bookstore, featuring publications by Kaleidoscope, Mousse, PARKETT, Revue 02, Studiolo, and the Better Being café.
This year also marks the return of the Spring Break Art Show, which has seen rapid growth in the past few years as curators/organizers Andrew Gori and Ambre Kelly have continued to put forward exhibitions focused around young galleries and artists unified by a progressive approach to exhibiting and creating. This year, the fair sets up at the Skylight at Moynihan Station, just north of the Chelsea gallery crawl, and is presenting works from a variety of artists, among them Dustin Yellin, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, and more.
On top of the fair’s a number of major exhibitions and new exhibitions are set to open across the city this week. The New Museum Triennial has already opened its doors, and can expect major traffic to its sprawling review of the digital and post-digital landscapes, organized by artist Ryan Trecartin and curator Lauren Cornell. MoMA is also preparing for its exhibition focusing on the videos, music and art of Björk, whose show comes on the heels of her highly-praised album Vulnicura, and a series of announced multi-media performances at the museum.
— D. Creahan