Set to open this week, the Armory Show is returning to New York City for its 22nd year, setting off the dense selection of exhibitions, fairs, parties and programs of Armory Week 2016. With a number of shifts in location and scheduling for this year’s selection of events, the week should see a new face on familiar proceedings.
Taking up the full expanse of both Pier 92 and 94 just outside of Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side, The Armory Show returns its impressive offering of galleries for a new year of booths and special projects. The fair is putting forward a total of 205 exhibitors this year, continuing what seems to be a focus on a slightly smaller selection of booths in favor of better space considerations and more flexibility in approach to each booth’s floor plan.
Alex Katz, Four Trees 1 (2015), via Thaddaeus Ropac
Marianne Boesky will also be showing an intriguing booth, with twisted fabric assemblages by Björn Braun and layered print works by Jay Heikes. The Tate Modern also joins this year, showing a selection of pieces in the fair’s Not For Profit section including Marlene Dumas and Richard Tuttle pieces. At David Zwirner, a selection of artists including Yayoi Kusama, Sherrie Levine, and Wolfgang Tillmans is on view. Two Palms will also offer an interesting booth, showing a selection of pale, swirling compositions by Cecily Brown.
Bernard Piffaretti, Untitled (2012), via Cherry and Martin
Björn Braun, Untitled (2016), via Marianne Boesky
The fair also returns its special projects and commissions sections this year, with Canadian-born, Paris based artist Kapwani Kiwanga serving as the event’s commissioned artist. Kapwanga’s work, blending her long work in anthropology and social sciences, blended with interests in the artist’s role both aesthetically and politically, sees her using diverse materials and focuses to The Secretary’s Suite, a work exploring the politics of gift economies and diplomatic relationships. She is also joined by Emekah Ogbo, Lebohang Kganye, Karo Akpokiere, Ed Young and others, exploring various perspectives of African Diaspora experience through a range of media and techniques.
Hosted across town at the Park Avenue Armory, the ADAA Art Show also opens its doors as the sister event to the proceedings on the West Side waterfront. Encouraging dealers to embrace creative exhibition plans, curated programming or solo surveys of artists’ work, the show often presents a more nuanced, engaging alternative to the sheer scale of the Armory Show. Highlights this year include a collaborative booth between Marianne Boesky and Dominique Lévy Gallery, jointly presenting a selection of drawings and sculptures by Frank Stella, as well as a selection of recent work by Giuseppe Penone on view at Marian Goodman. Matthew Marks also is offering a strong booth, with pieces by Robert Gober, Ellsworth Kelly, Martin Puryear, and Charles Ray.
The week also sees the move of the popular Independent Fair downtown, taking up space at Spring Studios on Varick Streeet in TriBeCa for the first time. The move to a larger venue also sees an expanded offering, with some larger galleries turning towards The Independent’s more welcoming, relaxed air, among them Mitchell-Innes and Nash former presenting work by Pope.L, while Venus will bring a show of strong works by Peter Saul.
Rounding out the events of the week is SPRING/BREAK, the impressively deep, free-wheeling and curator-focused exhibition taking place once again at the Chelsea Skylight events space, located above the US Post Office station on 34th and 8th Avenue. Having earned a reputation in past years for its exploratory and unpredictable series of shows and artists, the event has become a mainstay of Armory Week.
The events of the week kick off tomorrow night at SPRING/BREAK’s opening preview.
— D. Creahan