Considered among New York’s premier art fairs, and a leading cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art, The Armory Show has long figured at the forefront of the city’s annual spring offerings for art exhibitions and shows. This year, the fair has once again touched down in New York, bringing with it its annual presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions and dynamic public programs.
Founded in 1994 by Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks and Paul Morris, the fair has grown in stature and scale each year, transforming into the massively-scaled event it is today, and filling several of the immense Piers on the West Side of Manhattan. The Armory Show’s 2019 edition has brought together a group of 198 galleries from 33 countries, continuing its mission of a truly international display, and an impressive arrangement of perspectives that once again emphasizes the fair’s stature and strengths as a central node in the international art market.
Zeno X Gallery was showing a series of paintings by artist Michael Borremans, his surreal juxtapositions of classical painting and obtuse subject matter making for an intriguing stop among the aisles, while at Tanya Bonakdar, one could take in a series of works by Mark Manders, continuing his strange deconstructions of figurative portraiture at a variety of scales. Yet for sheer impact, it was hard to top Leo Villareal’s expansive awning of lights, a massive hallway strung between piers that seemed to emphasize the transition from space to space, and gave the viewer a better sense of the sheer scale and interconnectedness of the various spaces utilized for the fair. Also commanding impressive attention was artist Pascale Marthine Tayou’s hulking mass of plastic bags, a comment on commercialism and the threat of plastics in the modern ecological landscape that was as colorful and inviting as it was subtly ominous.
Sales were equally striking in the early hours of the VIP showing, with excited buyers clamoring to get their hands on their desired works before someone else did. Hollis Taggart Gallery sold a Lee Krasner work, Peacock (1973), for around $1 million, while Pace capitalized on Villareal’s impressive light work and sold a series of panel-based works by the artist for $48,000 each. The ascendant Kayne Griffin Corcoran was also in town from Los Angeles, continuing a strong string of outings at The Armory with sales of a Llyn Foulkes work for $60,000 and a trio of Mika Tajima pieces for $7,000 each.
Taken as a whole, the fair’s scale and depth of offerings have once again underscored its significance and stature among the art buying network in New York and the broader U.S. Just a few weeks after the fresh stylings of Frieze’s inaugural Los Angeles event, The Armory Show’s annual opening heralds the peak of New York’s spring season, and hints at the warmer months to come.
The fair will remain open through Sunday.
— D. Creahan
The Armory Show [Exhibition Site]