It’s that time of year again, New York. Armory Week is finally upon us, and as the international art world prepares to descend upon our fair city, we thought we’d provide you with a little briefing of the most popular fairs around town. (One boon for the reluctant agorophobics: galleries often put on their best shows this time of year, and with everyone out at fairs, their confines are yours to wander.)
So bust out your most comfortable walking shoes and read up below about where you might want to go.
Fairs Next Week:
(Image courtesy Widewalls/Roberto Chamorro)
(Image courtesy Hotel on Rivington)
Despite the surge in attention for competing upstarts, the Armory Show remains the premiere art fair in New York and the United States. Essentially a slate of Chelsea galleries transported north to Hell’s Kitchen, the Armory is a stage for blue chip galleries (and those that aspire to be held in equal esteem) to showcase the biggest (and priciest) artists.
Breaking from tradition, where Pier 92 would mainly show modern art and Pier 94 would mainly show contemporary, second year director Benjamin Genocchio has reorganized the fair into smaller, more focused clusters with names like Insights and Presents, presumably in an effort to both distribute foot traffic more evenly between the 20th and 21st century displays and break up the inevitable monotony of pacing miles and miles of fair aisles.
(Image courtesy VOLTA)
(Image courtesy VOLTA)
While Armory Week can easily bring on bouts of image overload—too many works at too many booths—VOLTA is a welcome respite from the deluge. With each participating gallery only allowed to show work by one artist, this fair in particular can repeatedly provide in-depth looks at individual artists. Located next door to the Armory Show—tickets to one will work for the other—consider it a nice chance to take prolonged appreciation at a slightly slower pace.
(Image courtesy Art Report)
NADA (short for New Art Dealers Alliance) is a new addition to the Armory Week slate. While in past years, the Lower East Side-based fair was held concurrently with Frieze NY in May, NADA has shaken things up in 2017, and moved west to the Hudson off Houston Street. The upgrade in venue certainly matches NADA’s growing reputation as the best place to see the most exciting emerging artists, years before they graduate to the Armory.
(Image courtesy Artspace)
If the Armory Show is old school, and NADA is new cool, Independent New York falls somewhere between the two, perhaps best epitomized by its setting up shop in TriBeCa. Consisting of galleries that could easily qualify for other fairs, this mix of intellectually-inclined booths—think a re-examination of a forgotten artist, for example—will wow you with their professional veneers, while remaining less stodgy than their uptown counterparts.
(Image courtesy Artnet)
Easily the toniest of the Armory Week events, the annual ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America) Art Show is a place to reaffirm art traditions and escape the plebeian throngs. (There are no after parties here, only galas.) Not to undersell it however, the ADAA hosts museum-quality booths full of work from artists deserving of display at the nearby MoMA.
(Image courtesy Widewalls)
The rowdy relative at the family gathering, the six-year old SPRING/BREAK Art Show holds a special place in many hearts for its friendly and unusual approach to fair-going. Once held in an old school on Prince Street and in a post office annex near Penn Station, SPRING/BREAK has moved the party uptown, staging its wild curatorial efforts in an office building at 4 Times Square—this year’s theme: Black Mirror. From site-specific installations to interactive sculptures, you honestly never know what you’ll find at these booths, though with its appreciatively low barrier to entry, SPRING/BREAK is the place you’re most likely to see a friend (who’s perhaps even participating!)