03/11/2013 03:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Art Show and The Armory Show: An Artist's Observations


The Art Show

This week is Art Week in New York City. The Art Show is not only the ADAA's (Art Dealers Association of America) 25th annual fair but also the nation's longest running fine art fair. The Art Show takes place at the historic Park Avenue Armory now through March 10 and hosts 72 of the nation's leading art dealers.

The Armory Show celebrates its fifteenth year as well as the 100th anniversary of its namesake, the legendary 1913 Amory Show International Exhibition of Modern Art. The Armory Show, a much larger event of national and international galleries also runs through Sunday.

I have been attending both The Art Show and The Armory Show for many years and it seems that The Art Show has become more of an Armory Show East, weighted with a growing number of blue chip contemporary galleries (only members of the Art Dealers Association of America can exhibit at The Art Show). Included with the established galleries like Acquavella, a member of ADAA for five decades, are David Zwirner, 303 Gallery, Marianne Boesky, Cheim and Reid and Gladstone to name a few.

The Art Show's opening, a benefit for Henry Street Settlement, is tightly packed which is a boon for Henry Street Settlement but makes it difficult at times to view the art. A couple of booths were lost behind the mass of people and the food tables. Even though The Armory Show is a much larger space, the crowds too are everywhere. As an artist and art lover, I go to galleries and art exhibits to see the art, not for the parties so when the opening of The Armory Show was too crowded I went back to The Art Show. It was very quiet on Wednesday (the crowds were at The Armory Show opening and then at MoMA afterward) so I could savor the artwork. I have always been fascinated by the way Egon Schiele masters his lines, his drawings are on view at the Galerie St. Etienne booth. There were a number of Hopper drawings dispersed throughout both art shows. House at Railroad Crossing (charcoal on paper, 1944) at Hirschl & Adler was a good one. I did notice the same Georgia O'Keefe drawing I'd seen at their Art Show booth a couple of years ago now on exhibit at their Armory Show Booth. I'm surprised it is still available. I also took time to enjoy the Helen Frankenthaler prints at Pace Prints in the Pier 92, Modern section of The Armory Show. Helen Frankenthaler was a member and Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory board to The National Endowment for the Arts just as I am. It is an honor to support the arts in America and I am sorry I didn't have the chance to hear about her experience before she died.

Here are some tips for viewing the two shows:

1. Go back to the Art Show Friday, it is quiet affording more of an opportunity to engage with the artwork.

2. I found it helpful to visit the website beforehand, you can download a map of both fairs and decide what you what to see. That said, browsing unveils unexpected surprises.

3. Be sure to look at the details of the architecture of the Park Avenue Armory itself, visit the café, the bar and look up as you walk down the halls into the main exhibition space. It is a piece of artwork on it's own.


The Art Show, Contemporary and Modern

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