03/10/2014 12:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Armory Show Is Here to Stay

The art world focuses once again on New York as the Armory Show and its satellite fairs open this week. This year, the fair has undergone improvements, new features and a new design to up its ante in its rivalry with May’s Frieze Week. The return of high powered blue chip galleries are joined by Armory Presents, emerging galleries 10 years old or less, Focus: China curated by Philip Tinari of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, panel discussions, larger booths and a redesign by Bade Stageberg Cox. Coinciding with the last Whitney Biennial at the iconic Breuer Building, this year’s fair is shaping up to an exciting week for art lovers in New York.

Inside the fair at Pier 92 and 94. Courtesy The Armory Show.

The Armory Show has been trimming the fat since Frieze’s appearance in New York three years ago, cutting back on exhibitors in order to give galleries more space, in addition to tighter control on their curatorial choices. This year’s fair presents 203 exhibitors, 12 less than in 2012 and 71 less than in 2011. Well known blue chippers, including David Zwirner, Marianne Boesky, Michael Kohn and Lisson Gallery have continued their support of Armory Week with their reappearance, joined by other big names like Lehmann Maupin, James Cohan, October Gallery and Honor Fraser. The emerging gallery section in Pier 94, now called Armory Presents, features 17 young galleries, each exhibiting one or two person shows in larger booths -- about 30 square feet bigger than last year’s. Highlights include INVISIBLE-EXPORTS’ presentation of Scott Treleaven, Galerie Max Mayer’s Klaus Merkel and Nicolás Guagnini and Hayal Pozanti presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery.


The legacy is more important than instant gratification, 2013. Courtesy Michael Kohn Gallery.Hayal Pozanti, Sacred Canopy, 2014. Courtesy Jessica Silverman Gallery.

Philip Tinari, the Director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art was chosen to curate the fifth year of Armory Focus, with an eye on China. Tinari has hand-picked a roster of 17 galleries, half of which will be showing outside of Asia for the first time. Along with the exhibition, Tinari has also organized The China Symposium, incorporating eight discussions about various aspects of contemporary art in China today. The symposium, which will run Saturday and Sunday, will be the most comprehensive discussion of the Chinese art scene that New York has experienced yet. Focus: China was also the influence for this year’s commissioned artist, Xu Zhen. Working in video, installation, performance and photography, Zhen’s work has a special installation and will be the centerpiece for Focus. The Armory Show has also partnered with Citi Bike, and will feature ten bikes wrapped in a pattern piece by Zhen, which will be available in Citi Bike docks near the fair.

Xu Zhen, Under Heaven, 2014. Courtesy the Armory Show.

New York based curator and writer Isolde Brielmaier has curated a program of panel discussions for Open Forum at T: The New York Times Style Magazine Media Lounge at Pier 94 that run from Thursday through Sunday. Impressive members of all aspects of the art world will weigh in on curated issues, including artist Duane Michaels, designer Jonathan Adler, gallerist Sean Kelly, and curator Christian Viveros-Faune.

Visitors and exhibitors will notice a more sleek fair design, handled once again by New York firm Bade Stageberg Cox. With the theme of “Thresholds,” the firm has designed a space that connects one world to the next, including a special entrance to Pier 94, a layered screen VIP Lounge and a scrim-encased staircase between the Modern and Contemporary sections. In addition to the redesign, the firm has also commissioned five furniture projects that incorporate locally produced sustainable furniture. Bigger and better, the Armory Show is showing Frieze that it has no intention of backing down in its role as New York’s art fair.

“Thresholds” fair design concept. Courtesy Bade Stageberg Cox.

Along with the Armory Show are a host of other exciting goings-on during Armory Arts Week. Check out our list below.

Satellite Fairs

Scope's Pavilion at Skylight at Moynihan Station. Courtesy SCOPE Art Show. Outside Volta's venue at 82 Mercer. Courtesy VOLTA.

ADAA, Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, March 5-9, Gala Preview March 4.
The 26th annual Art Dealers Association of America show will bring solo, two person and thematic exhibitions from 72 dealers to the historic Park Avenue Armory.
Independent Art Fair, 548 West 22nd Street, March 6-9.
For its fifth year, Independent returns to its original location, with 50 international galleries, including Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Elizabeth Dee and White Columns.
SCOPE Art Show, 312 West 33rd, March 6-9.
For its second year at the historic Moynihan Station, SCOPE returns with 68 international galleries, 8 special programs, and a gala benefiting Chashama. The fair will be the second for new exhibitors’ relations director, Katelijne de Backer, formerly of The Armory Show.
Spring Break Art Show, 233 Mott Street, March 6-9.
The curator-driven fair enlivens an old school in Soho, transforming the former class rooms into art venues from 39 gifted curators.
VOLTA, 82 Mercer Street, March 6-9.
Exclusively presenting solo artists projects, the fair’s 8th edition is the Armory Show’s little sister, with shared VIP access and shuttles. 100 international galleries will present 100 solo exhibitions in the Mercer space.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (MILK), 1970-1980. Courtesy Christie’s Auction House. David Salle, Painting for HCA, 2007. Courtesy Phillips Auction House.

Christie’s First Open Sale, Rockefeller Plaza, March 6.
Offering 343 Post-War and Contemporary works including painting, photography and sculpture, Christie’s First Open Sales invite new and established collectors to bid on both established and emerging artists, including three works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the Alexis Adler collection.
Phillips Under the Influence Sale, 450 Park Avenue, March 7.
Also combining emerging and big name contemporary artists, the upcoming auction includes pieces by David Salle, KAWS, Os Gemeos and Walead Beshty.
Museum Shows

Isa Genzken, Schauspieler (Actors) (detail), 2013. Courtesy Museum of Modern Art. Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2001. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art, 945 Madison Avenue. March 7-May 25.
This year’s biennial takes on outside influences, as three curators from outside of the museum were invited to curate the show. Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA), Anthon Elms (Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), and Michelle Grabner (artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago) each have their own floors to flex their curatorial muscle.
Isa Genzken: Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street. Through March 10.
Making its American debut, the expansive 30 retrospective of one of the most influential female artists in history closes just after Armory week on March 10th.
Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue. Through April 6, 2014.
Carrying on the Armory Show’s Focus: China, Ink Art is the first major exhibition of Chinese contemporary art to ever be mounted by the museum, including 70 works by 35 Chinese artists.
Gallery Shows

Laurie Simmons, Blue Hair/Red Dress/Green Room/Arms Up, 2014. Courtesy Salon 94 Bowery. Logan Hicks, The Rescue, 2014. Courtesy the artist.

Opening Thursday:
Sarah Lucas, NUD NOB, Gladstone Gallery, 515 W 24th, 6-8 pm.
Using found objects and available materials, Lucas’ work draws from art history, cultural stereotypes and British tabloid culture to create sculptural works addressing gender, sexuality and identity.
Dan Graham, Danh Vo, Giuseppe Penone and Jeff Wall at Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th Street suite 301, 6-8 pm.
Goodman brings a group show of her top artists to wow the Armory week crowds.
Opening Friday:
Laurie Simmons, Kigurumi, Dollars and How We See,Salon 94 (Bowery), 243 Bowery, 6-8 pm.
Simmons explores Kigurimi in her new body of photographs, a Japanese cosplay that uses doll-like masks and latex body suits into public life, also known as Dollers and Kiggers.
Logan Hicks, Love Never Saved Anything, PMM Pop Up Space, 154 Stanton Street. 6:30 – 9 pm.
Known for his incredibly detailed technique of layering up to 15 stencils for one image, Hicks’ new paintings explore figurative underwater imagery, and will also be shown with his haunting photographs of the artist’s daredevil urban exploration.
Jim Campbell, Jim Campbell: New Work, Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 505 W 24th Street, 6-8 pm.
The new media artist’s latest exhibition will focus on his recent series of sculptural light installations.