This year resulted in a mix of both in-person and virtual presentations. Armory featured a massive 157 galleries from North America, Europe, and Asia. However, due to travel restrictions, fifty-five international galleries opted to show in the fair’s digital platform, Armory Online. In previous versions of the fair, modern and contemporary exhibitors were shown on two different piers but, for the first time, works were shown side by side.
While it was certainly not business as usual, the adjustments made to even be able to produce fairs on this scale during a pandemic are impressive, to say the least. Though the number of galleries participating in the Armory this year was impressive, the necessary size of the fair, sprawled across the Javits center, made the event overwhelming.
Independent was also back this year in an entirely new space. The brainchild of gallerist Elizabeth Dee, this fair has really come into its own over the last eleven years. For Independent's twelfth edition, the fair also set up shop in a new venue––the newly renovated Maritime historic building which also houses the iconic Cipriani Restaurant. With panoramic views of the Hudson River, fairgoers were treated to a new side of this exciting fair, which was the better of the two.
“It's been an exceptional fair, and we've witnessed an especially strong commitment from Independent to build a diverse public, even under the trying conditions imposed by limited international travel. It’s been a positive continuation of our past experience of the fair at its former Spring Studios location” adds Ross.
Since the onset of the fair, it has set itself apart by offering viewers a very tight and focused group of galleries on a smaller scale who are invited to participate in the proposal process. The result is a meticulously curated event in which fairgoers get the best parts of Art Week. Independent was a more manageable fair to experience featuring the work of forty-two galleries this year, compared to the fifty to sixty it normally features. This paired-down event was above and beyond what art goers have been missing over the last year and a half.