Fair  March 13, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Armory Arts Week Engulfs Manhattan

Photograph by Teddy Wolff | Courtesy of The Armory Show

Fairgoers at last year's Armory Show.

Armory Arts Week filled Manhattan with art fairs and their patrons over the weekend. Centered around the Armory Show with an additional eight satellite fairs, there is truly something for everyone in every part of Manhattan. In addition to parallel fairs Art on Paper, Collective Design, Independent, Moving Image Art Fair, NADA, Scope, Spring/Break Art Show and Volta NY, museums and galleries held special events and openings. Works of art from masters of Modernism to emerging artists had offerings in every price range, bringing a full roster to Manhattan.

The Armory Show at Pier 92/94 held displays from 198 galleries from around the world, showcasing all the big names, from Gagosian to Picasso. Performances as part of their Platform division were a highlight, including Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley, performing My Turn, presented by Edward Cella Art & Architecture. The architect and artist duo were in residence on their giant hamster wheel, which has two chairs installed in on opposite interior edges of a rotating circle. When one chair is upright, the other is upside-down, thus the men must cooperate, as only one can sit while the other must stand. This interaction and cooperation is a theme common in their work. Another pair drawing crowds were the Oakes Twins, with Ronald Feldman Gallery. From a perch atop the gallery’s temporary walls, one brother worked live, creating one of their incredibly intricate perspectives drawings. The smaller portion of the Armory Fair, in Pier 92 presented a balance between Insights, devoted to 20th Century art, and Focus, curated by Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a sector devoted to art using and exploring themes of technology.

Courtesy Volta NY

Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed, Overwhelming!, 2017, Ballpoint pen on paper, 105 x 112 cm. Presented at Volta NY by Hilger BROTKunsthalle, Vienna.

Next door in Pier 90, Volta NY was an antidote to the loud and bustling Armory main event. Strictly contemporary art, each gallery presents a solo show. This combined with the smaller venue but less densely packed space, Volta felt more thoughtful and easier to digest. It was united by an excellently curated show at its the center, The Aesthetics of Matter, brought together by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont.

In its seventh year, the Spring/Break Art Show offers curators a venue of their own without being tied to gallery representation. This year’s theme was “Stranger Comes to Town,” with many works addressing political issues and immigration policies. Taking up two floors of former Conde Naste office space in Times Square, every corner office and cubicle was transformed into an installation. Compared to the mostly white walls of other Armory Week fairs, Spring/Break felt like a carnival, full of experimentation, passion, and humor.

Big sales and big crowds are being reported for Armory Week, and with markets booming, it seems like this expansive fair will continue to flourish.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.