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Article: In a Fair State of Mind

March 2018 – Armory Week is the ultimate whirlwind for the art lovers of New York. And, as any veteran of the Armory Week knows, it is easy to become oversaturated by the sheer volume of incredible art there is to see. The good news? 2018’s “Armory Week” will take place over two weeks (much longer than the usual seven days). Although the extension of Fair Week’s timeline is technically due to a scheduling conflict, fear not, relax, and enjoy Armory Week at a steadier pace than usual.

The Armory Show
Piers 92 & 94
12th Avenue at 55th Street

In 1994, four of New York’s biggest gallerists (Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks and Paul Morris) came together and founded what is now the biggest art fair in New York. Although the Show boasts an impressive number of presentations—200 boths—from the top galleries around the world, public programs and fifteen site-specific installations across Piers 92 and 94 are what add a level of depth to an expansive display of international art. Take for example Chinese artist Wang Xin’s installation, The Gallery, that appears as if Dan Flavin and Andy Warhol co-designed an art fair booth in the 3018. With panel discussions on the future of human culture lead by the art world’s heavy-hitters (including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Carolee Schneemann, Chrissie Iles, and many more), The Armory Show will leave you with much food for thought–yet still wanting more.

Thursday, March 8, 12 to 8pm
Friday, March 9, 12 to 8pm
Saturday, March 10, 12 to 8pm
Sunday, March 11, 12 to 6pm

Pier 90
12th Avenue at West 50th Street

After leaving The Armory Show, VOLTA NY should be the next stop on your list. Unlike many of the other fairs in town that focus on gallery presentations, VOLTA NY displays the solo projects of an extremely eclectic array of artists. As it’s artistic director Amanda Coulson comments, “We see many of our former exhibitors graduating to our sister fair, The Armory Show, next door, we may then showcase other strong and timely voices and position VOLTA always close to our original mandate: to be a place for artistic discovery.” Now in its eleventh edition, VOLTA NY will present the exciting spread of the art world’s future with work by emerging artists from around the world. What’s more, art world power-couple Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont co-curated The Aesthetics of Matter—an exhibition that seeks to lay bare some of the most pressing social issues through collages of video, images, and text—for VOLTA NY’s highly regarded Curated Section.

March 8 – 10: 12 to 8 pm
March 11: 12 to 5 pm

The Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory
Park Avenue Armory
Park Avenue at 67th Street

With its annual fair, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) condenses the international spread of the art world under one roof at the Park Avenue Armory. With a highly-curated selection of displays from 72 of its impressive members, the world’s top galleries will present beautiful displays of 19th through 21st century art. Participants include David Zwirner, Pace, Luhring Augustine, PPOW, Petzel, Paul Kasmin, Bergruen, and many, many more. The result? A high profile event that is almost too much for the senses. Though the fair is now in its thirtieth year, newcomers include Maccarone, Jonathan Boos, Altman Siegel, Chambers Fine Art, and Sicardi Gallery  All ticket sales from The Art Show as well as proceeds from its Gala will go to the Henry Street Settlement, a Manhattan social service, art and health care organization.

February 28 – March 2: 12 to 8pm
March 3: 12 to 7pm
March 4: 12 to 5pm


4 Times Square (Chashama)
Entrance at 140 West 43rd Street

Experimental and socially-engaged, SPRING/BREAK could best be described as The Armory Show’s cooler, younger sibling. Now in its seventh edition, curator-driven fair pursues the theme “Stranger Comes to Town” with an array of all-immersive spaces and projects that push viewers to question the confines of their worlds. SPRING/BREAK will continue its tradition of taking over non-traditional exhibition spaces this year at 4 Times Square (otherwise known as the Durst Building: a skyscraper crowned with a giant number four). An exciting element of SPRING/BREAK, the application-based fair provides curators with the opportunity to truly experiment without economic risk. The selection process is heavy on theory, literature, and new media art: the application recommends curators think long and hard with an extensive list of reading (James Baldwin, Zoe Leonard, and Jonas Mekas, to name a few) and viewing (Chantal Akerman, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Kenito Shindo is just the tip of the iceberg) before submitting their applications. The result is a show that promises to wow, first with its aesthetics and then with its deep emotional resonances.

March 6: 5 to 9pm
March 7 – 12: 11am to 6pm

Independent New York
Spring Studios
50 Varick Street

“It’s the cool kids,” Jerry Saltz famously said in New York Magazine about Independent Art Fair. “So you have to be cool about it.” Since its conception in 2009, Independent New York stood as the most daring and cutting-edge of the art fairs. Part consortium of galleries and alternative art spaces, part global-exhibition presence, Independent seeks to constantly evaluate and expand upon the idea of an art fair. Luckily for us, this intellectual pursuit takes shape in a well-curated array of extremely high-quality art presentations. While New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Portland galleries will be representing the U.S. at the fair, expect a largely European presence: many of the presenting galleries are based in Berlin, London, Paris, Dusseldorf, Oslo, Cologne, and beyond. In thinking with the political currents of #MeToo and the attack on Planned Parenthood, many of the artists featured in the fair are female. What’s more, Whitney Curator Chrissie Iles will deliver a keynote address to initiate the Fair’s first ever series of panel discussions. It’s no wonder Roberta Smith wrote in her review of the fair, “Independent remains the New York art fair whose edge most deserves to be called cutting, the one where you stand to learn the most about promising new art.”

March 9 – 10: 12 to 7 pm
March 11: 12 to 6 pm

Skylight Clarkson Square
550 Washington Street

In 2012, the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)—a network of curators, collectors, artists, writers, gallerists, and more—came together to showcase the best works from the art world’s rising stars at Center 548, the old home of Dia Art Foundation. Now, with the seventh installment of NADA, the fair moves south to the ground floor of Skylight Clarkson Square: a 60,000 square-foot “white cube” in West SoHo (all but a quick taxi ride to the Armory Show). Although the fair has moved locations several times since its inception, NADA NY has maintained its excellent reputation for curating a presentation that touches the pulse of the art world. And, in an exciting turn of events, NADA announced last July that the Bronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA) will acquire a work of art exhibited at the fair, chosen by BxMA curators. As Heather Hubbs, NADA’s executive director, stated, “NADA was founded in New York, and we could not be more proud to have artwork from our exhibitors in such a venerable collection. This initiative reflects our continued commitment to providing our exhibitors with unique opportunities to connect directly with influential curators.”

March 8 – 10: 2 to 8pm
March 11: 12 to 6pm

– Written by Samantha Kohl