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Armory Week 2015 Hits Manhattan | NYC Art Fair Frenzy

Armory Week 2015 Hits Manhattan | NYC Art Fair Frenzy

Picture of Naoko Kunigami
Updated: 12 December 2015
The Armory Show is the largest art fair in New York and a crucial event in the global art market. During the early 2000s, other art fairs followed suit by holding their events in early March. Now the first weekend in March is the busiest of the year for art enthusiasts in New York. We present an overview of the 2015 Armory Show and its contributors.

The Art Show (March 4 – 8)

The Art Show by the Art Dealers Association in America (ADAA) is the longest running fine art fair in the United States, now in its 27th year. The venue was filled with solo, two-person and thematic exhibitions carefully curated by 72 of the nation’s blue chip galleries. Here, we found established, mid-career and emerging artists promoted by leading players in art market. An excellent entry point for those wishing to start following trends in the art market.

SPRING/BREAK Art Show (March 4 – 8)

SPRING/BREAK Art Show invited 80 curators to introduce 150 artists from all over the world, plugging the concept of ‘TRANSACTION.’ This curator-driven thematic show made it atypical among the fairs of Armory Arts Week. The notion of transaction can evoke various images in our life; transactions can involve money, goods, data or even sex. Playing with the definition of this term, the curators provided intellectual stimulation to visitors rather than acting as just another trade show.

The Armory Show (March 5 – 8)

Inviting 199 galleries from 28 countries, The Armory Show occupied the vast space at Piers 92 and 94. Pier 94 hosted contemporary art while Pier 92 was dedicated to modern art. Here we saw the world’s top galleries – some of them doing double-duty with ADAA’s show – as well as relatively young exhibitors. Attendees left with a firm grasp of what’s happening in the global art scene. A separate area called ‘Armory Focus’ featured contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, presented in collaboration with Lead Cultural Partner, Edge of Arabia and Education Partner and Art Jameel.

Pulse (March 5 – 8)

Pulse has been providing a platform for newcomers in the contemporary art market. This year, it hosted 44 international exhibitors, including seven emerging art galleries plus seven alternative and not-for-profit organizations. Project ArtBeat from Tbilisi, Georgia was an intriguing stop for the newest artistic innovations from this former Soviet republic, which is off the beaten path of the saturated contemporary art landscape. A dedicated space called ‘PROJECTS’ featured well-planned and executed works from six emerging artists. There was also a round table discussions on today’s contemporary art and the art market.

Moving Image Art Fair (March 5 – 8)

The Moving Image Art Fair is, not surprisingly, dedicated to works based on moving images; in other words, video and installations from 32 local and international exhibitors invited by the fair’s committee. Although it has been a while since ‘moving image’ became a common expression in contemporary art, it is still a relatively new concept in art history. The fair showcased the depth and potential of moving images by lining up a variety of works side by side. This year, the fair highlighted works from Brazil and Finland. There was a dedicated section for interactive technologies as well.

SCOPE (March 6 – 8)

SCOPE is the oldest art fair to run in parallel with the Armory Show, but this year, it became the first to graduate from the typical art fair booth model by adopting an open-plan exhibition design. 60 international galleries joined to embrace the progressive transformation of the fair, presenting innovative works. SCOPE focused on the curatorial narrative that the open space created.

VOLTA (March 6 – 8)

Conveniently located right next to its sister fair, The Armory Show, VOLTA hosted 93 galleries that combined to offer a dynamic overview of pioneering and emerging artists from 34 countries. VOLTA highlighted art works that respond to today’s cultural and sociopolitical issues, choosing artists who do not shy away from addressing their concerns in their expression. There were salon-style discussion programs on collecting art, the art scene and art criticism.

Independent (March 6 – 8)

The Independent Art Show presented over 50 galleries and non-profit institutions in the heart of Chelsea, New York’s established art district. This fair brought together respected power players such as Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Artist Space, Kurimanzutto and Peres Projects. This year saw media-driven and theoretically heavy works that incited critical thought and contemplation. The rooftop housed respected publications Kaleidoscope, PARKETT, Mousse, Revue 02 and Studiolo, as well as the Better Being café.

Clio Art Fair (March 6-8)

Clio Art Fair featured 49 local and international artists without any exclusive gallery representation in New York City. The fair intended to showcase what’s happening in the creative minds that are independent of the dynamics and constraints of today’s art business. It was a refreshing experience to see this fair as visitors could take their mind off of marketability and just engage in appreciating the works presented. The show included Zana Briski, the winner of the Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2004.

Art on Paper (March 6-8)

Art on Paper joined Armory Arts Week this year, showcasing 55 galleries featuring works of artists who look to paper as a source of inspiration for their sculpture, drawing, painting and photography. Like the Moving Image Art Fair, it was medium-driven, but not all the exhibitions necessarily fell into the category of works on paper, as there were a few large-scale installations and other surprises.


By Naoko Kunigami

Naoko Kunigami recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Art History and Marketing after working over 10 years in Finance IT. Born in Japan, she loves traveling, particularly to unbeaten paths. She currently resides in New York and enjoys finding great works by undiscovered artists.