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Anila Quayyum Agha, Intersections. © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Anila Quayyum Agha, Intersections. © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
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Virtual Reality and Floating Concrete Are Highlights of the 2017 Armory Show

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 2 March 2017
The 2017 edition of The Armory Show kicked off on March 2, opening to press and VIPs on March 1. As one of New York City’s most important annual art fairs, we look to the sprawling exhibitions across Piers 92 and 94 for the modern and contemporary artists we know and love, alongside cutting-edge installations setting new trends for the industry.

The Armory Show was founded in 1994 by four New York-based gallerists. They created a platform for the best of modern and contemporary art in the heart of New York City, and over two decades later, the fair remains a beloved cultural institution for tens of thousands of yearly visitors.

Kehinde WIley © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Kehinde Wiley at Galerie Templon, Paris, Brussels | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

This year, The Armory Show saw the convergence of over 200 international galleries from 30 countries. The fair is broken down into five sections: Galleries (20th- and 21st-century artworks presented by the world’s leading galleries); Insights (exclusively 20th-century artworks); Presents (emerging artists represented by new galleries); Focus (new artworks chosen by a specially selected curator); and Platform (large-scale artworks).

The fair starts off with a bang, as one of the clearest highlights is Pace Gallery’s booth right at the entrance to Pier 94: a colossal floating block of concrete by Amsterdam-based tech-art collective Studio Drift.

Stuio Drift, Drifter. © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Studio Drift, Drifter | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

Drifter appears to defy the laws of physics, hovering just beneath the ceiling and slowly rotating as if it were completely weightless. In actuality, the “concrete” block is expertly created to look like a far heftier material than it actually is. The sculpture is supported by helium, which circulates through the interior via small inner fans.

Studio Drift was a hit this year, and another crowd favorite is the collective’s virtual-reality installation presented in collaboration with Microsoft and Artsy.

© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

Using Microsoft HoloLens—“the world’s first self-contained holographic computer,” according to Artsy’s press release—Studio Drift offers viewers a virtual-reality experience in which concrete columns slowly break and crumble in front of you. “The device overlays responsive holograms on the user’s frame of vision, resulting in a mixed reality that allows users to explore and interact with content in three dimensions,” the press release continues.

© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

But The Armory Show isn’t all ultra-contemporary tech art; well-established modern and contemporary artists who work in more traditional mediums are presented here as well. From Yayoi Kusama’s ever-famous polka dot-scapes to David Hockney’s iPad drawings and Ai Weiwei‘s sculptural statements, see some of the fair’s numerous highlights below.

Yayoi Kusama, Guidepost to the New World (2016) © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Yayoi Kusama, Guidepost to the New World (2016) | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
David Hockney, Afternoon Swimming (1980) at Lyndsey Ingram, London. Courtesy of The Armory Show
David Hockney, Afternoon Swimming (1980) at Lyndsey Ingram, London | Courtesy of The Armory Show
Ai Weiwei, Niao shen long shou shen (2015) at Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki. Courtesy of The Armory Show
Ai Weiwei, Niao shen long shou shen (2015) at Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki | Courtesy of The Armory Show
Joan Miró, Untitled III (1964) at Mayoral, Barcelona, Verdu. Courtesy of The Armory Show
Joan Miró, Untitled III (1964) at Mayoral, Barcelona, Verdu | Courtesy of The Armory Show
Marina Abramovic & Ulay, Relation in Space (1976). 7 gelatin silver prints at Richard Saltoun, London. Courtesy of The Armory Show
Marina Abramovic & Ulay, Relation in Space (1976) at Richard Saltoun, London | Courtesy of The Armory Show
Ai Weiwei © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Ai Weiwei | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Tuan Andrew Nguyen, The Warning (2017) at 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong. Courtesy of The Armory Show
Tuan Andrew Nguyen, The Warning (2017) at 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong | Courtesy of The Armory Show
Douglas Coupland, Towers (2014) © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Douglas Coupland, Towers (2014) | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
Cerith Wyn Evans, Witness (after Iannis Xenakis) (2011) at White Cube, London, Hong Kong. Courtesy of The Armory Show
Cerith Wyn Evans, Witness (after Iannis Xenakis) (2011) at White Cube, London, Hong Kong | Courtesy of The Armory Show
© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
© Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

The Armory Show opens on March 2 and runs through March 5, 2017 at Pier 92 and Pier 94, 711 12th Avenue, New York, NY, 10019.