Armory Week is fast approaching, and New York
City is set to be decorated with international, contemporary and emerging art. This
year’s programming includes the can’t-miss annual shows, from The Armory Show
and NADA to Art on Paper, as well as a slew of special exhibitions throughout
the city. With so many incredible presentations to see, we tapped our network
of art industry insiders for their Armory Week picks.
The Armory Show
Voltz Clarke Gallery
I look forward to The Armory Show every year – always SO impressed with what the fair has to offer as well as how NYC rallies around art during fair week. With Nicole Berry taking over as the deputy director, I’ve been anticipating what the fair plans to highlight. When I received access to the schedule, three experiences stood out:
1. Private tour of the Bob Greenberg Selects installation and permanent collection exhibitions
Private tours lead by someone as knowledgeable as Emily Orr, who is the assistant curator of Modern and Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is a great opportunity to get an insider perspective on new and consistent works. Most times, the assistant curator is the person who works closest with guest curators, so in the case of the Bob Greenberg Selects installation, Emily will have worked closely with Bob. As the founder of the international design innovation company R/GA and a veteran to curation, I expect Bob’s selections to be a compelling exploration of creativity and technological advances over time.
2. Private collection visit at Suzanne Elizabeth Murphy’s home
Because I started Voltz Clarke as a contemporary art gallery, I’m naturally drawn to private collections focused on this time period. I’m looking forward to seeing which new works Suzanne Elizabeth Murphy selected for her home this year, and whether they have a personal, aesthetic or investment connection. Seeing artists such as John Waters, Ed Ruscha and Debra Kass all reinforce her appreciation for text art, which is an interesting choice because of its direct nature. We have an artist on our roster named Stephanie Patton who creates sculptures from mattress materials that say one word like “stay,” “keep,” and “wait.” These pieces take on a completely different nature once they leave the gallery and find their place in a client’s home, so seeing where the works live among everyday objects ALWAYS sparks my interest.
3. Unveiling of Yinka Shonibare MBE’s site-specific installation presented by Public Art Fund
Living and working near the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, it’s been impossible not to get word of the buzz around the Yinka Shonibare MBE commission! Not to mention its monumental stature and bright colors. This work is consumable by so many different types of people, which makes its placement ideal with all of the traffic in the park. Children can be amazed with its size and palette while adults can delve into the deeper meaning behind the artist’s choice of shape and pattern, which points to his heritage and how culture plays different roles in our society, especially in this political climate.
Yinka Shonibare MBE
Senior Specialist, Contemporary Art, Paddle8
1. Look forward to the curated section of sculptures called Platform to see Berlin based artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset's installation (think Prada Marfa and the monumental swimming pool aptly titled Van Gogh's Ear in front of Rockefeller center).
2. Get ready for new female director (girl-power!!) Nicole Berry's leadership whose first interview with Art News can be found here.
3. Meanwhile, bid from your phone in Paddle8's March Contemporary featuring a glass sculpture by Lynda Benglis with proceeds being donated to one of my favorite NY arts charities called Urban Glass (a glass studio in the heart of Manhattan).
4. The New York fair is not just about visiting the piers, but capitalizing on the opportunity to gallery hop (a lot like bar hopping for art nerds) with an essential stop at David Zwirner's Dan Flavin exhibition in daylight or cool white at its 537 West 20th Street gallery to get my neon fix.
Dan Flavin: in daylight or cool white
5. For a taste of the performing arts, head over to see Yerma at the Park Avenue Armory for Federico García Lorca's 1934 devastating drama radically reimagined by Australian director and dramatist Simon Stone and stars Billie Piper.
6. Since the inception of the fair at Piers 92 & 94 the buzz has been about the satellite fairs that pop up around the city. Be sure to check out NADA, Independent Art Fair, Art on Paper, Volta, ADAA, and Scope (to name a few).
7. You won't be able to miss JR's monumental new work transforming archival Ellis Island photographs and photographs of Syrian refugees into a large-scale installation in partnership with Jeffrey Deitch. Questions of entry, rights and acceptance confront well-heeled collectors as they enter the fair.
8. Last but not least, after a long day of art tourism, head down to Italian restaurant Il Buco for some much-needed pasta therapy.
Tiana Webb Evans
Founder & Managing Director ESP PR
I always look forward to Armory Week because it marks the end of my hibernation and it is a time everyone's plans are put into action. As New York's most exciting art week, I look forward to the unveiling of new projects, works and ideas, as well as catching up with friends and colleagues from out of town.
There is a sense that this season could be one of the best Armory Weeks in years. There are so many ideas and emotions brewing between the raucous political climate, the many swift and unnerving movements in technology, and a very visceral push towards social growth and evolution, the time is ripe for artistic production. If everyone is doing their job, I expect to be happily exhausted with new perspectives. Here's what I'm looking forward to...
1. Armory Show
Highlights include Tara Donovan at Pace Gallery--her use of everyday materials to create accumulative sculptures is extraordinary and otherworldly. Also JR at Jeffrey Deitch; frankly, I have been a Deitch fan before I entered the inner sanctum of the art world. Jeffrey's exhibitions are always memorable. I am excited to see what magic is made when he combines forces with JR's socially disruptive and fantastically enjoyable practice
Platform, which stages the fair's large-scale projects, will be showing my friend Mary Sibande's work. Mary is a South African artist known for her powerful, socially and politically rich sculptures. Since many of us are still in Wakanda, Mary's presence is particularly timely. I am also looking forward to seeing Leonardo Drew's piece because he is simply one of my favorite artists. I will be front and center for Hans Ulrich Obrist's keynote. His experimental social and curatorial practice is an art in itself...
I am so excited for the Curated Section, which is presented this year by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont's Aesthetics of Matter. There are so many new favorites in this exhibition – Devin Morris, David Shrobe and Kennedy Yanko to name a few. My buddies Jasmine Wahi and Rebecca Jampol, founders and curators of Project for Empty Space, are curating the Video Wall at Volta. VOLTA feels like a family affair this year.
3. SPRING/BREAK Art Show
If it is weird, experimental and fresh, I'm there. Another place for friends and family, Amber and Andrew always bring out the best new curatorial talent to showcase what's next. This is where the cool kids are. Everyone finds a way to see Spring Break. This year's theme is "A Stranger Comes to Town." Every presentation responds to what I would call a "curatorial challenge" there is required reading to even apply. I'm including a link to the theme page because it is worth a read.
I am excited to see all of the presentations but my first stops will be exhibitions by founder of the Stoneleaf Residency and professor at Sotheby's Institute, Helen Toomer, who is curating two exhibitions: Psychic Pharmacy by Howard Hurst (one minute consults and they you pick your prescription - who doesn't love that?) and A Pressing Conference by Macon Reed; along with hopes springing high addressing a perpetual stage of "stranger" imposed on African Americans in the United States, curated by Dan Halm, head of SVA's exhibition program.
Living a double life between art and design, I am happy to see the walls dissolving, but we have a long way to go. With that, make some time to immerse yourself in a neat showing of material culture and visual art. There are a few favorites showing at Collective including, my new obsession, Russian designer Harry Nuriev; Sienna Patti who beautifully combines process-driven art and contemporary jewelry into neatly curated narratives; and last but not least, Fernando Mastrangelo Studio, whose ambitious and unapologetically beautiful works never disappoint.
Co-Founder, Young Women in the Arts
1. Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at Pioneer Works
Anthony McCall's exhibition at Pioneer Works is a must-see before it closes on March 11th. The installation transforms the main hall into a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works
2. Jonathan Borofsky, Mandy Harris Williams at Paula Cooper Gallery
Mandy Harris Williams and Jonathan Borofsky are two incredible artists that focus their work on self-reflection and awareness and our relationship with the world. This year, Paula Cooper is celebrating 50 years. She opened the first gallery in SoHo in 1968.
3. Zoe Leonard: Survey at The Whitney
Zoe Leonard is an inspiring artist and activist. Her photographs, sculptures and installations explore our urban landscape and address physical and social change. The Whitney is one of my favorite NYC institutions with a remarkable collection and stunning views of the city.
4. Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I at Doris C. Freedman Plaza presented by Public Art Fund
I first fell in love with Yinka Shonibare's work last year at EXPO Chicago. Shonibare covered books by authors who had immigrated to the UK with brightly colored textiles similar to those that were imported from West Africa in the 1700s. A sculpture resembling a piece of fabric in the wind will debut in Central Park on March 7th.
5. Public art installation by JR titled SO CLOSE
JR has produced installations around the world, including 3 large-scale, black and white images that decorated Rio during the 2016 Olympics. For The Armory Show, JR will transform the exterior of Pier 94 into another large-scale installation, this time featuring archival photographs from Ellis Island.
Audrey Rose Smith
Communications Director, The Armory Show
From The Armory Show:
1. Mary Corse at Kayne Griffen Corcoran
I am really looking forward to Kayne Griffen Corcoran’s solo presentation of works by the very special and often overlooked Light and Space artist, Mary Corse. Better known artists of this Los Angeles 1960s movement include Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and James Turrell. Mary Corse is an incredible talent who is long overdue for her time in the spotlight. Luckyil, I’m not alone in thinking this. The Whitney will mount a solo show of her work in June and Dia:Beacon will inaugurate a room dedicated to her work, opening in May.
2. Reynier Leyva Novo at El Apartamento
In Presents, The Armory Show’s section devoted to young galleries, El Apartamento from Havana will mount a solo presentation of works by Reynier Leyva Novo, a young but incredibly incisive artist who was chosen to represent Cuba in the 57th Venice Biennale, which I had the chance to visit this summer.
Reynier Leyva Novo: A Happy Day
3. Constant Dullaart at Upstream
We have had the opportunity to work with incredible curators this year and I am really looking forward to Gabe Ritter’s curated Focus section, which brings together 28 artists around the theme of technology’s interpretation, and reinterpretation of the body. Some presentations I am really looking forward to includes new works by Constant Dullaart, presented by Postmasters. His practice is deeply rooted in the internet, systems of power and influence and the paradoxical conditions of human agency within the social network.
4. Beth Cambell at Mosseri-Marlio Galerie
Jen Mergel, curator of this year’s Platform section, which stages large scale and site-responsive work throughout the fair, has put together an incredible group of artists, each with a unique take on the challenge of creating something for the fair. Beth Cambell’s presentation reimagines the concept of a desk set, intersecting motifs from 1980 movie 9-to-5 with a 19th century telegraph switchboard—a tongue-in-cheek nod to a time when women quite literally controlled the message.
Outside of the fair:
1. Dahn Vo at the Guggenheim
Danh Vo’s solo exhibition Take My Breath Away at the Guggenheim Museum is a must-see exhibition by one of the most fascinating living artists today.
2. Peter Hujar at the Morgan Library
The Peter Hujar show at the Morgan Library is also another one on my list. Peter Hujar: Speed of Life is an intimate and chilling portrait of a photographer who never shied away from capturing the fragility of life. His photographs remain a constant favorite for me and it’s wonderful to see them within the context of the singular Morgan Library.
While you’re in New York:
If you have a little extra time on your hands, pop into Dashwood Books on Bond Street to browse and incredible collection of books by contemporary photographers. It’s an incredible archival resource and a great place to pick up a unique gift. Sant Ambroeus is my go-to spot for breakfast, whether it’s a weekday meeting or a casual Saturday with friends.
Vice President, Director of Events and Tours, Christie’s
1. The Armory party at MOMA. The music is the best!
2. Kayne Griffin Corcoran’s booth will juxtapose works by James Turrell and Mary Corse.
3. I’m obsessed with Naomi Beckwith, so her Cultural Leadership Summit will be a highlight for me.
4. During a break, I’ll stop at by CHLOE. for a detox kale salad and glass of rose.
Mary Corse, Untitled
Director, Arts & Culture, Nadine Johnson & Associates
For Armory Week I’m personally excited about SPRING/BREAK as well as Independent Art Fair, as they always have a fantastic selection of curated booths and feature artists from the emerging to contemporary/established categories. It’s quite refreshing for the NY scene (also, at SPRING/BREAK, the art can also be affordable which is always great).
Chelsea Petronko & Rachel Cole
We are definitely going to head over to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Basquiat that Yusaku Maezawa bought at auction last year. For food and drink, we are going to grab dinner at 4 Charles Prime Rib. It’s so intimate and warm in there and the food is incredible. We love having a glass of wine at Morrell Wine Bar in Rockefeller Center after visiting Christie’s next door. Mostly we can’t wait to see what the galleries will be exhibiting at Armory. There are always such wonderful shows there!