A Complete Guide For Armory Week 2015 Art Fairs
Contemporary art fans, prepare to be completely overwhelmed! Yes, it's that most wonderful time of year again, Art Fair Week 2015, when galleries from all over the planet descend upon our beautiful city with literally tens of thousands of pieces of art, all of which they want us to buy for astronomical amounts of money. Or, like me, you can just look at everything. Starting on Tuesday, March 3, and really kicking in over that following weekend, this year's Armory Arts Week features at least eight different art fairs in Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea, all of which contain enough immediately engaging work (everyone breaks out their most attention-getting stuff, to try and stand out among the throngs) to keep you entertained for hours… and days… until you just can't take it anymore. It's exciting, it's eye-opening, it's tedious, it's beautiful, it's exhausting. And here's how you can get through it all….
The Armory Show 2015
The biggest, glitziest, craziest, most monied art fair of the week will definitely be the 16th annual Armory Show, held once again on Piers 92 and 94 at 55th Street and the Hudson River. Divided into contemporary and modern, and with some 2,500 international exhibitors breaking out their most sellable stuff, The Armory Show 2015 promises to be just as much of spectacle as always. Admission is pretty steep–usually about $40–but if you've never been, it's sort of a bucket list NYC thing to do. Always fantastic for people-watching, too. Running from Thursday, March 5, through Sunday, March 8. 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. More info here.
Volta NY 2015
Volta's always a treat because each of the 90 or so exhibitors display work done by a single artist, so it really gives you a sense of each person's range and style. This "solo-project" rule also means there tends to be a lot of installation-type pieces as well, which are always fun to look at and photograph (yes, Armory Arts Week is something of photographer's dream). Unfortunately, Volta NY 2015 is moving away from its usual Soho digs and setting up shop at Pier 90, just south of the Armory Show, which I guess is convenient, but I always liked the "fresh-start" feeling of taking the shuttle to a different neighborhood. Running Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7, from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday the 8th from noon to 7:00. More info here.
The (un)SCENE Art Show 2015
Switching gears a bit here, the semi-rogue, most definitely raucous (un)SCENE Art Show is one of my favorite of the newer events that spring up in order to counteract the "glamour" (and money) of the Armory Show. Held just a few blocks away from the piers in an abandoned Hell's Kitchen tenement, the (un)SCENE–previously known as the (un)FAIR–is a rowdy gathering of interesting, usually off-the-radar artists and the people who love to party with them. Running from Wednesday, March 4 to Saturday, March 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There are private events each night until midnight, too, if you want to try and crash. More info here.
Spring/Break Art Show 2015
Another personal favorite from among the smaller shows, Spring/Break 2015 is a curator-driven art fair that used to be held in that great old school house in Nolita but, because of imminent condo development therein, has had to move up to the Skylight at Moynihan Station on 31st and 8th Avenue. It will be interesting to see if Spring/Break, a showcase of (mostly) young NYC-based artists, can maintain the energy and sense of surprise that made it work so much fun downtown. Running from Wednesday, March 4 to Sunday, March 8, from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. (closes at 6:00 on Sunday). More info here.
Scope New York 2015
Also potentially interesting: how the the folks at Scope will pull off their new "progressive format", debuting in a space on 46th Street and 12th Avenue, a few blocks down from the Armory Show piers. As far as I can tell, the new format essentially means that Scope's more than 50 exhibitors won't be assigned separate, enclosed booths, but rather one gallery will flow into next across what appears to a be a single, huge room. Anyway, Scope has always entertained in the past with their emerging and mid-career artists, and I'm looking forward to checking out how this plays out. Running on Friday, March 6, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. More info here.
Pulse, Independent, Moving Image
Finally, the three Chelsea-based fairs are certainly worth a walk-through at some point over the weekend. Pulse New York 2015 calls itself the "premiere fair for cutting-edge contemporary art", which may or may not be exactly true, but judging by the names on its roster of more than 50 exhibitors, should hold more than a few bizarre delights. Independent 2015 is dedicated to showcasing smaller galleries and non-profits from all over the world, with reliably engaging results. And Moving Image 2015, once again held in the great Waterfront Tunnel space, cues up hours of contemporary video art. All three run from March 5 to 8; for more information, click on the bold-faced links above.