Your Guide to NYC’s Armory Arts Week 2014

Ariel shot of people enjoyed the artwork at the armory art show in a large building with art hanging a maze of white pop-up walls

If you're a fan of contemporary art, this is your week. Starting on Tuesday, and really picking up steam through the weekend, NYC's Armory Arts Week 2014 is taking over huge spaces all over the city, with literally tens of thousands of individual works by artists and from galleries all over the world.

It's thrilling, it's provocative, it's maddening, it's inspiring, it's completely exhausting. And the best part is: anyone can show up to these things, wander around for a bit, take in the scene, and enjoy the art. Check out one or two, or test your viewing stamina and go to them all, but to me, this is one of those events that is kind of the point of living in New York City. Here's a quick guide to most of the art fairs this week, though there are plenty of other parties and pop-ups in addition to these:

James Capper standing in front of an exhibition of mechanical tools sitting on while cement blocks at the Armory Show in NYC

The Armory Show 2014

By far the biggest of the week's art fairs, The Armory Show features more than 2,500 exhibitors sprawled out over the Hudson River at Piers 92 and 94, near 55th Street. Divided into contemporary and modern, this is enormous–I've never been able to get through it all–and it gets crazy crowded during peak hours, but there's so much art here you're bound like what you see, and the people-watching is fantastic. Plus: lots of snacks.

Open Thursday through Sunday, March 6 – 9, from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.

A man dressed up like a teddy bear wearing a black hoodie hugs a young blonde girl

Volta NY 2014

Located in Soho, and sharing an admission price (and handy shuttle buses) with the Armory Show, the Volta NY fair focuses on "emerging artists", which is usually pretty interesting. What I like most about Volta is that each booth is limited to a single artist, so you can see a range of work, and there tends to be more installation-type pieces as well. Always feels refreshing to come down here after the Armory madness.

Open Thursday evening at 5:00 until 9:00, then Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:00 to 5:00.

Man standing and admiring a wall of colorful artwork at the Foundation art fair in NYC

Fountain Art Fair 2014

My personal favorite, even after its move from a rusting old boat on the Hudson to the more generic 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington and 26th, Fountain Art Fair 2014 will once again bring a street art/guerilla/avant-garde aesthetic to the week's festivities, in addition to hosting numerous performance art pieces throughout. Other than simply enjoying the work itself, I really like Fountain because the artists tend to be on hand, and, since they're standing around all day, are usually more than happy to chat for a bit. And the parties, on Friday and Saturday nights, are a blast.

Open Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m.

The Spring/Break art fair has several pop-up's of young people doing different activities, such as drinking a beer, wearing bikinis, etc.

Spring/Break Art Show 2014

Taking over the old school house on the corner Prince and Mott in Nolita, Spring/Break Art Show 2014 will once again be filling some 20 classrooms–as well as the hallways, stairwells, closets and courtyard–with new work from usually about 100 young NYC-based artists. This is always great fun, both because of the art and the setting, and it'll be interesting to see what everyone does with this year's PUBLICPRIVATE.

Open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.

At the Scope Art Fair, a man is dressed up in a white body suit with QR codes on it and a glowing blue mask

Scope New York 2014

Another favorite of mine is Scope, which emphasizes emerging and "mid-career" artists from all over the world, and is located in the landmark Skylight at Moynihan Station (basically: the post office near Penn Station). Always intriguing is Scope's "Breeder Program", which introduces new galleries to the global art scene.

Open Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 until 7:00.

At the moving image art fair in NYC, there is a TV featuring video

Moving Image, ADAA, and Independent 2014

Three more I hope to get to this weekend: 

  • Moving Image–dedicated to contemporary video art– at the old Tunnel space in Chelsea (11th and 27th) was pretty cool in 2013, its inaugural year. It'll be interesting to see how they evolve.
  • The glitzy ADAA at the Park Avenue Armory, featuring a curated selection from many of America's biggest art dealers.
  • The Independent Art Fair 2014, also in the heart of Chelsea at 11th and 22nd, and highlighting works from 50 international galleries and non-profit institutions, most of which you've likely never visited nor even heard of before. Which is a good thing!

Are you planning on enjoying the NYC's Armory Arts Week? Which of these exhibitions are you planning on attending? Anything we missed? Share with us in the comments!

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