The Best of the 2011 Art Fairs NYC, COMING THIS WEEKEND

Starting (in some cases) this Thursday, March 3, and running through the weekend, the world's leading art galleries and dealers will be taking over at least a half dozen locations in Chelsea and the Flatiron and Midtown for NYC's increasingly huge, sometimes overwhelming, always not-to-be-missed Art Fair Weekend. We love this annual celebration of both "modern" (read: 20th Century) and up-to-the-minute contemporary art, and try to see as much as possible, but even our art-viewing stamina flags 'round about piece number 900. Here, then, is our priority list of the fairs and exhibitions opening for one weekend only, starting tomorrow.   


An artist spray painting the lets no on the ground inside a gallery full of artwork

Fountain Art Fair New York 2011

By far our personal favorite, because of the space (on a wooden pier over the Hudson, and within the rusty hold of a more-than-a-little decrepit old boat, The Frying Pan); because of casual vibe (only $10! cool music! good snacks!); and, mostly, because of the art, which leans heavily towards the outsider / street art style. Think: tiny Bushwick galleries, rather than Chelsea art stars. A great opportunity to see stuff we don't usually get to.


Pier 66 over the Hudson River, a big red boart showing the fountain air fair 2011

Fountain Art Fair New York 2011 will be at Pier 66, near 26th Street over the Hudson River, Friday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m., with an opening night reception/party on Friday until midnight. 


A young girl with dark jeans and a red and pink striped shirt on a ladder hangs artwork from strings for the 2011 art fair

The Armory Show NYC 2011 Piers 92 and 94 

This is the big one, the granddaddy of them all, a behemoth packed with more art, both familiar and not, than we, personally, can possibly process. But that doesn't stop us from trying. The Armory Show NYC is a spectacle in the best sense, with big-name galleries breaking out the big-name pieces, the aisles jammed with internationally-flavored beautiful people (and celebrities!) strolling and sipping bottled water and pretending not to gawk at each other. It's not cheap, the Armory Show–$30 admittance this year–but it's also unlike any other event in town. 

A mother and kid look on at the stacked sculpture or a chicken, a hawk, a cougar, and a cow at the armory 2011 art fair

The Armory Show NYC 2011 is located at Piers 92 and 94, across 12th Avenue at 55th Street, and will be open from Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday until 7:00 p.m. 



A gallery space with a haunting ghost like painting, metal sculpture and a photographic series at the 2011 art fair in NYC

Independent NYC 2011 Art Fair 

After taking in all of the streetwise delights at Fountain, for the past few years we've walked down and checked out the Independent NYC show, located just a few blocks away in the former Dia Center space. Here, sprawled out over three floors, are tons of crazy, weird, startling, beautiful works in all mediums, of all description, from some 40 international galleries. The unexpected factor is high, the people-watching is fun, and the exhibitors are always willing to chat. AND it's free.     

A dolorian in a gallery space with a drawing of a caveman with leaf covers and other artwork on the wall

Independent NYC 2011 is located on 22nd Street right near Twelfth Avenue, and is open on Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.



A neon framed house in green, blues, pinks, and yellow lights up the gallery at the 2011 art fair in New York City

Pulse New York 2011 Contemporary Art Fair 

Finally, if we have time and energy, we also like to walk through Pulse, located between Union and Madison Squares, and devoted solely to contemporary (aka 21st Century) art. There's always lots of good stuff at Pulse (or, at a minimum, interesting stuff that we feel like we haven't seen a dozen times), and it is centrally located, which is nice as well. But the $20 admission does feel a little steep, especially after seeing so much art all weekend long. 

A giant American flag fills the center of a gallery while a man gazes at the artwork on the walls at Pulse in NYC

Pulse New York 2011 Contemporary Art Fair is help at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, and is open on Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., on Friday and Saturday from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. 

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