The Official Art Fag City Art Fair and Biennial Guide

by Paddy Johnson Will Brand and Whitney Kimball on March 2, 2012 · 3 comments Art Fair

Get ready for non-stop art viewing. If you like art at all, next week's schedule should be packed with art fairs, biennial viewings, and openings. If you don't know where to start, we're here to help. Our one sentence synopsis as follows: This year more elitists, more protests, more video art, more foreigners, and continued efforts to disguise art fairs as nightclubs.

Brucennial 2012. Photo courtesy of Art Observed.

Wednesday, February 29th — Sunday, March 4th 12-6 pm
Musical: Saturday, March 3rd, 2pm and 7pm, Sunday, March 4th, 2pm and 7pm
159 Bleecker Street

Admission: Free

Two nights ago, there was a line around the block for the Bruce High Quality Foundation's biennial of works by famous people alongside normals. Expect to see Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Basquiat in a garage-sale-style salon. The Bruces will also stage a musical which seems like a satire of the Cooper Union dilemma, described as such:

Faced with overwhelming debts, the Chicken Trustees of the [Bruce High Quality Foundation University] may be forced to compromise its 150 year legacy and do the unthinkable: charge tuition. Luckily, the graduating Piggy Artists of the class of 2012 have something else in mind.

Make sure to RSVP ahead of time, as there's limited seating.

Whitney Biennial 2012

Through May 27th
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am – 6 pm. Friday 1 pm – 9 pm
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street

Admission: Free – $18

The Whitney Biennial is the sort of event only the art world could come up with: a chaotic mega-exhibition that's sorta broad, sorta representative, attracts critical hate, curatorial second-guessing, and labor protests, and nonetheless is must-see. Sounds like an art fair.

We've got our beefs with this year's incarnation, but generally, the critical response has been good. The film program, co-curated this year by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter of Light Industry, looks to be a highlight.

Salon Zürcher install shot, 2011. Photo courtesy of

Monday, March 5th — Monday, March 12th. Tuesday – Saturday 12 pm to 6 pm, Sunday 2 pm to 6 pm
33 Bleecker Street

Admission: Free

On your way to the Brucennial, stop by Salon Zürcher for another fair alternative. It's a bit of a strange concept – an art fair of seven booths, held in the gallery of one of its exhibitors – but we suggest a visit. Last year, they carved out a nice niche of New York galleries that were too smart for Volta, Fountain, or Scope, but too small or not cool enough for INDEPENDENT; this year, they've replaced five of seven exhibitors and gone in a different direction, inviting galleries from Paris and Amsterdam, adopting an all-female theme (not that that's a theme), and requiring single-artist booths. How will they manage such a radical transformation? It's worth a trip to find out.

ADAA art show 2010, the Armory.

Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street
Wednesday March 7th – Sunday March 11th
Wednesday-Saturday: 12-8 pm, Sunday: 12 to 6 pm

Admission: $20

Expect quality over quantity at the ADAA Art Show. Don't expect emerging art. This fair specializes in secondary market and contemporary blue chip work, and attracts exhibitors through prestige; this is where dealers go to show off to each other. It's the ultimate insider fair for the rich.

Olek's room + performance at Christopher Henry Gallery. Last year's Scope

SCOPE New York
355 West 36th Street #3, New York NY (across from the Armory)
Thurs March 8th – Saturday March 10th 11 am – 8 pm. Sunday March 11, 11 am – 7 pm

Admission: FirstView Wednesday (3-9 pm): $100 | General: $20 | Student: $15

An emerging art fair with 50 exhibitors, this perennially spotty fair always manages a good moment or two. We anticipate lodging the usual complaints — there's too much run-of-the-mill work — and hope they land a good catering service. This year the fair moves across from the Armory, which is a bit of a gamble. The Fountain Art Fair did this five years ago and exhibitors complained that they were largely ignored.

Interior of Volta 2011

7 West 34th Street
Friday, March 9th — Sunday, March 11th
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

General Admission: $15 | Students: $10

Last year, Paddy reported that Volta had three great booths amongst a bunch of über crap. This year, all of those three–ADA, Sue Scott Gallery, and Gallery Diet–are notably missing. Who knows, the long list of foreign exhibitors could be reason enough to attend.

Andrew Kreps installation shot from the Independent Art Fair 2011

548 West 22nd St.
Thursday March 8th: 4 — 9pm, Friday March 9th – Saturday March 10th: 11am — 8pm, Sunday March 11th: 11am — 4pm

Admission: Free

Independent describes itself as a “temporary exhibition forum” rather than an art fair, which is, well, transparent branding. It's a fair with fewer walls and nominally better curation. Elizabeth Dee (a fair co-founder) and Gavin Brown's Enterprise are two of the 47 exhibitors.

Carolee Schneemann's War Mop, 1983, at the Moving Image Art Fair. Photo courtesy of Etienne Frossard

269 11th Avenue
Thursday, March 8th — Saturday, March 10th: 11 – 8PM
Sunday, March 6th: 11AM – 3PM

Admission: Free

Last year people loved Moving Image, the video art fair founded by Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov. This fair does a great job of showcasing video: each video receives its own viewing station and headphones along with relevant information about the artist and their dealer's contact information. Stationed at the front of the fair are assistants who can also help interested buyers. This year's fair includes thirty-one artists including Martha Wilson, Ken Jacobs, and Valie Export. We also look forward to seeing more of emerging artist Daniel Phillips, who had a memorable solo show at DODGE last month.

Horrible stairs.

Piers 92 & 94
Thursday, March 8th — Saturday, March 10th 12 — 8PM
Sunday, March 11 12 — 7PM

General Admission $30 | Students, seniors, groups (10+): $15 | Run of Show Pass (4 day) US $60 | The Armory Show / Volta NY Pass US $40 | Free admission for children under 12

What will The Amory do to re-imagine itself now that their trademark staircase of doom has been removed? This week we find out. We also find out how the mother of all New York art fairs will do with all this competition. By international art fair standards it's never been particularly good. We're not expecting that to change this year.

The Fountain Art Fair, Miami 2010. Photo courtesy of Beached Miami.

68 Lexington Avenue at 25th Street.
Saturday, March 10th — Sunday, March 11, 1pm—7pm

Admission: $10 day pass | $15 weekend pass at the door
buy discounted tickets online

Fountain nabbed the crochet woman from Scope this year, which is clearly a sign of… well, something. The fair will take over the 69th Regiment Armory, the onetime haunt of Pulse back in the day. Expect to see a whole bunch of stuff we try not to cover because it's so dumb: Marni Kotak, the woman who gave birth in Microscope Gallery (we failed there), crochet guy (we failed there too), and the rock band “Spirit Animal” (this is the first we've heard of them). Listen here if you dare.

Korean Art Show install shot

82 Mercer Street
Thursday, March 8th — Saturday, March 10th: 11AM – 8PM
Sunday, March 11th: 11AM – 6PM

Admission: Unavailable

Now in its third year, the Korean Art Show boasts 15 galleries specializing in Korean art and 10,000 visitors last season. We don’t know much about this fair, so we’ll have to report back on this one sometime next week.

Install shot from Pulse Miami 2011

125 West 18th Street
May 3rd — May 6th

Admission: 4-day pass $25 | General Admission $20 | Students/Seniors $15 | Group $10

Psych! That fair has changed its show dates and will now run May 3-6th, alongside the Frieze Fair on Randall's Island. Speaking of Frieze, are collectors really going to head out there?

Josh Kline's "iMac G4 TNG" (2010) at New York Fine Arts at The 2011 Dependent Fair


The Comfort Inn
136 Ludlow Street
Saturday March 12th, 12-8 pm

Admission: Free

Our favorite fair from last year is back. Including galleries such as AVA, CANADA, Cleopatras, Foxy Production and Reference, this fair is brings together all the galleries we like best and asks them to showcase their work in a hotel for 8 hours only. We aren’t going to miss this and you shouldn’t either.


Martin March 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

you forgot The Dependant!

theskint March 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

love your guide! what do you think about SPRING/BREAK?

Adam Zucker March 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

 Fountain is actually looking pretty good this year.

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