The Art F City Guide to the 2015 Armory Week Fairs

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on March 2, 2015 Events


In 2011, Art F City devised a bingo card for The Armory Show. Though trends may come and go, four years later, we can expect much of the same from the art fairs.

Bad news for those planning to do anything other than look at art this week: Your week is fucked. It’s Armory Week, which for art professionals and lovers alike means a marathon of art-viewing practically guaranteed to hurt your eyes at some point. There’s treatment for these kinds of injuries, but the best advice we can offer is to simply be careful out there.

Don’t overdo it. Eat well. Get lots of rest. You’ll need it.

  1. W
  2. T
  3. F


Park Avenue Armory

Park Avenue at 67th Street
New York, NY 10065
Single-day tickets: $25; Wednesday–Friday: 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday: 12:00 to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday: 12 to 5:00 p.m.Website

The ADAA Art Show

Photo by Timothy Lee Photography, 2014

The grand dame of the ball has to be the Art Dealers Association of America’s Art Show, now in its 27th year. You can almost smell the pearls and caviar in the air at this quiet, traditional Upper East Side fair. Or maybe that’s the gardenias. Last year, Paddy documented all the fancy-schmancy floral arrangements set inside the dealers’ booths. Change comes slowly to art fairs, not to mention the Upper East Side, so expect to see more of the same bouquets this year. Though the work featured here tends to be on the safer side—i.e., solo booths of artists who’ve already had museum retrospectives—we are looking forward to P.P.O.W.’s collection of work by Anton van Dalen, a longtime resident of the East Village who will be showing his critical yet whimsical charcoal drawings.

Skylight at Moynihan Station

360 W 33rd Street (Use 31st Street Entrance)
New York, NY 10001
Admission: $10; Wednesday through Saturday: 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Sunday: 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.; Sunday: 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.Website


Technically, this is not an art fair. Curators are invited to select their own artists based on a yearly theme; the works happen to be for sale. Depending on the curators, the fair’s quality can be scattershot: sometimes good, sometimes “meh.” This year, make sure to re-geolocate your addresses in Google Maps; Spring/Break has switched locations from the Old School in Nolita to Moynihan Station in Midtown.

Spring/Break 2015 will include work selected by over 80 curators, including Bruce High Quality Foundation University, Craig Poor Monteith, Jacob Rhodes, Eve Sussman, and Dustin Yellin.


Piers 92 & 94

711 12th Avenue (at 55th Street)
New York, NY 10019
Tickets: $25 and up; Thursday through Sunday: 12 to 7 p.m.Website

The Armory Show

What more can be said of the dreaded Armory? Every year, we see the same shiny Anish Kapoor hole-sculptures, blank-faced Julian Opies, and gallery dealers complaining about standing around for hours in uncomfortable shoes. This year’s edition probably won’t look or feel much different. Our expectations are low.

Pier 36

299 South Street
New York, NY 10002
Friday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.Website

art on paper

Do we need another art fair in New York? Well, we’re getting one in art on paper, set to debut this year in Tribeca. These works are on paper, so they should be more affordable than that big hunk of Richard Serra that’ll be on view at Gagosian. Random fact: you’ll be able to see a Dave Eggers drawing of a long-eared rabbit. The fair marks the sixth in a chain of national fairs run by Art Market Productions (Miami Project, Texas Contemporary, Art Market San Francisco, Seattle Art Fair, and Market Art + Design.)

Galleries include Aperture Foundation, Freight + Volume, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, The Hole, and William Holman Gallery.

548 West 22nd Street

New York, NY 10011
Thursday, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 12:00 - 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 - 6:00 p.m.Website


The Independent has come a long way in its five-year existence. What began as a free,  alternative fair by dealer Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook has evolved into a $20 per ticket showcase boasting over 50 galleries and nonprofits from 14 different countries, including Armory vets Sprüth Magers, Peres Projects, and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. That isn’t to say the fair has changed much: it’s still located at 548 West 22nd Street, still “boothless,” and still the go-to place for tie-dye fabric triptychs, cannabis imagery, and, relatedly, dolphin comics. What began as an offbeat fair alternative has since developed its own brand of tasteful-to-a-fault international galleries.

You can track the history of this fair’s transformation in our past reviews (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). Our excitement noticeably dims in 2013, but, IMO, you can still find some gems amid the generics. (Corinna)


Waterfront New York Tunnel

269 11th Avenue (between 27th and 28th Streets)
New York, NY 10011
Thursday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.Website

Moving Image

This is the fair we like the best, even if we don’t quite understand how the business model works out for those involved. A typical experience for the average Moving Image visitor looks something like this: 1. Viewer sits down. 2. Viewer watches art videos for a couple of hours.

Dealers don’t hover. The vibe is chill. All that’s great, but we keep hearing that sales are inconsistent at the Moving Image. How can that be true? They’ve been around for five years and have recently expanded to Istanbul and Jerusalem.

The Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Thursday: 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.; Friday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.Website

Pulse New York

It’s unclear what to expect to see at Pulse these days—middling contemporary art with a few highlights here and there? Helen Toomer has been at the helm of Pulse for a year now, so we’d hoped to see a few more changes at the fair—better exhibitors being number one. Looks like that’s not happening this year, though. A quick look at their site shows only a few destination galleries, including Transfer, LMAKprojects, and the Lower East Side Print Shop. That’s not a lot of reasons to go but certainly enough to check out what’s on view.

Pier 90

West 50th Street
New York, NY 10036
Admission: $20 and up; Thursday: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Friday through Saturday: 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 to 7:00 p.m.Website


The art fair that most resembles a corporation, Volta has been housed inside offices owned by Merchandise Mart for years. You can imagine how great contemporary art by emerging artists looks under a short roof and modular ceiling tiles. But now that Merchandise Mart has sold the fair, it’s located on Pier 90—surely a venue upgrade. It’s hard, though, to entirely shed one’s roots. So, while on the one hand you have panels that update more conservative programming, the description of the fair itself couldn’t be more generic: “VOLTA NY was conceived in 2008 as a focused, curated, boutique event that is a place for discovery.” I, for one, can’t wait to visit this wondrous land of discovery.

Self-serving plug here: “Art in the Cloud,” a panel on collecting digital art, moderated by Paddy Johnson, featuring Stefan Simchowitz, Kelani Nichole, David Diamond, and Myriam Vanneschi, takes place at Volta on Saturday at 4:30.



639 W 46th Street

New York, NY 10036
Admission: $30 and up; Friday: 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday: 11:00 to 8:00 p.m.Website

Scope New York

Expect skulls, annotated polaroids, and splattered paint.

508 - 526 West 26th Street

New York, NY 10001
Admission: free; Friday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Sunday: 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.Website

Clio Art Fair

Self-described as “the anti-fair for independent artists,” none of Clio’s participants have gallery representation. We don’t know anything about any of the artists, but the fair’s landing page shows an eyeless head with yarn-like hair atop a white Pez dispenser. Its tongue is stuck out, as if to say “Come visit me!”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: