The Art F City Survival Guide to the 2016 Armory Week Fairs

by Michael Anthony Farley and Rea McNamara on February 29, 2016 Art Fair + Events

A painting by Kristen Schiele, who will be exhibiting in Kayrock's booth at VOLTA. (Credit: Schiele/Kayrock)

A painting by Kristen Schiele, who will be exhibiting in Kayrock’s booth at VOLTA. (Credit: Schiele/Kayrock)

Do you like art fairs? If yes, you are in luck! If not, get the hell out of New York City this week. Art fairs are multiplying like Gremlins, and mutating as they spawn. We now have specific art fairs for everything: paper, video art, solo projects, Asian art, curator-driven booths, independent artists, dykes, shiny things, boring shows… there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out Paddy Johnson MC “speed-dating” for artists and art world taste-makers at Moving Image’s 2nd Opinion on Saturday. And if you need a drink after seeing one-too-many pieces of soul-less decor at one of the blue chip fairs, head to Macon Reed’s Eulogy for the Dyke Bar at Pulse, where the all-but-extinct queer bar is resurrected for a week of discussions, drag shows, and lesbian awesomeness.

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Galerie Zürcher

33 Bleecker Street
New York, NY
5 - 8PM, runs Tues-Sat 12-8PM, Sun 12-5PMWebsite

Salon Zürcher

Deemed by the New York Times as a “respite from [big art fair] chaos”, the 12th edition of this so-called mini art fair hosted by the LES’s Galerie Zürcher will spotlight five galleries from New York, Brussels and Paris. New to the fold is the Paris-based Marie Finaz (last in NYC for the Outsider Art Fair), who will be presenting the American debut of textile and thread artists Marie-Rose Lortet and Jill Gallieni.


Skylight Moynihan Station

421 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY
VIP $50, Run of Show Pass $35, One Day Ticket $15
5-9PM, Weds-Sunday 12-8PM, Mon 12-6PMWebsite


In a world increasingly crowded by art fairs, SPRING/BREAK stands out for its focus on independent curators. This year’s iteration is loosely organized around the theme ⌘COPY⌘PASTE, a timely topic given our collective obsession with appropriation and all things digital. The fair opens Tuesday to VIP card holders (tickets available) with public hours from Wednesday to Monday. Highlights this year include a booth curated by AFC fav Andrea McGinty, digitally-printed copies of iconic punk shirts from John Richey at Marley Hammer’s booth, circuitboard-and-glitch-inspired tapestries from Robin Kang at Rachel Phillips’ KNIFE HITS, and Brendan Carroll’s Polaroid portraits of youth from the 1990s at Krista Saunders Scenna’s space.


Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street

New York, NY
$25 general admission
Wednesday–Friday 12–8PM; Saturday 12–7PM; Sunday 12-5PMWebsite

ADAA Art Show

The 28th edition of the Art Dealers Association of America’s annual art show has for the past five to six years been focusing on single artists. This year’s highlights include Marilyn Minter at Salon 94’s booth, and newcomer Hauser & Wirth showcasing the “rediscovered” Italian modernist poet Fausto Melotti. Attend for the feel good vibes: all ticket proceeds will go to LES social services non-profit Henry Street Settlement.

Pier 90, West 50th St at 12th Avenue

New York, NY
One-day general $25; One-day Senior and Student $20; Run of Show $80; VOLTA + Armory $60
Weds 8-10PM; Thurs-Sat 12-8PM, Sunday 12-6PMWebsite


VOLTA has now become Armory’s sister fair, and you can see both for the combined admission fee of $60. VOLTA promises to be better (or at least a little different) from standard art fair fare, because the entire show is devoted to solo presentations by artists. That was a strategy I felt redeemed the otherwise basic offerings at Zona MACO. Let’s hope that success is replicated in this year’s iteration. With artists as different and talented as Anthony Goicolea and Kristen Schiele onboard, it might just be.


Piers 92 & 94, Twelfth Avenue at 55th Street

New York, NY
$45 general admission, or $60 with VOLTA admission
Thursday-Sunday 12-7PMWebsite

The Armory Show

The stodgy, stalwart show that everyone loves to slag. Haters gonna hate the world’s second most-attended fair (after Art Basel in Miami Beach), but if you want front row seats to the start of the art world’s season and a gleaning on blue-chip trends (naked female performance artist in cage! slow-mo car crashes!), this is the ticket.

Spring Street Studios, 50 Varick Street

New York, NY
$25 general admission/$15 for students
Thursday 6–8PM; Friday and Saturday 12–7PM; Sunday 12–6PMWebsite


The “boothless” fair is moving from the Dia building to Soho’s Spring Street Studios. Always a favourite among curators for its gallery-led focus, this year will feature over forty mostly NYC exhibitors, including Gavin Brown’s enterprise, CANADA and Paula Cooper.

Metropolitan West Pavilion, 639 W 46th St

New York, NY
VIP $100-150; Public $35; Student $25 (Fri-Sun)
Thursday: 6-10PM Friday-Sunday: 11AM-8PMWebsite

Scope NY

With iterations piggy-backing on bigger fairs in Basel, Miami, and New York, chances are you’ve been to a Scope at least once. It’s more or less okay. Expect a lot of mid-tier dealers with better business sense than curatorial ethos. That usually translates to reflective materials, neon, and way too much work derivative of some combination of Pop Art and/or the Beautiful Losers generation. That’s not to say there’s not usually some good work hiding behind something shinier. My advice is usually to check out Scope if you have a free pass and free time. It’s a fair that I recommend seeing, but it’s not a priority.

The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th St

New York, NY
Multi-Day $40; Adult $25; Seniors and Students $15
Thursday 1-8PM; Friday-Saturday 11AM-8PM; Sunday 11AM-5PMWebsite

Pulse New York

In many ways, Pulse is like Scope’s little sister who more consistently has had her shit together and got into a slightly better school. They open the same day, confusingly at venues with nearly identical names 30 blocks apart. They both offer a mix of commercial schlock and worthwhile art, but at Pulse the scales are more balanced in our favor. This year, for example, the fair commissioned Macon Reed’s Eulogy for the Dyke Bar, which we showed excerpts from as part of our own gay bar pop-up inside an art fair, F.A.G. Bar. The project will include a week’s worth of queer-centric programming and all the fun of a real-live lesbian dive bar.

Waterfront New York Tunnel

269 11th Avenue, Between 27th and 28th Streets
New York, NY
Thursday - Saturday: 11AM-8PM, Sunday, March 6, 11AM - 4PMWebsite

Moving Image

A curated fair devoted to moving images—from video installations to animated GIFs—is a fair after our own hearts. Here, invited institutions and commercial galleries alike will present some top-notch video art alongside programming such as 2nd Opinion, where our own Paddy Johnson will be pairing video artists with curators and critics for 15 minute consultations on Saturday. There’s even a chance for artists to win tickets to our Spring Break themed fundraiser! This is such a cool art fair it will make you angry that every art fair isn’t so great.


434 Greenwich Street
New York, NY
Thursday:11AM- 6PM, Friday & Saturday: 11AM - 7PM, Sunday: 11AM - 6PMWebsite

New City Art Fair

This fair consists exclusively of contemporary art from Tokyo galleries. Which looks to be great. New City is free, small, and focused on a group of artists we might not otherwise have a chance to check out in New York, or even on other art fair circuits. It may end up being the show with the best ratio of manageability to viewer payoff this week.


West Chelsea Arts Building, 508 W 26th St

New York, NY
VIP $90 (access opening reception and Fri VIP private viewing); Free during all public days
Thurs 6-9PM, Fri-Sat 10AM-6PM; Sun 12-6PMWebsite

Clio Art Fair

In all honesty, we don’t know much about the Clio Art Fair. A quick skim of the participants reveals no familiar names—but that’s something noteworthy in and of itself. The fair is open only to artists without gallery representation, which makes for a more diverse (and gender-balanced) list of artists than we’re used to seeing at more mainstream fairs. Starting Friday, Clio is free to the public, so it’s totally worth investigating while making the Chelsea rounds this weekend.

Pier 36, 299 South St.

New York, NY
Fair Pass $35; One Day Ticket $25
Friday-Saturday 11AM-7PM; Sunday 12-6PMWebsite

Art on Paper

Yes, it is what it is: a fair focused solely on paper-based art at a far more affordable price point than what you’ll find at Armory. For its second edition, the fair — produced by Art Market Productions, the organization behind Miami Project and Art Market San Francisco, among others — boasts more galleries and public installations. Highlights include a massive installation by Beijing’s Li Hongbo and cut-outs Larry Rivers made in collaboration with New York School poets via his foundation.

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