Artsy’s All-Encompassing Guide to The Armory Show

Now in its 16th edition, The Armory Show, New York’s largest modern and contemporary art fair, returns to Manhattan’s West Side piers, this year with an in-depth focus on China, proving it continues to have a finger on the pulse. Between “Focus: China,” extensive modern and contemporary presentations, solo and duo artist displays, and nonprofits, visitors will be treated to artworks from over 200 exhibitors in addition to a curated exhibition of drawings by female artists, daily tours, and more.

1. When? Where? How?

The Armory Show takes place March 6th–9th at Piers 92 & 94, on Manhattan’s west side, near 54th St. and 12th Avenue. Tickets may be purchased online, here.

2. Why visit?

The Armory Show annually offers a comprehensive selection of art reflecting current trends and top artists in the international art world. As a leading New York fair, it is an annual destination for curators, art professionals, and enthusiasts alike. The fair’s two expansive piers on the Hudson River house modern art on Pier 92 and contemporary on Pier 94.

3. Focus: China

Now in its fifth year, a curated Focus section will enrich Pier 94, this year centering on China. Curated by Philip Tinari, the esteemed director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, this selection will shed new light on China through booths from 16 of the country’s contemporary art galleries, the majority of which are based in Beijing.

In conjunction with Focus: China, Tinari, Adrian Cheng, and the K11 Art Foundation join forces to present the China Symposium, a series of conversations about the contemporary art world in China. Taking place March 8th–9th, the symposium offers fair visitors the opportunity to attend eight discussions exploring the external factors shaping the art world and currents within it. The fair notes that this program will offer “perhaps the most comprehensive overview of the art scene in China yet undertaken for a general New York audience.”

4. Artist Commission: Xu Zhen

Since 2002 the Armory Show has commissioned one artist each year to create the visual identity of the fair, from promotional materials to the catalog. To complement this year’s Focus: China, this year’s commissioned artist is contemporary conceptualist Xu Zhen, who will be featured in TIANRENHEYI Art Centre’s booth. Additionally MadeIn Company, the artist collective that Zhen established, will be an exhibitor in Focus: China.  Be sure to check out Artsy’s exclusive film collaboration with NOWNESS on Xu Zhen.

5. Armory Presents

This year Armory Presents replaces the Solo Projects section, with a refreshing selection of solo and duo presentations from cutting-edge, newly established galleries that have been in business for ten years or less. Also located on Pier 94, some highlights include Harold Ancart at C L E A R I N G, and José Dávila and Ignacio Uriarte at Figge von Rosen.

6. Exclusive Curated Exhibition: “Venus Drawn Out”

Independent curator Susan Harris presents the Modern section’s first curated exhibition “Venus Drawn Out,” featuring drawing by female artists submitted by fair exhibitors. In addition, the exhibition includes large-scale drawings by Lynda Benglis, and Inka Essenhigh, and a site-specific work by Pat Steir, which will be created in the days prior to the fair’s opening.

7. Open Forum

Organized by Isolde Brielmaier, the fair’s annual talks program returns with discussions to address topics including artist publications, design, connoisseurship, female artists, and the role of the biennial. Open Forum is presented in partnership with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, TALKING GALLERIES: The International Platform for Gallerists, The Art Dealers Association of American (ADAA), and the Association of Professional Art Advisors and Art 21. Highlights include:

“Art vs. Design in Residential Interiors”: Featuring Jonathan Adler, Sharon Hurwitz, and Sean Kelly, and moderated by Tom Delavan. Thursday, Mar. 6, 5-6:30pm.

“Here and Now: Biennials in the 21st Century”: Featuring Dan Byers, Michelle Grabner, and Franklin Sirmans, and moderated by Lynne Cooke. Friday, Mar. 7, 3-4:30PM.

“Fair Value: How Top Dealers, Advisors and Collectors Identify Value at an Art Fair”: Featuring Suzanne Gyorgy, Sean Kelly, Jill Kraus, and Allan Schwartzman, and moderated by Dorsey Waxter. Saturday, Mar. 8, 10-11:30AM.

8. Art Video Games in China

One of the many Armory Arts Week exhibitions around the city, “Art Video Games in China” is a pop-up arcade at Chelsea’s Ace Hotel, curated by Bryan Ma for Babycastles. The show delves into the innovations and ideas coming from game designers in China, through presentations housed in “upright arcade cabinets” that have been painted by local New York artists. The show is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, throughout the week.

9. The Armory Art Tours 2014

The Armory Art Tours 2014 are presented by Erbe Arts, which has conducted the fair’s tours—deemed “worthy of any major museum” by The Art Newspaper—since 2008. Tour specialists leading the program (including our very own Elena Soboleva) are extremely knowledgeable art advisors, curators, and museum professionals, who will touch upon “art market trends, current art world practices, the secrets of collecting, as well as the artists, their oeuvres, and their practices.” Fair visitors can book a tour in advance, here, with a selection of tours including general overviews of the contemporary or Modern piers, or more thematic approaches focusing on emerging markets, China, artists to watch, or collecting.

10. Fair Design by Bade Stageberg Cox

Architecture firm Bade Stageberg Cox designed this year’s fair with the concept “Thresholds,” focusing on crossroads and the physical and mental experiences of entering or beginning. From their minimal design for the entry to Pier 94 to the multilayered screens of the Pier 94 VIP Lounge to a stair tower connecting Piers 92 and 94, their designs include those that ease the fair experience and prevent fatigue.

Explore The Armory Show on Artsy.