The Armory Show: Talks, 2016 Focus, Artist Commission, and Special Projects

The Armory Show
Feb 15, 2016 7:18PM

Clockwise from top left: Kim Drew, Blake Gopnik, Jerry Saltz and El Anatsui


Enjoy four days of talks, debates, performance, screenings and more at The Armory Show's annual Open Forum, featuring leading curators, critics, gallerists, influencers, and art world experts. Open Forum programming begins Thursday, March 3 and is open to all visitors to the fair. All events will take place in the Media Lounge on Pier 94, unless otherwise noted. 

Dive into the early life of Andy Warhol with art critic Blake Gopnik and Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, Eric Shiner.

See legendary New York Magazine Senior Art Critic and provocateur Jerry Saltz in conversation with The Armory Show's Executive Director, Benjamin Genocchio as they discuss visual criticism in the digital age - or everything but the art market.

Join official digital partner, Artsy, in "What's Next?," which invites influencers like Kim Drew, better known as @museummammyElisabeth Sherman, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art and artist Kadar Brock to share their forward-looking philosophies in a series of short presentations about the future. 

The Focus: African Perspectives Symposium curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba will examine the diverse practices of artists, curators and collectors from Africa and the Diaspora. Through a series of panel discussions and video screenings, the Symposium will examine new global phenomena in contemporary artistic production from related scenes, markets and narratives. Featured participants include, El Anatsui, Sam Nhlengethwa, and Bisi Silva among others

Be sure to catch Section Cinéma, a series of artist videos exclusively curated for The Armory Show by South African artist Robin Rhode, and don't miss Kapwani Kiwanga's debut of A Spell That Flows Both Ways, a new lecture-performance piece by the Armory Commissioned Artist.

2016 ARMORY FOCUS: AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba

The Armory Show is taking an ambitious step to highlight a vast and artistically rich region with Focus: African Perspectives – Spotlighting Artistic Practices of Global Contemporaries. Moving beyond conventional ideas of the African continent and its “counterpart,” “the Western hemisphere,” this year’s Focus will provide a glimpse of international artistic production from contemporary African viewpoints: emerging curators, artists, galleries and art spaces that connect scenes and markets through global networks. From Lagos to London to Luanda – and presented together for the first time in one location – this year’s Focus will examine the artistic developments and manifold narratives arising from African and African Diasporic artists, emphasizing geographic fluidity and global connections. The 2016 Armory Focus will be curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, founders of Contemporary And (C&), an online platform for international art from African perspectives.

Armory Focus is an invitational section on Pier 94 that spotlights the artistic landscape of a different region each year, bringing together influential galleries, artists and art professionals to present unique geographic and cultural perspectives via gallery presentations, special projects, a dedicated symposium and the annual Armory Artist Commission. Focus: African Perspectives will consist of around 15 galleries and several not-for-profits invited by the curators and The Armory Show, presenting a global list of galleries and institutions that embrace and promote art from Africa and the Diaspora.


The 2016 Commissioned Artist is Kapwani Kiwanga, appointed by the Focus curators, Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, and The Armory Show. The Armory Show launched its distinguished Artist Commission in 2002, extending its commitment to supporting artists’ development by providing a global stage for their work. In this capacity, Kiwanga will inform the visual identity of the fair by contributing to the design of the official fair Catalogue, realizing an on-site commissioned project and producing a limited edition artwork with proceeds benefitting The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

SPECIAL PROJECTS: 8 Projects by Emerging African and Diasporic Artists

The Armory Show 2016 will feature eight special projects that bring together a group of emerging artists from Africa and the Diaspora, providing a glimpse of a generation of young artists that are challenging preconceptions surrounding the notion of “contemporary African art.” The projects are curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba. Participating artists include: Armory Commissioned Artist, Kapwani Kiwanga, Karo Akpokiere, Jared Ginsburg, Lebohang Kganye, MameDiarra Niang, Emeka Ogboh, Athi-Patra Ruga and Ed Young. The aim of these projects is to contribute to an evolving narrative that art from Africa and the Diaspora can look, sound and feel many different ways. This is defined by the Focus curators’ Grosse and Mutumba as a new generation of “Young Global Contemporaries.” As a whole, the works on display at The Armory Show challenge, sometimes poke-fun at and ultimately call our attention to the art fair context in which they are experienced.


Armory Design Projects will highlight a diverse group of leaders in contemporary art and design with a curated project and four site-specific presentations, inspired by each space’s location and function and integrated across Piers 92 and 94. The highlight of the design projects will be NOIR, a solo exhibition by New York-based designer Stephen Burks curated by Maria Cristina Didero and presented by Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

The Armory Show