NEW YORK, : The Armory Show, New York’s leading fair for contemporary and modern art, closed its 2014 edition on Sunday, March 9th. The fair, which welcomed more than 65,000 visitors during its five-day run, featured over 200 carefully selected galleries from 29 countries. Exhibitors remarked on strong sales and attendance from key collectors and institutions from the United States, Europe, China and beyond. For the first time, this year’s edition coincided with the opening of the Whitney Biennial, further establishing March in New York as a key moment in its annual arts calendar.
For the 2014 edition, The Armory Show devoted Armory Focus, the specially curated section of Pier 94, to the contemporary cultural landscape in China, presenting an exciting selection of galleries from the Mainland and Hong Kong. The fair also launched the inaugural edition of Armory Presents, dedicated to dual and single artist presentations exhibited by galleries under ten years old. Meanwhile The Armory Show–Modern presented its first ever curated exhibition, featuring seminal drawings by female artists of the twentieth century.
Noah Horowitz, Executive Director of the The Armory Show, commented:
“The sixteenth edition of the Armory Show has been our most dynamic and content-rich to date. We have worked tirelessly with our Selection Committee and participating galleries to encourage more solo artist presentations and tightly curated booths, as well as providing a more polished and fluid fair layout. This has been supplemented by exciting on-site projects, including our special China Focus section, our first curated exhibition on Pier 92, and the thought-provoking Open Forum talks. The Armory Show has always been New York’s home-grown fair and I am thrilled to see Armory Arts Week establishing itself as a cornerstone event in the New York arts calendar, with an increasingly vibrant city-wide programming.”
New and returning international galleries included David Zwirner, Lisson Gallery, Victoria Miro, Lehmann Maupin andSikkema Jenkins & Co in Pier 94 – Contemporary and Marlborough Gallery, Moeller Fine Art, Galleria d'Arte Maggiore G.A.M in Pier 92 – Modern. Exhibitors reported consistently strong sales, further asserting New York’s position at the core of the international art market. Once again the fair welcomed over 100 major US and international museum directors and groups including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Asia Art Archive and the Tate.
Arne Ehmann, Salzburg Director at Thaddeus Ropac, said: “We’ve had a very positive experience at the fair this year, with extremely strong sales, including Tony Cragg’s Distant Cousin (2008) which sold for $1 million, a Baselitz for $660,000 and a Tom Sachs for $200,000. It is incredible how many important American collectors come here.”
Alison Jacques, Alison Jacques Gallery, London, who dedicated their booth to a solo presentation of Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes, commented: “We have found the Armory to be a great platform for both conversations with museums and curators as well as strong sales, the fair has improved massively since last year and we would be happy to return again."
James Cohan, James Cohan Gallery, New York, said: “We’ve witnessed an amazing array of collectors – including American, European and Chinese. We sold ten works by Michelle Grabner, who is curating the Whitney Biennial this year. There is a great vibe in the fair this year; it really is going from strength to strength.”
Zoe Karafylakis Sperling, Sales Associate, Blain Southern, London: “This year we noticed an increased interest in our younger artists, with work by Marius Bercea selling particularly well. As always we had great people visiting the booth, in particular the American collectors that continue to come back year after year. What’s interesting about the Armory Show is that people tend to visit the fair more than once and so sales tend to be staggered throughout the fair dates.”
Michael Kohn, Owner of Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles added: “This is the most elegant and user-friendly Armory to date. I've heard the comments over and over again how much the public, collectors and artists like this fair, how it has evolved, and what is has become. It has been an extremely successful fair and we are thrilled that we sold out the work by Eddie Martinez who is a new artist to our roster.”
Exhibiting in the Armory Presents section of the fair, Adnan Z Manjal, Director at Athr Gallery, Jeddah commented: “This is the first time we’re showing commercially in the US and we’ve had an excellent response to our booth. Visitors were clearly curious to discover our artists and responded very well to the carefully curated presentation.”
Deborah Harris, Managing Director, The Armory Show–Modern commented: “This year's edition saw a more refined selection of galleries, an improved floor plan on Pier 92 and our first curated exhibition featuring seminal works on paper by women artists. Galleries placed important work with new and established collectors and museums, with continued interest in American, German and Italian works from the 60's, 70's and even 80's. What we have seen throughout the duration of the show are clear signs that the market remains buoyant for fresh works of high quality.”
Jorg Paal, Director of Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich commented: “We've noticed a promising increase of established international collectors at this year’s edition, which resulted in significantly stronger sales throughout the fair. There is good energy with many making quick decisions on purchases.”
Naoto Kakumoto, International Sales & Marketing Manager at Whitestone Gallery, Tokyo added: “The Armory show continues to attract a higher calibre of collectors in comparison to other European fairs, and it is here that we consistently sell our larger works.”
James Barron at James Barron Gallery, South Kent/Rome commented: “The Armory Show has been phenomenal this year. All the improvements to the fair that Deborah Harris has pulled off were evidently appreciated not only by dealers but also by visitors. We have been coming to the fair for years and continue to meet both old and new collectors. Our hats go off to the team for reinventing the fair and bringing new vivacity to the much needed fair for modern works.
This year’s Armory Focus, the fair’s specially curated section, provided fresh insight into the dynamic landscape of Chinese contemporary art today. Curated by Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, it showcased an exciting selection of 17 established and emerging galleries from the Mainland and Hong Kong, many of which had never exhibited outside China before. Furthermore, The China Symposium, generously supported by Adrian Cheng and the K11 Art Foundation, brought together speakers from Asia and beyond, including leading artists, journalists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and academics. The two-day program offered perhaps the most comprehensive overview of the art scene in China yet undertaken for a general New York audience.
“K11 Art Foundation was proud to support The Armory Show's China Symposium, which inspired a cross-cultural artistic dialogue and explored complex ideas and trends in Chinese contemporary art today," said Adrian Cheng, founder of K11 Art Foundation. "The China Symposium and Armory Focus: China exhibition gave visitors a profound experience of the creative forces that are shaping the vibrant art scene in Greater China. These initiatives will continue inspiring us at the K11 Art Foundation as we carry forward our work to connect Chinese artists with the global art community."
Zhang Di, Associated Director at White Space Gallery, Beijing, commented: “It was very exciting to be part of Armory Focus: China, it is not just the first time for us showing in America but the first time outside of Asia. Having the opportunity to introduce our Chinese artists to the established international collectors that the fair attracts is imperative for our gallery and its program.”
Alexia Dehaene at MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, added: “Our first year presenting MadeIn at a commercial art fair as part of China Focus has been extremely successful. We managed to sell all of the work by Xu Zhen, this year’s commissioned artist, and Lu Pingyuan within the first preview day.”
Further on-site highlights included a limited edition art work benefitting The Museum of Modern Art by this year’s commissioned artist Xu Zhen, acclaimed internationally for his conceptual body of work that seeks to confront social-political taboos within the context of contemporary China and beyond. Venus Drawn Out: 20th Century Works by Great Women Artists: curated by Susan Harris, marked the first curated project to take place on Pier 92, presenting drawings made by female visionaries of the twentieth century. Open Forum, the thought-provoking series of conversations and panels organized by the New York-based curator Isolde Brielmaier, featured noteworthy roundtables that addressed current themes such as artist publishing, the role of women artists within today’s market, and the status of biennials.
For the third year running, the fair was designed by Brooklyn-based architects Bade Stageberg Cox. Key enhancements included a refined floor plan, a more fluid connection between the Modern and Contemporary Piers, a fresh graphic identity designed by New York-based firm Our Man in Havana, and improved amenities and dining options.
The Armory Show thanks its incredible list of partner organizations, with whom it presented an outstanding edition of Armory Arts Week.
SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
The Armory Show gratefully acknowledges its 2014 Sponsors and Partners including; American Express, the K11 Art Foundation, Artsy, Pommery, Uovo, Graff, Langham Place Hotels and Resorts, Ace Hotel, Hôtel Americano, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, JW Marriott Essex House, Hudson Hotel, Bade Stageberg Cox, Our Man In Havana, Brunswick Arts, LaForce Stevens, Prentice Art Communications, Roche Bobois, Tucker Robbins, Design Within Reach, Kartell, Flux, 12.29, Everlane, Boqueria, Mile End Deli, Breads Bakery, Ladurée, Turon Travel, UBER, Mango Sedans, TEKSERVE, ERBE Art Projects, The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Artforum, BLOUIN ARTINFO, ArtReview, and Patrick McMullan Company.