March 06, 2010

An Abundance of Art Fairs!

If you feel like taking advantage of the mild temperatures and sunshine in New York this weekend, why not get out and visit some of the many art fairs happening right now? From classic Modern to cutting edge Contemporary, Uptown and Down, East side and West, there is something for just about everyone!

Let's start at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue @ 67th Street with the Art Dealers Association of America "The Art Show", comprising 70 exhibitors from across the country. This is always an elegant and refined fair with carefully selected participants who bring choice material. From drawings to sculptures, photographs to paintings, the art of the late 19th through to the early 21st Century is very well represented here. Ink drawings by Henri Matisse, woodblock prints by Blanche Lazzell, Rayographs by Man Ray, Wayne Thiebaud's charming cake paintings, Joseph Cornell boxes and Alexander Calder mobiles can all be found during a leisurely stroll up and down the Armory aisles. You don't have to be a collector to enjoy this show and the dealers are happy to talk with an appreciative visitor!

The other major art fair going on now is The Armory Show, named after the (in)famous 1913 Armory Show which featured the scandalous Marcel Duchamp painting "Nude Descending a Staircase". That show was held in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue @ 25th Street and was organized by The Association of American Painters and Sculptors and has gone down in history as one of the most groundbreaking events in Modern Art. The much expanded new incarnation has relocated to Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River at 55th Street and has become so popular with both dealers and visitors that it has been divided into two sections - The Armory Show and The Armory Show - Modern.

Enthusiasts of more traditional art, like myself, will enjoy the offerings of the many international fine art dealers on Pier 92. From Frey Norris' homage to Dorothea Tanning on the occasion of her 100th birthday to Hirschl & Adler's presentation of marble sculptures by Elizabeth Turk that look like weightless ribbons floating, there is a lot to see! One unique feature about this venue is being able to look outdoors instead of being confined to an artificial interior - more like being in a living situation than visiting a museum.

After exploring the Modern section it is time to descend the temporary staircase to the street level and the rest of the show. Here's where it gets edgier - and much more crowded! Visitors to this section are greeted with a re-creation of the watershed Ferus Gallery that made Los Angeles the center of the Contemporary Art world in the 1960s and set the stage for much of the avant garde art being produced today. 167 galleries from the United States, Europe and Asia, including quite a few exhibitors from Turkey and India, have brought the latest in leading-edge art to fill their booths and the response seems to be very positive. Many of the artists shown here have works on display in the current Biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art (see my previous blog post) the difference is that these works are for sale!!

Still haven't had enough art? There are several satellite fairs being held in conjunction with these two big ones. You can visit VOLTA NYC on 34th Street, SCOPE at Lincoln Center, PULSE on West Street or Red Dot at Skyline on Tenth Avenue & 36th Street. Not to mention Critical Design, Fountain, Verge, Pool, Independent and Dutch Art Now!! And after all that, you'll deserve a nice dinner with a BIG glass of wine!

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