The Armory Show (art fair)

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The Armory Show 2015

Established in 1994 and held annually in March on Piers 92 & 94, The Armory Show is an international art fair. Offering curatorial programming and specially-commissioned projects, The Armory Show combines access to high quality modern and contemporary art with a commitment to spotlighting new and emerging voices in the visual arts. Now in its 22nd year, The Armory Show is a major event on the global arts calendar, connecting the world’s leading galleries with international collectors, curators and art professionals in the capital of the art world.

The event, which lasts four days, has attracted crowds of up to 65,000 and reported sales of up to $85 million.[1] Many smaller fairs and special events are held that same week in New York, effectively called "Armory Show Week". [2]


The Armory Show is composed of Pier 94 - Contemporary, exhibiting works by living artists, and Pier 92 - Modern, dedicated to masterworks of the 20th century. Additionally, The Armory Show, specifically Pier 94, includes the Armory Presents and Armory Focus sections.[3] Armory Presents is composed of single and dual artist presentations by galleries fewer than ten years old. Armory Focus is an invitational section that spotlights the artistic landscape of a different geographic region each year. With an appointed curator or curators and a dedicated symposium, Armory Focus brings together galleries, artists and curators who present unique geographic and cultural perspectives. Previous editions of The Armory Show’s Focus section include: Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean (2015), curated by Omar Kholeif; [4] Focus: China (2014), curated by Philip Tinari; Focus: USA (2013), curated by Eric Shiner; Focus: Nordic Countries (2012), curated by Jacob Fabricius; Focus: Latin America (2011); and Focus: Berlin (2010).

The Armory Artist Commission was launched in 2002. Through this initiative the fair extends the opportunity to an artist to contribute to the visual identity of each edition through the design of the official fair collateral materials and realization of an on-site activation. Past Armory Commissioned Artists include: Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2015); Xu Zhen (2014); Liz Magic Laser (2013); Theaster Gates (2012); Gabriel Kuri (2011); Susan Collis (2010); Ewan Gibbs (2009); Mary Heilmann and John Waters (2008); Pipilotti Rist (2007); John Wesley (2006); Jockum Nordström (2005); Lisa Ruyter (2004); Barnaby Furnas (2003) and Karen Kilimnik (2002). Kapwani Kiwanga was selected as the commissioned artist for the 2016 fair.[5]


The fair started in 1994 as the Gramercy International Art Fair, and was held in the rooms of the Gramercy Hotel in New York City by four art dealers: Colin De Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks and Paul Morris.[6] The fair outgrew its location and was renamed "The Armory Show" in 1999, when it was first held at the 69th Regiment Armory, site of the famous Armory Show of 1913.[7]

While its location at the 69th Regiment Armory was only temporary, the current Armory Show was inspired by the idea of presenting new art from around the world together under one roof in New York City. After several editions at the Gramercy Park Hotel, and also at Chateau Marmont (in 1994),[8] The fair moved to the West Side piers in 2001, originally Piers 88 & 90. In 2009, The Armory Show – Modern, a section devoted to 20th century master artworks, was introduced and The Armory Show made a new home on Piers 92 & 94. Today, Pier 92 hosts the Modern section while Pier 94 hosts the contemporary section, composed of work by living artists.

Hotel Fair concept[edit]

The idea of an art fair being held in a hotel has been replicated in different countries, such as London and Singapore. Art Apart Fair, is Singapore's first hotel-based boutique art fair and it was inspired by The Armory Show.


  1. ^ Niclas Ostlind. New York's Armory Show; Seeking international artists, The Japan Times, April 3, 2008.
  2. ^ B. Davis. Armory Action,, March 21, 2008.
  3. ^ Julie Baumgartner [1] The Armory Show, New as Ever, March 3, 2015.
  4. ^ Geoff Edgers [2] 2015 Armory Show fair puts focus on Middle Eastern Artists, March 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Robin Pogrebin, "Commissioned Artist Named for Armory Show," The New York Times, 8 October 2015
  6. ^ Sarah Douglas Armory Show Founding Director Paul Morris Resigns After 18 Years. The New York Observer. Archived September 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Roberta Smith. More Space for Young Artists, The New York Times, February 19, 1999.
  8. ^ [3], Archives of American Art.

External links[edit]