Read This Before You Go Visit The New York Art Fairs


Named after the eponymous art fair on Piers 92 and 94, ‘Armory Week’ is about to hit New York. The American Art Dealers’ Association (AADA) is holding its Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory and a number of satellite fairs will open their doors throughout Manhattan: Volta, Scope and Moving Image, to name a few. On view at Armory and AADA will be art of the 20th and 21st Centuries: post-war, modern and contemporary. The focus at Volta, Scope and Moving Image will be on contemporary art only. We will be visiting most fairs with clients but if you are not an art professional you probably don’t have the time to see all of them. So here are the basics.

Most fairs run from March 5th to March 9th. The Armory and AADA’s Art Show are the larger fairs. According to the Art Newspaper’s Fair Preview the Armory will have 205 exhibitors this year. At these shows you will see internationally recognized artists that you will likely have heard of or read about, represented by the most prominent galleries and dealers. Volta, Scope and Moving Image are boutique fairs that focus on avant-garde contemporary art. They generally have a lower price point than the larger fairs because of their focus on emerging artists.

You can walk through the smaller fairs in a couple of hours but for the larger fairs you really need to do a bit of planning in order to avoid a mental breakdown that we in the trade refer to as ‘fair fatique’: caused by an overload of visual stimuli. So prepare. Check the fair’s exhibitor list. Visit the galleries’ websites. Check out which artists they represent and determine which artists you’d like to know more about. Prepare questions  for the gallery staff. Most fairs organize events like artist talks and collector’s panels so be sure to check their websites for additional programming. Armed with this information and the floor plan you are ready to start browsing. Enjoy!