So here is a look at ten booths you should check out when you are at the Armory Show in New York next week. (Full disclosure: my insider art knowledge comes from working on the Armory Show preview for Artsy, which has partnered with the fair for the second year in a row to bring it online, and provide me with ample opportunity to contemplate the works ahead of the VIP opening.)
With an impressive list of over 200 galleries and a highly competitive selection process, this iteration of the fair is bound to have a self-assured vibe of not trying too hard. Many big names such as James Cohan, Sikkema Jenkins and Thaddaeus Ropac are new, while a multitude of younger European and Asian galleries, both new and returning, will be showing fresh talent coming to light. This year’s curatorial focus is China, which is extremely relevant, but far from my area of expertise, so I leave it to people who know far more.
Skip the Israel Lund at Roberts & Tilton. There’s a 100% chance it’s long-sold, months before it was created, to a bigger collector than you. If you really want to try your luck, maybe add yourself to the wait list for one of the Harold Ancarts at CLEARING Gallery, which sit there like fine tropical birds—to be desired but not captured. You might even spot a few of these rare breeds, if you get the coveted invite to the Hort’s Sunday Armory Brunch—and if the Horts have them, then what are the chances for the rest of us.
Instead, let’s talk about emerging painters and new media. Here are the booths I am most excited to see at this year’s Armory Show.
Jessica Silverman Gallery (Pier 94 – Contemporary, Booth 761)
The booth is part of the inaugural edition of Armory Presents, a curatorially tight section of the fair dedicated to newly-established dealers and younger artists. The San Francisco gallery, and preeminent outpost of emerging talent on the West Coast, will present Hayal Pozanti’s new series of paintings. With names like Technocream and Archival Alchemy, the irresistible canvases depict rounded geometric forms derived from subconscious doodles, GIFs and digital rendering which reconcile the digital world with canons of modern art.
I8 (Pier 94 – Contemporary, Booth 609)
There are a lot of interesting artists out of Iceland and Northern Europe dealing with temporality and the laws of visual and metaphysical perception disguised in post-minimalist form. This booth is a Nordic haven and will feature Olafur Eliasson, Thór Vigfússon and Alicja Kwade. My personal favorite is the Ragnar Kjartansson photograph from his S.S. Hangover voyage, which sailed across the the Venice Arsenale at last summer’s biennale.
Zach Feuer (Pier 94 – Contemporary, Booth 821)
At every fair, I am ever more blown away by Jon Rafman’s works. With the recent cameo of his morphed heads in the RoboCop film, the rest of the world also seems to have caught onto my obsession. The Monet Master Bedroom and De Kooning Hallway are especially amazing—they are unreal environments, digitally created to transmute iconic artwork into the physical realm, through 3D modeling software. Paired with new shingle paintings by Marianne Vitale, this booth is not to be missed.
James Fuentes LLC (Pier 94 – Contemporary, Booth 781)
The solo booth of Jessica Dickinson’s works on paper is a thoughtful and slow contemplation, that’s a rare find amidst any art fair, where mirrors and neons are the usual modus operandi. Her works are explorations into material flesh of paper itself and subtle color modulations. They are meditative, strong and will serve as a perfect respite from the visual barrage of everything else.
Marianne Boesky Gallery (Pier 94, Booth 604)
After that edgy WSJ feature, and a killer lineup of new talent including Andisheh Avini and the current show of Kon Trubkovich, Marianne Boesky has been turning heads this season. She delivers another ‘art star’ of the rise, with a solo booth dedicated to Serge Alain Nitegeka. The constructed planes of of wood and black contrasting shapes are exquisite and have depth and focus. With Julia Dault now on the roster as well, things are just heating up for this gallery.
BolteLang (Pier 94, Booth 779)
Thomas Raat was a new name to me before the Armory, but he has shown extensively around Europe and will have Zurich’s BolteLang Gallery booth dedicated to his vividly geometric, whimsically abstract and overall delightful paintings. They are a real gem, with an unpretentious price point and unique floor display. This should be a destination for any younger collectors looking to discover a new name.
Cardi/Cardi Black Box (Pier 94, Booth 725)
Many dealers like to approach art fairs as a chance to curate and explore themes and intersections of multiple artists’ practice. This year, Cardi promises one of the sharpest presentations with series monochromatic edge that will feature Andy Warhol’s Knives (a jarring silkscreen of just that), a stunning white Fontana slash painting from 1966 and Scott Short’s series of 2013 works. Short is a forerunner to much of today’s process paintings and his pieces are actually re-painted versions of photocopied black and white sheets of paper.
Galerie Rodolphe Janssen (Pier 94, Booth 507)
The program of this Brussels based gallery has gotten a lot of international attention and has become one of the main spaces for emerging American talent to show abroad. The gallery will be working with all the members of The Still House Group on a series of upcoming shows. For the Armory, Janssen is bringing a collection of uniquely figurative works by subversive artists including Betty Tompkins, Sean Landers and Chris Martin amongst others.
Peter Blum Gallery (Pier 94, Booth 709)
New Yorkers never tire of Alex Katz, a timeless favorite at the Armory. This year one can expect to see his works at no less than six booths. Blum is leading the pack and dedicating his space to Katz’s recent portraits and nature vistas. The paintings are all cropped off-kilter, gaining dimension in context of one another. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise showed a solo booth of Katz at Frieze last fall and now Blum is choosing a similar approach in New York.
Higher Pictures (Pier 94, Booth 771)
Rubbing shoulders with private collector spaces and Gagosian, this uptown gallery is a proponent of emerging art in the 980 Madison building and has been exhibiting abstract photography (and the likes of Sam Falls) before it ever became a thing. For the Armory, Higher Pictures will be in the Presents section with a booth of all Travess Smalley works. This artist’s goal is to ‘capture physical presence’ through a mashup of computer generated and physical matter. The UV prints on stretched vinyl resemble wave patterns from afar and almost make you wish OpArt would make a comeback.