The weekend’s snow and ice melted just in time for the VIP preview of The Armory Show, which is celebrating its 25th edition. Director Nicole Berry, who’s led The Armory Show since the end of 2017, called the fair “the unofficial kickoff to the New York art calendar” during the press preview. The 2019 fair presents a group of 197 galleries, hailing from 33 countries—including Tunisia, for the first time, with Selma Feriani Gallery.
The sunny weather on Wednesday morning was good fortune for the fair, particularly in light of the bad news they received in February—that Pier 92, one half of their traditional venue (along with Pier 94), was plagued with structural difficulties. As a result, some Armory exhibitors were relocated to Pier 90, where Volta was originally scheduled to take place, leading the latter fair to be canceled. In light of this, some of the galleries slated to participate in Volta are exhibiting at various other fairs, including Plan B—an initiative helmed by art-world figures including gallerist David Zwirner, and organized in just the past couple of weeks. Despite the last minute shuffle, Volta director Amanda Coulson reaffirmed her support for The Armory Show at the press preview.
Here, we share the 20 best booths from the 25th edition of The Armory Show.
Focus Section, Booth F19
With works by Faith Ringgold
ACA Galleries’s mini Faith Ringgold survey is a true gem—an opportunity to see the legendary artist’s work from the 1960s to the 2010s unfold in one small space. Rare activist prints from the 1970s (ranging from $40,000 to $60,000) are showcased on an exterior wall, while the interior of the booth features a plethora of works, including two large, sequined figurative sculptures from the same era (priced around $250,000). There are also several paintings from the “Black Light” series, ruminations on black skin inspired by Ad Reinhardt’s black abstractions. Two of these paintings were on hold within the first hour of the preview, but the real standout is a large, $3.5 million piece called Black Light Series #11: US America Black (1969). Sliced up into eight parts, US America Black shows a moving range of personalities and emotions in shades of black, blue, brown, and red. Among several quilts on view is a trio dedicated to black activists (Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr.) from 2010, and another covered in photographs of the artist, a reckoning with an unintended 100-pound weight gain.