The 26th annual Armory Show, by far the largest and most monied of all the art fairs going on this week in New York City, opened its cavernous doors to VIPs (in other words, the people who buy) yesterday at both Pier 94 and Pier 90 on the Hudson River. This year there are some 185 galleries showing their stuff, whether in regular art-fair white-box style, or as part of categories the Armory calls Perspectives, Platform, Present, Not For Profit, and Focus.
All of this just means that there's a ton of contemporary art to look at over by the river this weekend. And because everything's for sale, the gallerists tend to bring work by artists they consider to be their hottest. In that respect, in addition to just being a massive, entertaining spectacle, the Armory Show is always an interesting way to gauge which way art-world insiders think the winds of commerce are blowing.
Many larger gatherings, including art fairs, have been cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, but the Armory Show still saw solid attendance and sales. Nicole Berry, the Armory Show’s director, told ArtNews that they "followed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, offering information about best practices for health to visitors at the fair—and more hand sanitizer than usual." She claimed that, at least so far, "People are undeterred." Two galleries, however, did pull out of the fair—Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong and Shanghai) and ShanghART (Beijing, Singapore, and Shanghai).
The Armory Show is located at Piers 90 and 94 on the Hudson River, across 12th Avenue at 50th and 53rd Streets, respectively. The fair is open to the public Thursday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m. (admission: $55) on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. (admission $63)