Wrap-up of The Best of The Armory Show

New York signage
The Armory Show is in New York City- Photo by Nik Shuliahin

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The Armory Show is one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world, and this year’s edition did not disappoint. The fair featured a wide range of art from established and emerging artists.

Domenick Ammirato’s Occupational Hazard for Artforum is a beautifully written personal survey of New York during Armory Week. Ammirato’s sticky and nostalgic take on the city meanders through the neighborhood streets while proposing, “The transformation of the art object into a financial instrument: What does it look like?”

A New Era for The Armory Show

In July, Frieze announced they acquired The Armory Show and Expo Chicago. The expansion solidified the fair’s American presence and considerably consolidated top-tier art fairs. Frieze’s parent company is Endeavor, a talent agency.

French luxury goods tycoon François-Henri Pinault’s investment company, Artémis, acquired a majority interest in Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a talent agency. Artémis’ holdings already include Christie’s, a leading auction house, and the Pinault Collection, one of the world’s most extensive private contemporary art collections. 

With the acquisition, Artémis has gained the contemporary and NFT artists represented by CAA. Between the two additions, contemporary art has significantly shifted into the world of entertainment.

Nate Freeman discusses the inevitable glow-up with a side of social gossip in Vanity Fair with The Armory Show Enters a New Era in an Uncertain Art Market, “The Armory Show held a small, exclusive cocktail party for its collectors in the rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, one of New York’s more opulent venues for a party. For hours, guests such as the collector Nicolai Frahm, the actor and Meryl Streep–scion Grace Gummer, and Powerhouse Arts director Eric Shiner mingled, nibbling on fluke crudo and mini truffle burgers.”

THE ARMORY SHOW NEW YORK 2023: Complete Art Fair Tour, Artists Full List, and Highlights 纽约军械库艺术博览会 by Art Exhibitions Magazine

Press Picks for the Best of The Armory Show

There is plenty of press coverage on Armory Week and its magnetic sphere. So, below is a quick wrap-up of the top picks for the Best of The Armory Show, focusing on one from each writer.

Gisela McDanie at Pilar Corrias Gallery

The 11 Best Booths at The Armory Show 2023 by Osman Can Yerebakan for Artsy

McDaniel is a painter from Nebraska who is of Indigenous CHamoru descent. Her work explores the emotions of people in her paintings. She often paints BIPOC women and nonbinary New Yorkers.

The people in her paintings are usually strangers to her, but she makes them look familiar and intimate through her use of color and light. She also records the voices of the people she paints, which makes the paintings even more personal for the viewer.

John Divola at Yancey Richardson Gallery

7 of the Best Artworks of Armory Week 2023, From Arresting Paintings by a 26-Year-Old Instagram Phenom to Elevated Interpretations of Outdoor Recliners by Artnews Staff for Artnews

John Divola’s Zuma #3 (1977) is a haunting and beautiful image that reminds us of the fragility of life and the power of nature. The photograph shows a burned-out building that has been vandalized and eroded by time. The building symbolizes the transience of life, and the graffiti and decay represent the power of nature.

Divola will have a solo exhibition at Paris Photo in November 2023. He will also lead a small, two-day workshop during the fair, allowing photographers and visual artists to learn from him firsthand.

In Conversation: John Divola by Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA LA)

Sonia Boyce at Apalazzo

The Best Booths at the Armory Show, Where Under-Recognized Giants and Rising Stars Collide by Alex Greenberger for Artnews

Boyce won the Golden Lion at the 2022 Venice Biennale and joined Hauser & Wirth last week. Her Italian gallery is showing three of her pieces about hair, which she sees as a defining feature of identity.

The Audition anchors the booth, which Boyce first staged in 1997. Participants tried on an Afro wig and were then photographed with and without it. Boyce was questioning what truly counts as Black representation.

Another piece is the 2005 video Exquisite Tension. It shows a Black woman and a white man with their hair tied together to be inseparable.

Sonia Boyce – ‘Gathering a History of Black Women’ | TateShots

Tracey Emin at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill

The Armory Show 2023: 5 Artworks to Chase Down in Ocula

Tracey Emin’s neon sign, “When I was Last in Love!,” is a beacon of longing in the Rome-based gallery’s booth. The sign is part of Emin’s series of neon light text-based sculptures inspired by her childhood in Margate, where neon signs are common.

Using her own handwriting as the font, the signs feature deeply personal, yet universally relatable phrases, relating the themes of love and desire in her usual unflinchingly honest approach.

In November 2023, Emin will have her first solo exhibition in New York in seven years. The show, “Lovers Grave,” will feature new paintings by the artist.

In the Gallery: Tracey Emin on ‘Those who suffer Love’ | White Cube


For an art market take on this year’s Armory Show, check out Eileen Kinsella’s article for Artnet, The Armory Show’s VIP Preview Opened With Brisk Sales and a Lot of Chatter About the Fair’s Future.

She attended the VIP opening and spoke to the art dealers to get their perspective on how the fair and general art market changes as things settle from the 2022 rush of post-COVID.


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