NY Armory Week Closes With Buoyant Sales Across The Board

New York’s oldest established art fair for modern and contemporary works returned to Piers 92 & 94 from March 5-8 in what has been hailed as buoyant sales across the board. Artworks by over 1,500 artists from 199 galleries across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Further to record exhibitor applications, a host of new and returning major galleries, an exemplary VIP program, and an ambitious curatorial initiative, The Armory Show cemented itself as New York’s leading art fair, spearheading a week of satellite events, major museum openings, and gallery presentations.
“We’re delighted that collectors, curators and museum groups have turned out in force for this exemplary edition of the fair,” comments Noah Horowitz, Executive Director. “This year was unquestionably the strongest in my tenure in terms of the caliber of exhibitors, the quality of the artistic presentations and programming, and the overall sophistication of the design and layout. We remain honored to anchor Armory Arts Week in New York and have been delighted to see the incredible turnout of our audiences and the entire city come to life. Despite some passing bad weather, there’s been great excitement and atmosphere all around.”
“The complementary range of works offered by the Contemporary and Modern sections gives collectors who come here an incredible range of master works to consider,” reflects Deborah Harris, Managing Director, Pier 92 – Modern. “Additionally, we have a strong influx of international exhibitors who are new to New York this year, which always helps attract new collectors and museum curators. There were a number of curated presentations that added to the overall quality of the show. ”
Exhibitors across Piers 92 & 94 received plaudits from visiting Museum groups including the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris) and the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington DC), while Pier 94 – Contemporary galleries commented on the steady flow of collectors from across the United States and internationally. A key work by Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1968, closed for $2 million on the first public day at Cardi(Milan), with other exhibitors commenting on exception sales from the go, including: Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Cherry & Martin (Los Angeles), Carl Freedman (London), Johann König (Berlin), Galerie Peter Kilchmann(Zurich), Sean Kelly, New York, Lisson Gallery (London, New York, Milan), Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London, Los Angeles), Victoria Miro (London), Galerie Eva Presenhuber (Zurich), Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg), Jack Shainman Gallery (New York), and Bruce Silverstein (New York) amount others.
Solo booths had a particularly emphatic presence at the 2015 fair. Galerie kamel mennour (Paris), returning to the Armory after a 10-year absence, presented a retrospective of Daniel Buren, with sales going to American private collectors and institutions. Alison Jacques Gallery (London) presented a 50-year survey of Irma Blank, with sales and curatorial reception exceeding expectations.  Elsewhere, presentations of Joe Reihsen at Praz-Delavallade (Paris) and Rafael Rozendaal at Upstream Gallery (Amsterdam) sold out by the end of the opening day. Buoyant sales and museum interest was also reported in the Armory Presents section of the fair, which features galleries less than ten years old, with many galleries selling most, or all, of their booths.
“Sprüth Magers had a very successful Armory Show with strong sales – especially on the preview day of the fair,  and mostly to US collectors. Our decision to give generous exposure to Thea Djordjadze (one of the artists confirmed for the Venice Biennial) proved to be profitable. Through the presentation of several of her works in our booth, we introduced Djordjadze to new collectors and curators, and reaffirmed her position with those familiar with her practice already. We sold almost all of her works to both private and institutional collections. Jenny Holzer was another artist we sold multiple pieces of, including works from her ‘Redacted painting’ series and marble footstools carrying her famous ‘Truisms’. The Armory Show seems to have gained further momentum and re-established itself as a strong force in the US market and international art fair circuit.” Andreas Gegner, Director, Sprüth Magers (London, Berlin, Los Angeles)
“The Armory Show continues to build upon its history and presents an important moment in New York. Through the smart and focused program, galleries benefit from the international base of collectors and institutions present at the fair.  We have seen strong and early sales with each edition, including a Dan Graham mirror pavilion piece that fronts the gallery’s large booth for $350,000 to an American collector.” Alex Logsdail, Director, Lisson Gallery  (London, New York, Milan)
“Amongst other works, we have sold a large new Georg Baselitz painting for $550,000 and four minimalist works by Liza Lou ($195,000 each). The fair was very successful for us and we have the impression that New Yorkers love this fair. The audience of the Armory Show is particularly sophisticated and for us the US is still one of the most important and most vibrant markets.” Arne Ehmann, Executive Director of Salzburg gallery, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg)
“This year’s Armory Show was yet again a great success with strong sales for artists such as Shimon Attie, Nick Cave, Toyin Odutola, Hayv Kahraman, Hank Willis Thomas, and 2015 Venice Biennale artists Kay Hassan and Kerry James Marshall. What was special for us this year is that we were able to draw connections to other parts of the fair, such as the MENAM focus through our presentation of Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman, and to Artsy’s Armory booth, which this year collaborated with Hank Willis Thomas to present an interactive installation.” Jack Shainman, Director, Jack Shainman Gallery (New York)
Pier 94 – Contemporary housed a special international Focus, with invited 15 galleries from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean (Focus: MENAM), curated by Omar Kholeif, and realized in partnership with Lead Cultural Partner, Edge of Arabia, and Education Partner, Art Jameel. With new and recent works from a range of artists on display, Kholeif commented, “Not only did we create a new acronym with this FOCUS, but also a new way to look at and think of art from the broader context of the Middle East and its regions. Being able to see so many different generations of artists together from the MENAM region in this great cultural city with such an engaged and lively public has been one of the proudest moments of my professional career to date.”
A series of special projects were also presented at the fair. Dispersed throughout Piers 92 & 94, the Armory Commissioned, British-Lebanese artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan presented the multi-media work, A Convention of Tiny Movements, 2015, as well as Renderings for a New Age of Eavesdropping, a limited edition artwork benefitting The Museum of Modern Art (New York). Of his experience creating the visual identity for the fair, Abu Hamdan commented, “It has been a huge career highlight for me to work with Noah Horowitz, Omar Kholeif, Joel Morrison and The Armory Show team who have been so supportive and committed in following an artist like me on such a peculiar and ambitious adventure. Together we realized what I think has been a fantastically successful project.”  
This year’s Symposium, The Way Things Can Go, organized by Fawz Kabra, Assistant Curator, Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (New York), hosted two days of dialogue and exchange. With talks and discussion from over 30 curators, artists, museum directors and patrons, topics ranged from how we create and define regions to how the economy and culture of the artistic landscape in the MENAM region is influenced and shaped. Of the Symposium, Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, commented, “Our Educational partnership with The Armory Show 2015’s Focus: MENAM reflects Art Jameel’s long-term commitment to nurturing artists’ careers and supporting a better understanding of contemporary Middle Eastern art and culture. There is a thriving contemporary art scene across the MENAM region and the Focus: MENAM Symposium in particular presented a unique platform to share the talents and ideas of artists from the region with a wider audience.”
Art Jameel and Edge of Arabia presented the latest iteration of CULTURERUNNERS, an ongoing artistic expedition to host artistic exchange between the Middle East and the United States. “The Armory Show’s willingness to involve and include innovative formats for cultural programming has been particularly exciting and rewarding,” commented Stephen Stapleton, Director of Edge of Arabia. “Through CULTURERUNNER’S dedicated panel discussion at The Armory Show Open Forum, interactions with artists and galleries in the Focus: MENAM section of the fair, and engagements with related communities throughout New York City, CULTURUNNERS served as a cross-cultural meeting place for voices and collaborators from the MENAM region.”
“As Cultural Partner of this year’s Focus section, Edge of Arabia was proud to support and share the work of artists from the MENAM region with US audiences. In particular, we were excited to see the launch of FREEWAY, our artist-led online Broadcast Platform, and latest iteration of our CULTURUNNERS project, which, in the form of a retrofitted Gulf Stream RV on site throughout Armory Week, hosted artist collaborations and technologies that connected Focus: MENAM with communities across New York.”
On Pier 92 – Modern thematic booths were especially strong this year with a presentation of works from the Zero Group at BECK & EGGELING (Dusseldorf) and Setareh Gallery (Dusseldorf), a showing of prints and gouaches by Bridget Riley from 1986 – 1995 at Sims Reed Gallery (London), and works from the Gutai group at Whitestone (Tokyo). Strong sales were again reported across Pier 92, with Alan Cristea Gallery (London), reporting daily re-hangs of their special Jim Dine presentation and the launch of a new Julian Opie edition at the fair. Dealers across Pier 92 noted a significant presence of museum groups and new collectors. Additionally, an important work by Adolph Gottlieb, listed for $1.35 million, was sold at Antoine Helwaser Gallery (New York) on the closing day.
Special projects on Pier 92, inspired by Focus MENAM, included Parviz Tanavoli: Selections from the NYU Art Collection, co-curated by Lynn Gumpert & Michèle Wong, and displaying works by the Iranian modernist; while Lebanese designer Carlo Massoud launched a limited edition work in the Public Lounge, presented by Carwan Gallery (Beirut).
“This is the first time we’ve done the fair, and we brought a series of works by artists from the Zero Group, as we thought that this was a good time to bring these works to New York after the Guggenheim exhibition. We’ve sold pieces by Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Gerhard Hoeme – we’re particularly delighted as we’ve sold to all new collectors.” Katja Ott, Director, BECK & EGGELING (Dusseldorf)
“We have had a really excellent fair, and we’ve sold across the board. We launched a new Julian Opie edition here, and also had a special focus section on Jim Dine, which we have re-hung every day.“ David Cleaton-Roberts, Director, Alan Cristea Gallery (London)
“It’s always an interesting fair, we always meet new collectors and an excellent group of museums and institutions here. We have sold well this year, including key works by Giorgio Morandi, Arman and a Roberto Sebastian Matta painting which we are particularly pleased about, as we are working on a museum retrospective of his work in Venice for the next Biennale.“ Franco Calarota, Founder and Chairman, Galleria d’Arte Maggiore (Bologna)
In Addition, The Armory Show also hosted its first Instagram Meet-Up and the premier of Arty’s new Instagram campaign #ArtWorldSpaces on Thursday, March 5. With over 30 bloggers attending for a special preview and breakfast, the meet up was an exception social media partnership and will be sure to be repeated in 2016.

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