Which Art Fair Is for You? Let Our Critic Be Your Guide


The opening of The Art Show on Thursday kicks off a carnival of New York art fairs that won’t stop until March 9. The city will host at least 10, offering hundreds of booths of modern and contemporary art, from blue chip to brand-new, and even a sampling of antiquarian books. For the gallerists, the process can be nerve-racking. But for everyone else, it’s a blast.

The more you see in a given day, the better the odds you’ll discover something to love — and even if you don’t, sensory overload has a thrill of its own. And with so many of the exhibitors flying in from abroad, you can essentially travel the world in an afternoon. Just don’t think you’ll get to everything. I recommend wearing sneakers, resisting the urge to over-caffeinate, and putting two — or at most three — of these fairs on your itinerary. Here’s an overview of some of the more substantial fairs.

This fair is for you if you want a little bit of everything. The organizers of the enormous Armory Show call it “the essential New York art fair,” and they’re not wrong. Now for its 26th edition, the show includes nearly 200 exhibitors from 32 countries and deftly straddles art worlds past and future. It’s not just the historical work showing alongside paintings that are practically still wet. This year, all of Pier 90 will be devoted to the increasingly fashionable practice of curator-led presentations, with sections helmed by Anne Ellegood and Jamillah James, both of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Nora Burnett Abrams of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, among others. On Pier 94, you’ll find the same exciting cacophony of multifarious booths that longtime attendees have come to expect. March 5-8; Piers 90 and 94 at 711 12th Avenue; thearmoryshow.com.


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