Armory Week 2011 Preview: The Smaller Fairs
by Benjamin Sutton via The L Magazine
As promised, following our run-down earlier this morning of the bigger art fairs hanging up their wares on New York City walls this Armory Week, let's take a look at the smaller, more manageable (and often free) art fairs at which you could also spend your week.
Verge Art Brooklyn: Finally, an Armory Week fair in Brooklyn! Not only that, but totally free Thursday through Sunday, too. Every vacant commercial space in Dumbo, it seems, is being optioned for Art Brooklyn, which will have its main exhibitor space at 81 Front Street, with a survey of Brooklyn artists curated by James Kalm on the second floor of 111 Front Street (alongside all those galleries' ongoing exhibitions), and artists' projects at 55 Washington Street and 20 Jay Street.
Independent: This collaboration between Chelsea gallerist Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook of London gallery Hotel first took over the former Dia building at 548 West 22nd Street last year, and it was definitely the highlight of Armory Week. The sophomore Independent runs Thursday through Sunday and it's free again, with an expanded roster of almost 50 international galleries and non-profits presenting site-specific installations by their artists. Another difference this year is that that parts of the massive building have been sliced up into smaller galleries, so there probably won't be that awesome ground-floor lounge with the Rirkrit Tiravanija ping pong table. But maybe they'll open up the stunning roof deck again.
Fountain Art Fair: A few blocks north, Fountain takes over Pier 66, and the floating bar moored thereupon, the Frying Pan—Friday through Sunday, admission at $10—meaning you'll be looking at art inside an old ship, an old locomotive, and a barge. The art tends to be scrappy and abundant, with 17 galleries and six artists transforming the space. This year there will be the added spectacle of a 100-foot collaborative mural by ten street artists including Imminent Disaster, Dickchicken!, Gaia and others. The work tends to be radically uneven, but on balance enjoyable; plus you're at a bar!
Moving Image: This video art fair is making its debut this year right across the street from Fountain in the Terminal Warehouse (269 Eleventh Avenue at 27th Street) Thursday through Sunday, with free admission. Impressive for its first year, there will be nearly 30 galleries participating (including co-founders Edward Winkelman's Winkleman Gallery and Penny Pilkington and Wendy Olsoff's PPOW Gallery), each showing video work by artists they represent. This is the fair we're second-most-looking-forward-to, after Art Brooklyn.
Salon Zürcher: The smallest of the week's offerings actually opened last night at 33 Bleecker, where Zürcher Studio has opened up its space for a free mini-fair (through Sunday) of seven galleries from the Lower East Side (Audio Visual Arts, Feature Inc., The Proposition, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery and Zürcher Studio) and Williamsburg (Journal and Parker's Box). We're fans of all the participating galleries, so this might turn out to be an incredibly pleasant little addition to the Armory Week roster.