The Armory Show’s Director Assures ‘Everything’s Going to Proceed as Normal’ at the Fair Despite Change of Location

The Armory Show is picking up the pieces and moving forward despite a last-minute safety issue at Pier 92.

The Armory Show in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Armory Show.
The Armory Show in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Armory Show.

The Armory Show was not about to let a dilapidated pier slow them down in their 25th anniversary year. With only a week to go before the spree of art festivities known as Armory Week kicks into gear, the fair’s organizers have managed to convince all 63 exhibitors that had been scheduled to show on Pier 92—which is now known to be unsafe—to remain in the fair, relocating to nearby Pier 90.

“No exhibitors have rescinded their participation due to this change,” fair director Nicole Berry told artnet News. “The last 72 hours, the Armory Show’s staff has made an herculean effort to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible.”

Since learning last Wednesday evening that the pier, which constitutes half of its venue, was structurally unsound, the fair’s organizers have been working around the clock to rehouse exhibitors from the fair’s Focus, Insight, and Projects sections at neighboring Pier 90. Sister fair VOLTA, which has been housed there since 2015, has been postponed to a later date.

Pier 94, which holds the majority of the fair’s 194 galleries, including its blue-chip international exhibitors, remains unaffected. The fair had learned of the damage to Pier 92 from New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the site.

Aerial view of Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan’s New York, where the Armory Show takes place.Photo: via Armory Show.

Aerial view of Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan’s New York, where the Armory Show takes place, and Pier 90, VOLTA’s former venue. Photo courtesy of the Armory Show.

“It’s just so beyond our control, which is the frustrating part,” Berry said of the structural issue. “Everyone has been incredibly supportive and understanding of the situation.”

The Pier 92 exhibitors “aren’t going to see substantial adjustments to their booth configuration,” said Berry. That’s a significant achievement considering that the original VOLTA floor plan was dramatically different from the configuration next door—the two fairs share an operations team, but redoing the layout and printing new fair maps for visitors was still a major undertaking on such a truncated timeline.

Dealers who are relocating will receive a standard inconvenience fee that Berry describes as “generous” compared to other fairs that have had disruptions. “We’re doing everything to facilitate foot traffic, including additional programming and events,” she added.

That starts with the Armory Show’s press reception on Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m. on Pier 90, followed by an 11 a.m. VIP champagne hour there. Pier 94 will not open until noon. Meanwhile, the mezzanine at Pier 90 will play host to VOLTA’s originally planned talks program.

Photo: The Armory Show.

Photo courtesy of the Armory Show.

“Both of our teams are in communication to ensure that we can do everything in our power to alleviate some of the frustration for the VOLTA exhibitors,” said Berry, noting that the Armory will welcome VOLTA exhibitors, who are receiving full refunds, as well as the fair’s VIPs and ticket-holders.

“Both of our teams are in communication to ensure that we can do everything in our power to alleviate some of the frustration for the VOLTA exhibitors,” said Berry, noting that the Armory will welcome VOLTA exhibitors, who are being fully refunded, as well as the fair’s VIPs and ticket holders.

“From now on, everything’s going to proceed as normal,” she added, citing the fair’s 24/7 efforts since determining that a relocation was necessary. “We owe it to our exhibitors.”


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