What Does the Armory Show’s Coveted VIP Card Actually Get You?
Here's what life is like in the VIP lane.
It’s no secret that nabbing a coveted VIP card for any of the major art fairs is no easy feat—unless, of course, you can prove you’re a major collector with a mansion or two full of blue-chip masterpieces and the desire to acquire a few more. But what, you may ask, do these credentials afford you other than bragging rights and a new piece of plastic?
At the Armory Show, which takes place this year from March 3–6, VIPs enjoy benefits including: an invite to VIP preview day on March 2, early viewing hours, access to the aptly-named VIP lounge, personal assistance at VIP desks, and private tours of the fair upon request. Similar benefits are also afforded to Armory VIPs at the adjacent Volta fair.
While it may seem like a whole new world to your average art fair-going Joe, this is actually all pretty standard stuff. At Art Basel, for example, so-called “First Choice” VIPs are given priority access to the fair, admission to the exclusive “Collectors Lounge,” and free transport to and from the event courtesy of BMW.
Perks at the Armory Show include week-long access to Norwood, a members-only creative arts club in Chelsea. There’s also a series of private events that includes a film screening and reception for Art21’s “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” private tours of pretty much every major exhibition currently on display (including Marcel Broodthaers and “Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015” at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), “Alex Katz at the Met” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better” at the Guggenheim, “Unorthodox” at the Jewish Museum, and “Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner” at the Whitney Museum), and a panel discussion titled “How to Optimize the Unpredictable Art Market” that features Jeffrey Deitch, Andrea Danese, and Steve Schindler.
However, even within the rarefied realm of the Very Important, there are hierarchies: Each VIP preview card comes with a different entry time for the splashy preview day festivities, which, according to a spokesperson for the fair, are determined by a number of factors including collector activity and general prominence within the art world.
These uber-VIPs include top-level collectors and advisors, major artists, and even bona-fide celebrities (last year’s preview boasted the likes of Tobey Maguire, Mike Meyers, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alexander Skarsgard) are offered an entry time of 12 p.m.
Does all of this sound pretty good to you? Unfortunately, the handsome plastic cards and their corresponding brochures were mailed out to their lucky owners weeks ago. Your best bet at this point is to hang around Pier 94 and try to hop on someone’s arm as a plus-one—which, yep, is another perk of the VIP card.
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