Here’s Your Go-To Guide to All the In-Person Art Fairs Taking Place in New York During Armory Week 2021
Here's what you need to know going into a very different year of the Armory Show.
After nearly two years of point-and-click shopping, IRL art fairs are finally back in New York City.
Kicking things off this fall is the Armory Show, which will feel a little different this time around thanks to a slimmer lineup. Meanwhile, stalwarts like Independent and newcomers like Future Fair are on board as well, ensuring there will be plenty of work on view for New York’s art-starved masses.
Below, see our rundown of the must-see fairs happening during this year’s Armory Week, including information on each event’s health and safety guidelines.
The Armory Show
Where: Javits Center, 429 11th Avenue
When: VIP Preview Day, Thursday, September 9: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; public days, Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11: 12–8 p.m.; Sunday, September 12: 12–7 p.m.
Admission: $65 general admission
What to Know: The 2020 Armory Show proved to be the last major art event before the U.S. and Europe went into lockdown. Now, more than a year later, it’s gearing up for the 2021 edition. For the first time, the fair will present Modern and contemporary works together under the massive roof of the Javits Center, providing ample room for social distancing and ventilation. As we learned earlier this summer, 55 of the previously announced 212 exhibitors—around 25 percent—are opting to participate online only, hoping to resume IRL attendance in 2022. Executive director Nicole Berry is heading into the week ready for any eventuality, telling the New York Times that the fair will “have a Plan A, B, C, D, and E.”
Another new aspect of the show is Armory Off-Site, an outdoor public program that opens with the fair on September 9 but will run, in part, through December 2021. Visitors should look out for a 31-foot Airstream R.V. courtesy of 1969 Gallery’s Guild of Adventure Painters, led by artists Johnny DeFeo and Aaron Zulpo in the middle of Astor Place Plaza, plus works at Bella Abzug Park, Hudson River Park, and Flatiron Plaza.
Health and Safety: Masks required, plus either proof of vaccination (in paper, digital application, or using the New York state Excelsior Pass) or proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of admission, and government-issued ID.
Independent Art Fair
September 9–12, 2021
Where: Cipriani South Street at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street
When: VIP Preview: Thursday September 9: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; public days: Friday, September 10 & Saturday, September 11: 12–7 p.m.; Sunday, September 12: 12–6 p.m.
Admission: $47 general admission
What to Know: Another fair with a new venue, Independent is opening in lower Manhattan this year, inside a recently renovated historic ferry terminal. The so-called “thinking person’s fair” will be presented in the Beaux-Arts structure in collaboration with Cipriani South Street, to encourage safer socialization. The fair is slightly pared down this year, downsizing from about 60 galleries to 43. The majority of participants (around 80 percent) are focusing on solo or dual artist presentations, and the total number of artists participating is around 100. Some highlights this year include Peter Halley’s new work presented by former Marlborough Gallery honcho Max Levai with his new project, The Ranch, which is situated at Andy Warhol’s farm in Montauk.
Health and Safety: Masks required, plus proof of vaccination, and government-issued ID.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show
September 8–13, 2021
Where: 625 Madison Avenue
When: Collectors preview, Wednesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 9: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; VIP preview nights, Wednesday and Thursday: 5–9 p.m.; public days: Friday, September 10–Monday, September 13, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Admission: $30 general admission
What to Know: The raucous, curator-driven SPRING/BREAK art fair is returning to its digs at the former Ralph Lauren offices on Madison Avenue for its 10th edition, with more than 120 projects on view. This year’s theme is “HEARSAY:HERESY” and centers around medieval ideas of heresy and artisanship. According to the fair, it will explore the “patently medieval: rumor, fabulism, theocratic dominion, public flogging in the literal or digital, sweet Hereafters, or the manipulation and misinformation of empires.”
Health and Safety: Masks required, plus either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of admission, and government-issued ID.
Where: The Starrett-Lehigh Building, 600 W 27th Street
When: VIP Preview, Thursday, September 9: 12–8 p.m. and Friday, September 10: 12–2 p.m.; public days: Friday, September 10: 2–8 p.m.; Saturday, September 11: 12–8 p.m.; Sunday, September 12: 12–5 p.m.
Admission: $35 for timed tickets
What to Know: After the public-health crisis forced the fair to delay its inaugural in-person edition, the Future Fair is ramping up to debut with a diverse cast of 34 galleries—25 percent of which are owned by people of color and 50 percent of which are owned by women. The exhibitors will show within 16 rooms among the 10,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea.
The array of participants is a testament to the fair’s operating model, which it says is based on three tenets: equitability (founding galleries participate a profit-sharing plan), transparency (galleries receive a condensed budget report after the fair as well as a breakdown of cost allocation), and a “quality over quantity” perspective.
Health and Safety: Masks, proof of vaccination, and/or proof of a negative PCR test no later than 72 hours prior to entry; government-issued ID.
Art on Paper
Where: Pier 36, 299 South Street
When: VIP Preview: Thursday, September 9: 6–7 p.m. and opening evening 7–10 p.m.; public days, Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, September 12: 12–7 p.m.
Admission: $25 general admission
What to Know: The beloved Art on Paper fair is returning to Pier 36 with 67 exhibiting galleries from South Korea to Colombia, New York, and New Mexico. The seventh edition of the fair continues to be a “medium-driven” event showcasing the best works on paper.
Health & Safety: Masks required, plus proof of vaccination, and government-issued ID.
Clio Art Fair
Where: 550 West 29th Street
When: VIP Opening reception: Thursday, September 9: 6–9 p.m.; public days: Friday, September 10: 12–8 p.m., Saturday, September 11: 2–8 p.m., and Sunday, September 12: 2–6 p.m.
Admission: $10–20 general admission
What to Know: The self-proclaimed “Anti-Fair for Independent Artists,” Clio is welcoming an international array of 52 independent artists. The fair is also presenting a special program called “Canary in the Coal Mine: The People’s Art of Protest,” curated by Garon Willie, and featuring artists including Aisha Tandiwe Bell, Amir Diop, and Al Diaz. Ahead of the curve, Clio has accepted payment via cryptocurrency since 2017.
Health and Safety: Masks, proof of vaccination or negative test, government issued ID for identification.
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