Art New York and Context Edges Ahead of Frieze Art Fair

The two fairs "are very different than Frieze," the director says.

The packed line-up of spring art fairs timed to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair just got a bit busier with the addition of another event, the Miami-based Context fair.

The latest offering from Nick Korniloff’s group of major Miami fairs will sit alongside Art New York, its sister fair, on Pier 94 in Manhattan this year. (Art New York was initially named Art Miami, but was changed after the move for obvious reasons.)

“We were very happy with the fair last year,” says Art New York director Katelijne de Backer. With respect to the new name, she says, “Of course we realized it was confusing, so that was a very obvious thing we had to change.”

Sam Francis, “Untitled”, 1989/1990, , Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam

Sam Francis, Untitled (1989/1990).
Image: Courtesy of Gallery Delaive, Amsterdam.

Julian Navarro, who has been running the Context fair in Miami, will also be leading the inaugural New York edition. “We had been looking for the right opportunity to bring Context to New York,” Navarro told artnet News in a phone interview. “Between the diversity of collectors, all the big institutions and the sheer volume of requests from our galleries, we felt it was the right moment to expand the fair.”

Together, Art New York and Context will showcase artwork from more than 150 galleries representing 1,200 artists.

But what sets the two apart? Art New York “provides a fresh alternative to acquiring important, never-before exhibited works,” according to a statement from the organization, while Context is “dedicated to the development and reinforcement of emerging and mid-career artists.”

In addition to the name change, another development to look out for is the timing; the fairs will open for VIP and press previews on Tuesday, May 3—one day ahead of Frieze New York’s preview on Randall’s Island.

“We adopted the same format as Art Miami,” says de Backer, explaining that the fair opens the day prior to Art Basel in Miami Beach. “We wanted to do the same thing here in New York—open this important week.”

The fair is holding an olive branch out to Frieze VIP cardholders; it will provide complimentary admittance and courtesy shuttle service to Pier 94 from the Frieze ferry terminal on 35th Street.

James Balog, “Lindlad Cove, Antarctica”, 2011, Hexton Modern and Contemporary

James Balog, Lindlad Cove, Antarctica (2011).
Image: Courtesy of Hexton Modern and Contemporary, New York.

Asked about being part of the busy fair lineup, de Backer told artnet News: “I think the fairs that are happening in May really nicely complement each other. Art New York and Context are very different than Frieze. Art New York is a bit more classical with a good mix of secondary market and primary market material. Context is, of course, much more edgy.”

This year, one booth in particular at Art New York will be focused on cause close to Korniloff and his wife, Pamela Cohen. Kevin O’Leary, of the television show Shark Tank, will feature his photographs at Tansey Contemporary gallery’s booth at Art New York. All profits will go toward the Perry J. Cohen Foundation and aspiring teenage entrepreneurs. Last year, Pamela founded the Perry J. Cohen Foundation to honor her teenage son who was lost at sea with his friend this past July.

Art New York and Context are also planning a few large site-specific projects and provocative installations. These include “Digits to Digital” at Context, a program featuring video works that was curated by Regine Basha. At Context, “Positions,” curated by Christoph Cox, features sound works by roughly a dozen artists, and “Art from Berlin” offers insight into the Berlin art scene with five contemporary galleries selected by a panel of Berlin-based curators and critics.

Art New York and Context run from May 3–8 at Pier 94.

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