The 2012 Armory Show

New York’s foremost and largest art fair, which is devoted to the most important art of the 20th and 21st centuries once again the show returned to Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River for a five day run. On Pier 92 with 71 galleries from nine countries, visiters found modern and secondary market material, while Pier 94, with 157 exhibitors from 30 countries, continued to be the venue to premiere new works by living artists.  

The 2012 Armory Show greatly benefited from new floor plans and architectural enhancements designed by Brooklyn based architects Bade Stageberg Cox. Significant changes were made to the floor layouts of the Pier 92 & 94 spaces. 15 new lounges, wider aisles, larger booths and a Pommery champagne bar, which quickly became the location to gather at the center of the fair made the five day event much more enjoyable for its visitoers. The gallery spaces were balanced with lounges that served as both a visual respite from all the art and as sites for impromptu performances.

Armory Focus

The 2012’s 3rd edition of Armory Focus focused on Nordic art, with 19 of the most exciting galleries from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland participating.
Armory Focus is an invitation-only component of The Armory Show. Armory Focus: The Nordic Countries included works by leading Nordic artists, talks and performances, along with a section of seemingly endless art freebies. The diversity of contemporary art on view was great showcasing a wide selection of artists. Like elsewhere, sales from this section were also strong. The Nordic Focus spread into most  other aspects of the fair.

Armory Film and Armory Performance

In addition, the 2012 the Armory Show inaugurated two new programming initiatives: Armory Film and Armory Performance. Curated by the Moving Image Fair, Armory Film featured an international selection of contemporary video and experimental films.  The inaugural edition of Armory Performance debuted and featured artists who were active in the Nordic Region as well as in the United States.

This year’s OPEN FORUM talk series presented discussions between New York and Nordic based artists, art historians, curators, critics, directors and dealers. Amanda Parmer of The Whitney Independent Study Program curated the OPEN FORUM talk series.

VIP Previews for The Armory Show – Modern

The previews for The Armory Show – Modern opened for VIPs (estimated at about 11,500) at noon on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad,  Glenn Fuhrman, co-founder of MSD Capital LP, and Don B. Marron, chairman of Lightyear Capital LLC are among those VIPs expected to attend the exclusive VIP hour, which allows collectors to shop without having to be inconvenienced by just regular visitors. 

The sales that were generated during the VIP preview set the tone for the rest of the Amory Show. The stunning 40-foot-long light sculpture by Ragnar Kjartansson, which spells out “Scandinavian Pain" in hot-pink neon tubing was acquired by Moderna Museet a Swedish contemporary-art museum, from the i8 gallery on the eve of the fair’s opening. Within the first thirty minutes of the VIP opening, the three large-scale honeycomb panels, which made up the site-specific installation Michael Riedel created for the David Zwirner (New York) booth were sold to collectors from the United States, Europe and South America. Each panel cost $50,000. The Lisson Gallery (London) sold a number of pieces to collectors including Ryan Gander’s sculpture- Fortune on a String, a Julian Opie inkjet on canvas, Maria 4 (2011a Jason Martin’s oil on aluminum called Boadicea (2011), among others. The Victoria Miro Gallery from London sold all five of the Yayoi Kusama paintings on display. The gallery also reported that there were high levels of museum interest at the show which centered on the artists: Isaac Julien Chris Ofili, Stan Douglas and Alice Neel. Pilar Corrias (London) sold multiple works by Philippe Parreno, Rirkrit Tiravanija, TUNGA and Tala Madani, all at undisclosed prices. Marianne Boesky Gallery’s (New York) had a nearly sold out booth by the end of the show. The simple fact was that dealers were selling notable works at solid prices, as well as meeting important new contacts and a number of new collectors from the United States Asia, and Europe. Most of the galleries were thrilled with the results.

Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River are located at Twelfth Avenue and Fifty-fifth Street, New York.

The opening-night party was held at the Museum of Modern Art. Hundreds of guests paid for the exclusive access to some of MoMA’s galleries, free cocktails and bar snacks, a performance by the band Neon Indian with its simple, echoey electronic instrumentation and general trip-to-the-beach-on-acid vibe, while having a chance to meet and mingle with the extremely eclectic congregation of artists, and art exhibitors who filled MoMA’s atrium. The opening preview and party for The Armory Show 2012 helps continues the world-renowned exhibition programming of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1.

By all accounts, the 2012 Amory Show was a success.