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Nicole Berry Previews The Armory Show 2019

The Armory Show celebrates 25 years this week, taking over Pier 90, 92, and 94. Bringing together 194 galleries from 33 countries, it is open March 7—10 with a VIP preview on Wednesday, March 6.

The fair boasts a whopping 59 new and first-time exhibitors, alongside many returning galleries, including a few that were at the very first edition at the Gramercy Park Hotel303 Gallery, Tanya Bonakdar, Galerie Krinzinger, and Zeno X Gallery.

Whitewall asked Executive Director Nicole Berry about what to expect from this milestone edition.

WHITEWALL: This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Armory Show. How will the milestone be celebrated?

NICOLE BERRY: To mark our anniversary, we wanted to do something that would reflect the fair’s history and founders, while also looking forward to the future of the fair. It is for this reason that we are introducing The Gramercy International Prize, a new, yearly initiative that supports the advancement of young New York galleries with strong programs who have not previously participated in The Armory Show.

A jury of individuals, that were integral to the fair’s early history, will award a gallery with a free booth at the fair, thus providing a platform for experimentation and discovery with minimal financial risk. This was the most meaningful way we thought to continue the spirit of the Gramercy years, while also making a difference to the rising generation of pioneering gallerists. The selected gallery’s booth will be located on Pier 94 within a special section devoted to our 25th Anniversary.

There, in partnership with Galerie Nagel Draxler, we will present early works of Andrea Fraser and Renee Green that are still incredibly relevant today. Showing two key artists that represent what the programs of Pat Hearn Gallery and American Fine Arts (run by Colin de Land) stood for seemed like a fitting tribute, and a way to introduce their vision to a new generation and audience.

WW: Will we see representation from any new countries or cities this year?

NB: Yes, Selma Feriani Gallery from Sidi Bou Said will be the fair’s first exhibitor from Tunisia. At the other end of the spectrum, Tif Sigrids will be the fair’s first gallery from Athens, Georgia. In total, 33 countries will be represented at the fair. Other galleries that we are excited to welcome from outside of North America and Europe are STPI (Singapore), DAG (New Dehli), SMAC Art Gallery (Cape Town), Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore), and Barro (Buenos Aires).

WW: Who are some of the emerging galleries we should keep an eye out for?

NB: Both Presents, the section with galleries no more than ten years old, and Focus, the section devoted to solo- and dual-artist presentations that is this year curated by Lauren Haynes, are great places to find new discoveries. Zurich-based Mitchell Anderson will have his first solo presentation in New York with Maria Bernheim, presenting multi-media works that explore the lingering history of the found object and image. Charlie James Gallery will present a series of collage works by Sadie Barnette that incorporate the FBI files of her father, Rodney Barnette, founder of the Compton, CA, chapter of the Black Panther Party.

At Antoine Levi, a new exhibitor from Paris, visitors will find a pairing of recent paintings by Louis Fratino with an installation by Zoe Williams. In Lauren Hayne’s Focus section, the presentations will explore identity through figuration. Here,  I’m really looking forward to seeing Arjan Martins at A Gentil Carioca, Zak Ove at Lawrie Shabibi, and a rediscovery of Miriam Shapiro’s work at Eric Firestone.

WW: Can you share some of the commissioned work and installation highlights that will be a part of Platform, curated by Sally Tallant?

NB: I am very excited to see Sally’s Platform section come to life. The works organized by Sally collectively offer alternative narratives and new possible worlds in the face of rising geopolitical uncertainty. Her section will feature nine site-responsive projects, including many artworks made specifically for the fair by Ryan Gander, Tania Candiani, Iris Hausler, and Xaviera Simmons.

Jessica Stockholder, an artist who showed at American Fine Arts with Colin de Land in the 1990s, will create new works from her Assists series. Pascale Martine Tayou’s Town Square commission, a monumental hanging sculpture, made from a metal frame covered with colorful plastic bags, placed at the center of the Town Square on Pier 94, will not only be visually striking, but also bring into sharp focus environmental issues of ecology, consumption and waste.

Andreas Angelidakis will stage a provocative piece that challenges the market by redistributing objects and value through a ‘donation drive’ to local schools, and Siah Armajani, who has a contemporaneous exhibition at the Met, will respond with thoughtful urgency to the contemporary migrant crisis in his work Seven Rooms of Hospitality. Two artists, Tania Candiani and Super Taus, an alter ego of Taus Makhacheva, will both present performative works.

WW: Outside the fair, what are you looking forward to seeing in New York in March?

NB: This year, I am really looking forwarding to seeing The Bronx Museum’s survey of peter campus, “video ergo sum,” the first survey of his work to be shown in the United States.  Select works from campus’ career, from 1971 to present, will be on view at the fair at Cristin Tierney Gallery’s booth.

The Times Square Alliance will also be showing work by Peter in its Midnight Moments series during the week of The Armory Show. Another event I am looking forward to is Public Art Fund’s debut of Mark Manders’s largest single cast bronze sculpture to date. Tilted Head was made specifically for Doris C. Freedman Plaza and stands more than thirteen feet tall. Mark’s work will also be represented at the fair at both Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Zeno X Gallery.

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