The 2011 Armory Show: Fresher Content, Notable Sales and Record Attendance
The Armory Show on Pier 92 & 94 closed March 6th with a record breaking attendance of nearly 65,000 art lovers. With extraordinary sales and a culmination of rich programming featuring private collection and studio tours, private museum previews, receptions at consulates and extensive neighborhood-focused ‘nights’ as part of our Armory Circle and Armory Arts Week events, the 13th edition of the fair exceeded expectations and captivated both the public and the press.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened The Armory Show at Wednesday’s Press Conference and noted that this special week, the weeklong celebration of New York’s cultural vibrancy, marks the city as an international art destination in March. Art world luminaries, world renowned collectors, top museum curators, artists and the international press crushed onto Pier 92 & 94 on opening day where, for the third successful year in a row, Pier 94 highlighted the very best in new art while Pier 92 exhibited modern masterpieces from the 20th century. Museums were out in full-force buying from New York, European and Latin American exhibitors in both Piers, in addition to corporate curators from Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank to UniCredit Bank, not to mention the notable private collectors cruising the aisles including Don and Mera Rubell, The Zabludowicz Collection, Colección Jumex and 21C Museum Foundation.
Paul Morris, Armory Show Founder and Vice President of MMPI Art Shows & Events noted that “The Armory Show was in top form in 2011. Not only did all our exhibitors, in both the Modern and Contemporary section, do very well, the quality of the work on view was phenomenal. The solo showings and curated booths were the crowd favorites, but by all accounts, the fair looked beautiful.”
Crowds poured into both Piers which kept the energy up and spurred atypical buying patterns. Katelijne de Backer, The Armory Show Executive Director remarked that “This year, with record attendance, we saw that both Saturday and Sunday were hugely successful for our exhibitors, mostly because of the crowds. We were delighted to hear that our new dealers from Latin America, and our returning exhibitors, were able to expand their collector base.”
On Pier 94, many dealers reported sold out booths, including Stuart Shave/Modern Art whose solo exhibition of Ansel Krut was the artist’s first showing in New York. New York gallery I-20’s showing of Don Dudley’s hand painted sculptures went for an easy $5,000 each, with The Whitney Museum of American Art picking up seven. Geneva based Faye Fleming’s solo showing of artist Tim Braden’s The Collection nearly sold out as well. By the end of the first day, Lehmann Maupin’s solo show of the celebrated British duo Gilbert & George’s Urethra Postcard Art were priced to sell at about $30,000 each. The gallery had sold 27 of 52 works by 3:30 on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday’s Preview Day Untitled sold 55 of 60 works by Los Angeles based artist Andrew Hahn. Kavi Gupta, the Chicago dealer, sold out his showing of Theaster Gates sculptures
comprised of gutted materials from buildings (prices range from $18,000 - 30,000) with two going straight into museum collections. Also from Chicago, Catherine Edelman sold eleven of Gregory Scott's video works (ranging from $24,000 - $28,000) in addition to pieces by Julie Blackmon and Nan Goldin. Meanwhile, Hauser & Wirth, the New York/Zurich/London power house reported sales by Martin Creed, Louise Bourgeois, and Paul McCarthy, ranging from $25,000-250,000. London’s Simon Lee Gallery sold out of Toby Ziegler’s semi-abstracted canvases ranging in price from $15,000 - $60,000.
Coming off a sold out booth last year, the Lower East Side’s Eleven Rivington did very well again, selling four works by Michael DeLucia, three works by Jacob Kassay and two works by Volker Hueller on the preview day. Other notable sales include David Hammons Untitled (Kool Aid Drawing) for $325,000 to a prominent board member of a New York museum. Ron Mandos from Amsterdam sold 10 drawings by the young Dutch artist Renie Spoelstra to the notable Guerlain collection while Laurent Godin sold a Gérard Traquandi work to the UniCredit Bank collection. He also noted that a Gonzalo Lebrija piece ($15,000) was sold to a private American collection in addition to 25 drawings by artist David Kramer ($3,500 each). London’s White Cube sold an Antony Gormley sculpture ($125,000) as well as pieces by YBA alumn’s Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. BlainSouthern sold everything in their booth including works by Matt Collishaw, Jonas Burgert and Rachel Howard.
On Pier 92, the sales were equally exciting. Blue-chip sales were reported at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore, Vivian Horan Fine Art, James Goodman Gallery and Simon Capstick-Dale Fine Art. Hollis Taggart sold a beautiful Sam Francis canvas ($100-125,000 range) in the first ten minutes and, in equal time, a small Alexander Calder work which had not been on the market for fifty years. Li Lihong’s McDonald’s—Blue Dragon in Clouds, Yellow, whose image graced Art + Auction last month was in high demand as well. Calder fever must have been in the air where at Danese, a rare small standing mobile by Calder was sold on the first day as well as a sculpture by Deborah Butterfield and a wall piece of Craig Kauffman. Spanierman Modern’s solo retrospective of Dan Christensen (canvases priced from $35,000 to $250,000) was a crowd pleaser with both the press and collectors. Sicardi placed seven of their master-works, ranging from Gego, Manuel Espinosa, Geraldo de Barros, Antonio Asis, Luis Tomasello and Marie Orensanz, just to name a few. Meanwhile, Edward Tyler Nahem had a spectacular showing by painter Erik Benson, selling within one hour of the fair opening. In all, five Bensons made their way into private collections and the gallery reported that they also sold a beautiful work by artist Lane Twitchell.
Of course, despite a wildly successful modern and contemporary program - the buzz was Armory Focus: Latin America. Sao Paulo based Casa Triângulo reported great sales with artists Sandra Cinto & Marina Palma, with both works going to American and Latin American collectors. Also from Sao Paulo, Baro Gallery’s showing of Ivan Navarro and Felipe Barbosa enticed collectors enough to scoop up works by both artists. Buenos Aires based Ignacio Liprandi Arte Contemporáneo reported great sales and added that they hope to return next year to add onto their success. Isabel Aninat from Santiago, whose beautiful photographs by Denise Lira-Ratinoff almost all sold while Gonzalez y Gonzalez, also from Chile, reported great sales.
The art stars were out all weekend long with the likes of Sofia Coppola, Charles Schwab, Dean Valentine, Marty Margulies, Phoenix rocker Thomas Mars and U2’s guitar man The Edge gracing the walkways. Toby McGuire was caught lounging in the Pier 94 Armory Circle lounge, while Robert De Niro make a quick appearance on Saturday to see the work of his father, Robert De Niro Sr. on view at DC Moore in Pier 92.
This year’s OPEN FORUM included many leading artworld figures whose talks were often standing-room only. In Conversation featured such luminaries as New Museum Director of Special Projects and Curator at Large Richard Flood and the 2011 Armory Show commissioned artist Gabriel Kuri; Artist Theaster Gates, Assistant Curator, Studio Museum of Harlem Naomi Beckwith and Chief Curator of Contemporary Art, LACMA Franklin Sirmans; Colección Jumex Curator Victor Zamudio-Taylor and Artist Ivan Navarro. Topics included: How Have International Initiatives Affected Contemporary Middle Eastern Art? with Ahmed Alsoudani, Afruz Amighi and Ahmed Mater and Founder of Art Middle East Nazy Nazhand and Biennials As Barometers of Social Transformation? Dublin Contemporary 2011: Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance with DC2011 artists and curators Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Faune.
Across Pier 92 & 94 exhibitors were ecstatic with the turnout and better than expected sales. Nicholas Olney of the Paul Kasmin Gallery, whose Armory Fence by Ivan Navarro stole the show, said that “we were very pleased with the fair this year, galleries brought diverse and high quality works to the exhibition. The attendance was very good and business was great for us. Ivan came to us with a very clear and original idea, and we couldn’t be happier with how the project came together and with the enthusiastic response it has received.”
Both Piers were filled to capacity on Saturday and a very rainy Sunday which soared attendance to record setting numbers. These included hundreds of visitors from over 80 museum groups including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Museum, American Patrons of Tate, Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Hamburger Kunsthalle, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Amon Carter Museum, Asia Society, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Dallas Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Dia Art Foundation, High Museum of Art, Independent Curators International, International Center of Photography, Kimbell Art Museum, Le Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Museo de Arte de Ponce, American Folk Art Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Those who attended the Preview and Benefit Party at The Museum of Modern Art were met with record attendance (1,600) and hoards of night owls swaying to the guitar of Brit Pop singer songwriter Kate Nash. The night raised almost a quarter of a million dollars towards the acquisition fund for exhibition programming at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1.