Labor Day Weekend may be the last opportunity to make the most of the dwindling summer, but I’m going to use those three precious days to catch up on my sleep, do some deep stretches, and replace the batteries of my Fitbit in preparation for two jam-packed weeks of art fairs in New York City. Anchoring the art extravaganza is The Armory Show, a fixture of the American fine arts market, flanked by a variety of satellite fairs beginning on Labor Day itself and continuing through September 24. Without further ado, here is the low-down on the art fairs around the city this September, plus a handy map to guide you on your trek.
The Armory Show
Like a planet with many moons, The Armory Show is omnipotent if not intimidating, with a gravitational pull that attracts a worldwide audience. This year, it presents 200 galleries spanning 30 countries. Special programs and sections include galleries 10 years old or younger in the Presents area, works by a single artist in the Solo sector, and the Platform display located at the center of the fair. The 50-year-old Manhattan nonprofit Artists Space was selected for the Armory Spotlight, a program that provides a complimentary booth to a New York City institution
In addition, the Armory includes off-site public art across the city, and organized extended evening hours across dozens of galleries in Lower Manhattan during the Armory Show Gallery Night on Friday, September 8.
- Use code HYPER23 for 25% off general admission tickets
- Get $80 Run of Show passes with the code HYPERROS
The Armory Show (thearmoryshow.com)
Javits Center (429 Eleventh Avenue, Midtown West, Manhattan)
Spring Break Art Show
Existing at the center of the triple Venn diagram of kitschy, quirky, and DIY, the Spring Break Art Show is an unpretentious, whimsical block party filled with friendly energy and eccentric works. For its 12th iteration, Spring Break is returning to the two black-and-white checkered floors that formerly housed the Ralph Lauren headquarters, converting the Madison Avenue offices and cubicles into a lucid-dream-like maze of wallpapered liminal spaces filled with artwork made from every conceivable material. This year’s theme is “Wild Card,” inviting all the curators to reflect on and subvert Spring Break’s previous 11 themes through exhibitions infused with new talent and returning artists alike.
Spring Break Art Show (springbreakartshow.com)
625 Madison Avenue, Floors 10 and 11 (Midtown East, Manhattan)
Art on Paper
For its ninth edition, Art on Paper will continue to push dimensional boundaries, this time also through workshops, paper-derived 3D works, and the inclusion of a mini art book fair curated by the Center for Book Arts. That’s in addition to the revival of the curated international Flat Files section.
- Use code hyperallergic to get 50% off tickets
Art on Paper (thepaperfair.com)
Pier 36 (299 South Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Independent 20th Century
Independent 20th Century, an offshoot of Independent New York, is returning for a second edition with 33 galleries and arts nonprofits. Visitors can look forward to Diane Rosenstein Gallery’s showcase of Trinidad and Tobago-based artist Kenwyn Crichlow and Almine Rech’s solo presentation of the late French lyrical abstractionist Jean Miotte.
Independent 20th Century (independenthq.com)
Battery Maritime Building at Cipriani South Street (10 South Street, Financial District, Manhattan)
Photofairs New York
Debuting at the Javits Center alongside The Armory Show is Photofairs New York, a fresh new fair dedicated to photo-based work, digital art, and new media. Photofairs is set to hit the ground running with a lineup of nearly 60 domestic and international exhibitors, including digital art trends explored through virtual reality and NFT endeavors.
- Use code hyperallergic20 to get 20% off tickets
Photofairs New York (photofairs.org)
Javits Center (429 Eleventh Avenue, Midtown West, Manhattan)
Clio Art Fair
A self-proclaimed “anti-fair,” Clio Art Fair takes an artist-first and inclusive approach. Clio has grown significantly as an alternative to hyper-commercialized art fairs in the last 15 years, giving artists full agency over how their work is presented and sold in their allotted spaces without big-wig gallery booths taking up all the air in the room. To really drive the point home, this year includes a curated section called Losing Track of the Lost, presenting the work of four artists who analyze societal indifference to rising housing insecurity and homelessness.
Clio Art Fair (clioartfair.com)
Five Five Zero (550 West 29th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
If the Barbie movie left you craving more fervent celebrations of woman-focused artistry, then your first stop should be Salon Zürcher. Free for all visitors, the East Village’s Zürcher Gallery presents The 11 Women of Spirit, Part 8 for its 29th fair iteration. In its continued exploration of women’s overshadowed intellect, the Bleecker Street space invites us to consider the works of 11 emerging and mid-career women artists through its “intimate alternative” to the commercial giants that dominate NYC’s art fair season. Salon Zürcher connects collectors directly to the featured artists, including but not limited to Elizabeth Bisbing, whose gawky gouache collages embody the constraints and comforts of domesticity, and Margie Neuhaus, whose mixed-media practice is driven by tracings and process-based investigation.
Salon Zürcher (galeriezurcher.com)
Zürcher Gallery (33 Bleecker Street, East Village, Manhattan)
Later in September
Affordable Art Fair
Either the lone straggler or the strategic outlier in terms of timing, the Affordable Art Fair presents itself as the perfect environment for habitual art collectors in its diverse offerings, and for first-time buyers in its accessibility. With over 400 exhibitors prices range from $100 to $12,000.
Affordable Art Fair (affordableartfair.com)
Metropolitan Pavillion (125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Rehearsal Art Book Fair
Hot off the press, the new Rehearsal Art Book Fair is a two-day ordeal underscoring the importance of independent art and literary publishing within the contexts of censorship and capitalism. This fair was organized by the founders of two independent bookstores, Shisi Huang of Bungee Space and Jiaoyang Li of Accent Sisters, and takes place in the bathhouse-turned-classrooms and theater space of the University Settlement — the first settlement movement house in the country that continues to provide supportive services for low-income and immigrant workers in the Lower East Side. Alongside nearly 50 local, domestic, and international participants, the Rehearsal Art Book Fair is hosting an open-mic session geared towards editors, publishers, and anyone working in books on opening night, and a special exhibition called Sam iz Dat showcasing 200 titles from mainland Chinese underground publications. Note that the fair also strongly encourages visitors to mask up while indoors.
Rehearsal Art Book Fair (rehearsalartbookfair.org)
University Settlement (184 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Superfine Art Fair
Founded in 2015, Superfine Art Fair’s Flatiron iteration includes 120 artists from around the world with 90% of available work priced between $100 and $3,000. Superfine encourages artists to connect directly with collectors onsite, stating that it doesn’t take any commission on sold works, and even offers free packaging on purchases. The fair’s four-day stretch is full of music, food and drinks, and educational programming on top of its direct artist-to-buyer experience. NYC students and major museum members can take advantage of free entry to the fair on Friday, September 15, from 3pm to 6pm.
Superfine Art Fair (superfine.world)
Iron 23 (29 West 23rd Street, Flatiron District, Manhattan)