The Best Booths at the Armory Show, Where Under-Recognized Giants and Rising Stars Collide
September 8, 2023 - Alex Greenberger for ARTnews
There is no shortage of art to see in New York this week, but the big event most will attend is the Armory Show, the sprawling art fair that has once again touched down at the Javits Center. In 2021, when the fair first relocated there, a pandemic-driven anxiety accompanied the proceedings. Now, the mood is lighter, and the art is, too.
Many of the 225-plus galleries exhibiting here have trotted out paintings and sculptures with the hope of currying favor with collectors, advisers, and other dealers. The fair is, after all, a market event whose art is meant for selling first, appreciation second. But the offerings this year thankfully skew slightly more ambitious than usual, with under-recognized artists deserving more attention and difficult conceptual artwork in need of thoughtful viewing.
Curator Candice Hopkins’s “Focus” section, for single- and two-person presentations, is this fair’s high point. Many galleries in it are spotlighting Indigenous and First Nation artists; some of them also appear in Hopkins’s exhibition “Indian Theater” at Bard College upstate. Meanwhile, the “Presents” section, for younger galleries, is also strong.
How best to approach this fair’s multitude of booths? Below are 10 of the finest ones.
Women of Abstract Expressionism at Berry Campbell
The masculinist narrative around Abstract Expressionism has gradually imploded in the past few decades, thanks to the labor of feminist art historians who have upheld artists like Joan Mitchell, Janet Sobel, and Lee Krasner. There’s still much more work to be done, however, and Berry Campbell’s booth showcases how many more female Abstract Expressionists are still in need of greater recognition.
Might a Perle Fine retrospective be in order? It would certainly seem so, based on one terrific canvas composed of glyphs set interrupting neat lines. Or how about an Alice Baber survey? That, too, seems appealing, based on the deliciously titled 1966 painting The Green Red, a Sonia Delaunay–like arrangement of red, orange, and yellow discs refracted through glimmers of emerald green. (More of Baber’s rapturous work can also be found at Luxembourg & Co.’s Independent 20th Century booth.) A host of other treasures, by Bernice Bing, Lynne Drexler, and Grace Hartigan, also hang here.
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