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Strong sales and a celebratory mood mark centennial edition of New York's largest art fair
A woman looks at a fully functional urinal by artist Andrew Ohanesian titled "Urinal" during the press preview at the 2013 Armory Show, one of the world's top art events featuring the most influential artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries, at Pier 92 and 94 in New York March 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Armory Show, New York’s leading fair for contemporary and modern art, closed its centennial-themed edition on Sunday, March 10th. The fair, which is now in its 15th year, was inaugurated on Wednesday at a press conference introduced by Mayor Bloomberg and welcomed more than 60,000 visitors during its five day run. Over 210 carefully selected galleries from more than 30 countries, including leading international dealers such as David Zwirner, Gagosian Gallery, Lisson Gallery, Marianne Boesky Gallery, and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, exhibited alongside emerging newcomers. Many galleries remarked on strong sales, and attendance from key collectors and institutions from the United States and beyond.

Commenting on New York’s importance as a major hub for the international art market, and The Armory Show’s lead role in the city’s cultural calendar, Mayor Bloomberg noted, “New York City is the center of the modern art world, and the arts have never been stronger or more vibrant here. Every year, this week is one of the most exciting, and most important, on the cultural calendar. Thousands of artists, collectors, curators, and art lovers flock to New York City to take advantage of this week’s happenings, and that’s good news for the city’s tourism industry and our economy.”

Noah Horowitz, Executive Director of The Armory Show, added, “The 2013 edition of the fair was our strongest in years with a fluid layout that complemented well-considered presentations and remarkable works of art. Local, national, and international collectors were out in force emphasizing the strength of the art market with New York as its center. Additionally, we are proud to have celebrated the centennial of our namesake, The Armory Show of 1913, through programming and special projects commemorating the legacy of the avant-garde in the United States.”

Deborah Harris, Managing Director, The Armory Show - Modern commented, “This year's edition was further refined with an improved floor plan on Pier 92. Galleries placed important work with new and established collectors, with continued interest in American, German and Italian works from the 60's, 70's and even 80's. What we have seen throughout the duration of the show are clear signs that the market remains buoyant for fresh works of high quality.”

Exhibitors reported consistently strong sales, further asserting New York’s position at the core of the international art market. Once again the fair pulled in major US and internationally-based museum groups including The Art Institute of Chicago; The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; Miami Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art/LACMA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; American and International Patrons of the Pinakothek, Munich; Rijksakademie voor beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Sean Kelly of New York said, “We are really happy and have done very well, as we always do at the Armory. This fair is very much alive, I’ve spoken to a lot of people and they are very impressed with what has happened. The Armory is set on a great course for next year.”

Glenn Scott Wright, Director of Victoria Miro Gallery, London, said “Again, The Armory has been a great experience for us with strong sales across all of our artists. The fair gave us the chance to re-connect with our clients and make new contacts with private collectors and institutions alike.”

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers, co-owners of Sprüth Magers Berlin London added, “Just like last year, we've had a really great experience at the fair. It has been an extremely busy couple of days and we have sold works by George Condo, Cyprien Gaillard, Barbara Kruger, Sterling Ruby, Alexandre Singh and Rosemarie Trockel. The US is an important market for the gallery and the fair provides the perfect opportunity for us to meet new collectors from the region.”

Ales Ortuzar, Director at David Zwirner, commenting on Diana Thater’s solo presentation, said, "Diana Thater had a great time at the fair, her first one. With her solo presentation, she felt welcome by the fair organizers and got to spend significant time with collectors, curators, and the press. Front and center."

Los Angeles-based Michael Kohn commented, “The Armory Show this year has been more successful than ever – asides from the sales, which have been strong, it’s also about promoting our artists to a wider audience and gaining critical credibility. All of that is happening here.”

David Fitzgerald of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin added, “Sales were consistent on every day of the fair, which is a real strength to the Armory. The quality of the fair has improved, it’s strong throughout and we are delighted to be here.”

Nieck de Brujn of Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam said, “We sold out our booth of young Dutch painter Frank Ammerlaan within the first hour of the VIP opening day. This was an incredible fair for us and under the new management there is a palpable change and we feel like welcome guests in this great city. We look forward to returning again in 2014.”

Barrak Alzaid, director of Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai said "The Armory has offered us a platform to showcase some of the leading artists coming out of the region. We developed our concept in collaboration with our artists to create dynamic platform that responds to the spirit of the fair. In 1938 Marcel Duchamp presented works in total darkness at an exhibition of Surrealists, and twenty five years earlier jumpstarted a new wave of American art. At the centennial edition of the fair we are proud to have presented a booth concept in the spirit of this innovative sensibility."

Jessica Silverman, director of Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, represented in the Focus Section, said “We had a great Armory fair and are pleased that New York collectors had no trouble identifying the intelligence of the work of Desiree Holman. We placed works with new and previously supportive collectors including a major corporate collection. A commissioned work has also been confirmed for a prominent New York collector.”

Joerg Paal, director of Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich, says “We were really pleased with the increased number of collectors, the demand for works under $100,000 bear witness to the presence of a young collector base.”

Kate Stevens of HackelBury Fine Art, London says “We've been absolutely delighted with the fair this year, which has been a great success for us from the opening night onwards. We featured several unique pieces from Doug & Mike Starn, seen for the first time here. Four of those have sold to date, including a monumental 12ft x 8ft piece, and we now have a waiting list for the next available works.”

New York based Hollis Taggart, President of Hollis Taggart Galleries says, “This year's Armory Show has been a tremendous success, right from the opening bell. We have experienced unprecedented attendance, active sales, and great interest in all of the works displayed in the booth. We would give this year's show an A+ for quality, organization, and success across a wide spectrum of art works from historical to contemporary.”

This year the fair celebrated the centennial of its namesake, the original Armory Show of 1913, widely credited with introducing the European avant-garde to the United States. Armory Focus: USA, the fair’s specially curated section which this year shifted its gaze inwards to the USA, paid homage to the shocking and revolutionary impact of the 1913 exhibition. Curated by Eric Shiner, Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, it showcased an exciting selection of 17 established and emerging galleries, providing surprising insight and commentary on contemporary practice in America.

Liz Magic Laser was The Armory Commissioned Artist of the 2013 edition. Known for her participatory and performative works, Laser turned interactive market research strategy into a work of art, staging a series of focus groups composed of collectors, curators, art professionals and journalists, to determine the production of two limited edition artworks and paraphernalia associated with her Armory Show Commission. The proceeds of the limited edition artworks will benefit the Museum of Modern Art and the Pat Hearn & Colin de Land Cancer Foundation. As part of the project, Laser exhibited a solo-presentation in the booth of Armory Focus: USA exhibitor Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, highlighting her strategic take on the artist commission.

The fair’s Open Forum, curated by Anne Barlow, Executive Director of Art in General, featured a series of talks inspired by, and expanding upon Armory Focus: USA, highlighting artistic practices across America, and the history and legacy of the ground-breaking original Armory Show of 1913.

Of the 2013 talks, Daniel Birnbaum, Director of Sweden’s Moderna Museet said, “it was a pleasure to take part in this rich program of talks. Our discussion, Posterity will have a word to say, was a fascinating debate on the context of today’s rapidly evolving art market. Marcel Duchamp’s break from the politics of exchange and transaction is more relevant than ever. To pursue questions of what the avant-garde looks like now versus what it meant to participate in the forefront of culture 100 years ago alongside fellow-panelists Carlos Basualdo, Paul Chan, Molly Nesbit and moderator Jan Ċman was a privilege. To do so within the space of an actual art fair reflects The Armory Show’s careful willingness to reckon with what it means to serve as a commercial platform for the arts."

The Armory Show’s online partner, Artsy, gave collectors and art-lovers alike a preview of over 2,700 works on show at the fair. With over 90,000 unique visitors to the site from over 160 countries around the world, the site confirmed the quality of this year’s fair prior to opening, as well as creating the possibility of new contacts and connections for Armory exhibitors.

A new partnership was launched this year with the Hudson River Park, a 550-acre riverside park and estuarine sanctuary located on the West Side of Manhattan between Battery Park and West 59th Street. Response to The Armory Show’s off-site public sculpture, I NEED TO START SEEING A THERAPIST, 2013, by Cary Leibowitz (Candyass) was strong, including the following comment by Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic of New York Magazine: “The PERFECT sculpture to greet all those giant cruise ships coming into New York. Think of it as our HOLLYWOOD sign. Could make it permanent. Way to go Cary Leibowitz…”

The fair’s ever-popular VIP program was this year extended to a new group of prominent collectors, having joined the newly-formed Centennial Committee. The 2013 VIP program showed the strength of The Armory Show’s connection to its host city, giving access to New York’s finest cultural assets from museum programming to vital philanthropic work and private collections, furthering the connections and reach of participating dealers and visiting collectors alike. Collector and Centennial Committee member Michael Hort, added, “It was an excellent fair, the quality of galleries was just what we like to collect. We appreciated the more spacious layout and the VIP hour, which allowed you to have conversations. What more can I say, it was a great fair!”

The Armoy Show 2014 will take place March 6 - 9, with a preview for invited guests taking place on Wednesday, March 5.

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