For three days or so at the beginning of each March, Armory Week—the closest thing the New York art world has to Fashion Week—brings a stampede of collectors, curators, artists and dealers (including, of course, those from Chelsea, Uptown and Lower East Side galleries) to the city. Thousands of them from all over the world rush in for a confluence of art fairs featuring modern and contemporary art of all stripes. For the general public, Armory Week—which takes its name from The Armory Show—offers the perfect opportunity to discover the latest trends in art. There’s tons to see, and taking it all in can be exhausting, but there’s a fair for everyone’s taste. To help you find one that suits yours, we offer this handy guide of the best things to do during Armory Week.
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Armory Show
Best things to do during Armory Week
The Art Dealers Association of America has been in business since 1962, making this fair the longest-running one in the United States. Naturally, it attracts only the highest-profile galleries from around the country, most of them featuring solo exhibits of the biggest names in modern, postwar and contemporary art. Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th St (artdealers.org). Mar 1–5, Wed-Fri noon-8pm; Sat noon–7pm; Sun noon–5pm. $25.
As its name implies, this fair is devoted to works (drawings, prints, photos, mixed-media) on paper, but not just on paper: The offerings include inventive three-dimensional sculptures and installations made out of paper. As the latter suggests, Art on Paper is dedicated to pushing the envelope on one of art’s oldest mediums. Pier 36 at Clinton St and FDR Drive (thepaperfair.com). Mar 2–5, Thu 6–10pm; Fri, Sat 11am–7pm; Sun noon-6pm. $25, $35 run of the show.
NADA ain’t nothing as far as this fair mounted by The New Art Dealers Alliance is concerned. Begun in Miami in 2002 before launching in New York in 2012, NADA marks its return to Armory Week after several years of coinciding with Frieze New York in May. With 100 galleries on tap, there’s plenty to take in, but while you’re at it, check out the limited-edition t-shirts on sale by a roster of New York’s most notable drag artists, including Lady Bunny and Taboo! Another plus: half of all ticket proceeds are being donated to the ACLU. Skylight Clarkson North, 572 Washington St (212-594-0883, newartdealers.org). Mar 2-5, Thu 4–8pm; Fri, Sat 11am–7pm; Sun 11am–5pm. $20 single day, $40 run of the show.
Kick off Armory Week in style at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual fete celebrating the opening of the Armory show. Sure, it’s expensive, but where else can you find a chance to rub elbows with so many artists, curators, collectors and other art-world habitués? Another bonus: live performances and dj sets. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 11 West 53 St (212-708-9680, moma.org). Mar 1, 9pm–12pm. $150 before Mar 1, $175 after Mar 1 at the door.
Armory Week’s namesake event started life in 1995 as a funky gathering of young downtown dealers at the Gramercy Park Hotel, and has since grown into one of the art world’s biggest events. Previous Armory Shows have featured separate fairs-within-the-fair devoted to 20th-century modern and contemporary art, respectively, but this year, the two are combined into one event showcasing more than 200 galleries from 30 countries, as well as talks, programs, performances and commissioned artworks. Piers 92 & 94, 711 Twelfth Avenue at 55th St (212-645-6440, thearmoryshow.com). Mar 2–5, Thu, Fri noon–8pm; Sat noon-7pm, Sun noon–6pm Sat. $47, $25–$35 students and seniors, $25 Mar 2 & 3, 5–8pm.
The cavernous, darkened venue for this fair is well suited to its program of video installations and single channel presentations mounted by a lively mix of commercial and non-profit galleries. You can also immerse yourself in media projects featuring the latest in augmented and virtual reality technologies. Waterfront New York Tunnel, 269 Eleventh Ave (moving-image.info/new-york). Through Mar 2, Mon–Wed 11am–8pm; Thu 11am-4pm. Free.
Launched in 2011, this scrappy fair sets itself apart by having outside curators select the artists. Also, the shows are mounted in unconventional locations: Previous editions have set up shop in the Cathedral School of Old Saint Patrick’s in Nolita and at the former James A. Farley Post Office across from Madison Square Garden. This year’s event takes up two floors of the former Conde Nast Tower off of Times Square, so in addition to art, visitors will have bird’s-eye views of the Crossroads of the World. 4 Times Square twenty second and twenty third floors (springbreakartshow.com). Mar 1–6, daily 11am–6pm. $15–$50.
SCOPE was the first fair to run concurrently with The Armory Show (in 2000), so in a sense, you can thank it for starting the whole Armory Week business. SCOPE features emerging artists and a “Breeder Program” which invites brand-new galleries to make their art-fair debut. Metropolitan Pavillion, 125 W 18th St (scope-art.com). Mar 3–5, Fri, Sat 11am–8pm; Sun 11am-7pm. $25, students and seniors $15.
Established in 2005 in Basel, Switzerland, Volta NY bills itself as the fair “by galleries, for galleries” and focuses exclusively on solo artist presentations. Unlike typical trade shows, projects are mounted in a way that make you feel like you’re conducting a studio visit—just like a dealer or collector would. This year’s edition brings together 96 exhibitors from 43 cities across five continents. Pier 90, W 50th St at Twelfth Avenue (ny.voltashow.com). Mar 1–5, Wed 7–10pm; Thu–Sat noon–8pm; Sun noon–5. $25, $20 students, $60 run of the show.