Six pieces not to miss at the 2014 Armory Show

Get schooled on the megafair’s contemporary, modern and Chinese art by TONY art editor Howard Halle

In case you've been too busy binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix to notice, Armory Arts Week is here, led as usual by its namesake fair, which—despite competition from the Frieze New York in May—remains a major event on the art-world calendar. If you're new to the fair, or haven't been there in a long time, you might be thinking, Maybe I should go. Well, there are no maybes about it! It's definitely worth the visit, and to help you plan ahead, allow us to provide this basic primer.

As has been the case in recent years, the Armory Show 2014 is divided into Modern and Contemporary sections situated next to each other at Piers 92 and 94 along the Hudson River between 52nd and 54th Streets. Furthermore, the Contemporary wing of the fair is hosting a specially curated showcase of the latest art from China.

Titled "Focus: China," it features work running the gamut from ink drawings to installations. Keep on the lookout for Wang Luyan's punchy, graphic acrylic canvases, featuring wristwatches opened to reveal gears painted as the flags of various countries around the work—a neat metaphor for the machinations of globalism. Just as notable is Jin Feng's curious pantheon of "socialist leaders" from Marx to Mao. Instead of the usual heroic portrayal of these figures, they're rendered as if they’d been painted on pieces of paper that had been crumpled and then flattened out—a wry comment on how the People's Republic has abandoned its founding principles in all but name only.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Armory Show

Wang Luyan, W Middle East Watch D12-02, 2012

Pékin Fine Arts

Jin Feng, The Socialist Leaders, 2013

Tianrenheyi Art Center

Meanwhile, the rest of the Contemporary is packed with galleries as usual, with 209 exhibitors from every corner of the globe. One of the standouts is African Artist Romuald Hazoumè, whose seemingly fanciful tribal masks made of discarded gasoline containers speak to the environmental depredation of his native Benin. And if you're in the market for a mini-me version of yourself, German artist Karin Sander is offering buyers a chance to commission a 3D body scan portrait, translated into a 1:5 scale model created with a 3D printer. Please note: this will cost you a lot more than you're average action figure.

Romuald Hazoumè, Bodjou-­Bodjou, 2013

October Gallery

Karin Sander, Personen 1:5, 2013

Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

If political back stories and gee-wiz technology aren’t your thing, check out the Modern section, which hosts historical works from the 20th century. Here, the emphasis in on art’s eternal verities, in both abstract form and as figurative works of varying stripe, from Marsden Hartley's manly prewar beachgoer, to a proto-Modern folk character by the incomparable outsider artist, Bill Traylor.

Marsden Hartley, The Lifeguard, about 1940

Hirschl & Adler Modern

Bill Traylor, Untitled (Man Pointing Up), circa. 1939-1942

Ricco/Maresca Gallery

So by all means, do go to the Armory Show. Because there's something for everyone, if you know where to look.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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