ART FAIR / Success and more stable sales at New York’s Armory Show than the venue
“This is New York’s fair and New York really shows up for it”, Nicole Berry, the director of the fair, says. The city also “showed up” for the fair, despite Armory’s eleventh-hour relocation. With just days before the opening of both on 6 March, dangerous structural issues at Armory’s Pier 92 caused a third of its 198 exhibitors to be re-homed at the nearby Pier 90, where Volta was slated to run. The latter was cancelled and its 78 exhibitors were refunded, though many were still left out-of-pocket on shipping and travel costs. Yet within days, a pop-up art fair called Plan B, supported in part by Volta and housed in David Zwirner’s Chelsea gallery and a nearby private space on 21st Street, offered a scrappy alternative for 35 of the down-and-out dealers.
At the former, the up-and-coming Seattle-based dealer Mariane Ibrahim had sold out her booth of glittery, full-figured female silhouettes by Haitian-American artist Florine Demosthene, priced at $7,000 each. “There’s a great range of collectors at this fair that are interested in diversifying their collections,” Ibrahim says.
In keeping with the market trend of the past couple of years, there was also significant interest in works by artists from Africa and it’s diaspora. Representatives of several museums rushed to Los Angeles-based Kohn Gallery’s booth to bid on Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s Dawn Embrace (2019), which sold for an undisclosed amount to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, while another of the young painter’s works went to ICA Miami. Roberts Projects sold works by Kehinde Wiley and Jeffrey Gibson ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 and notes “multiple institutional reserves”.