Saturday, December 19, 2009

The New York Armory Shows Imperiled, While Other Fairs Adjust. From the New York Times.

On Friday, December 18, 2009 the New York Times reported that another “Armory Show Imperiled, While Other Fairs Adjust.” The annual Works on Paper fair, which was to take place at the Park Avenue Armory in February, is the latest victim of the recession, Samford L. Smith, the veteran fair organizer who started the show in 1988, has postponed it this year.”

Mr. Smith said, “I simply couldn’t get the quality or the quantity of dealers. It’s the economy, and it’s the enormous explosion of fairs all over the world.”

However, in another antique and modern art venue in Miami Beach this month, Art Basel Miami Beach, dealers said they noticed that the market had picked up, at least for contemporary are. “But fair organizers, along with dealers specializing in everything from old masters to Impressionist and Modern art, have a more sober story to tell.”

“For instance, Mr. Smith said, dealers are short of cash these days and unable to replenish their inventories. Another issue at the armory is the cost of space. The Park Avenue Conservancy formally took over management of the building, a crenelated (sic) red brick landmark between 66th and 67th Streets, from New York State in December 2007, and it has increased the rent. The cost is now $30,000 a day, three times what it once was.”

Another armory show, the high-end International Fine Art Fair, which is timed to coincide with the Man impressionist and Modern art auctions in New York, may also be canceled. ‘We are currently inconsultation with the exhibitors,’ said Magda Grigorian, a spokeswoman for that event’s organizer, Haughton International Art and Antique fairs, ‘and no final decision has yet been made.”

Still on schedule, however, is the Art Dealers Association of America’s annual Art Show of postwar and contemporary art. But rather than taking place in February, the show will be held March 3 through 7, timed to the Amory Show (March 4-7), which despite its name is held at Piers 92 and 94, at 12 Avenue and 55th Street, in Clinton.

“I’m a big believer that more is more,’ said Lucy Mitchell Inness, president of the Art Dealers Association of America. “Having critical mass creates a buzz, and that’s a good thing.”

The Art Show will feature 70 dealers, the same as last year. The Armory Show, however, will expand, with 267 galleries, 41 more than last year. But some dealers have been asking for smaller booths, Katelijne De Backer, director of that event, said.

This year the show will introduce Armory Focus, a section feathring a city or community that is especially vibrant. The inaugural section will center on Berlin, with 21 dealers from there. “You have to keep changing to stay the same,: Ms. De Backer Said.

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