New York – There was a shared consensus among the crowd at this year’s Armory Show in New York, the first since Frieze purchased the fare over the summer. Firstly, it was huge. Secondly, it was very good.
Two hundred and twenty-five galleries from almost every continent filled the Javits Centre in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards with a surprising abundance of emerging artists. Galleries were hedging their bets on new, technically talented works with narrative-driven compositions which did not disappoint. With Art Week, Fashion Week, and the US Open occurring at the same time, the culturally inclined of New York were forced to spend their time wisely.
And whilst the traditional art fair is hardly the sexiest of the three (usually having the most difficulty to compete in such a packed line-up for early September), this year’s Armory Show felt like a scrappy underdog which invited an excited crowd to an otherwise industry-centred event. The crowd was made up of art world aficionados and first-timers, apathetic art gallerists and over-eager private dealers. Emerging artists stood proudly next to their work, beaming as they experienced, for one brief moment, their lifelong dream of having a New Yorker with a trust fund call them a genius. And a scene kid who had scored a free ticket from a friend sat and ate a horribly priced panini whilst struggling to narrow down the works he had seen to a list of just ten favourites (me). It is remarkable to see, in real-time, the cynicism and wonder of the New York art community in one place. The inaccessible art world becomes smaller and more human.
I have selected below ten works that I loved. If they’re on this list, it means they stood out in their daringness with form, advancements in technical finesse, and seamless integration with narrative and composition.
Written by Saam Niami. Image credit to the artist and their gallery. Photography by Zaal Dormishian.