The NYC Armory Show

Photo by Teddy Wolff

By Erica Cardenas

Every year there are hundred’s of different art fairs taking place around the world.

The NYC Armory Show is a space where gallery’s get the chance to showcase 20th and 21st contemporary art, sell to current art collectors and invite the art public into their space to share what they are about. With all the competition within the changing art market, art fairs are constantly thinking ahead. They create an environment that has the potential to thrill today’s audience.

This February 2017, I had the chance to attend The Armory Show in NYC on Pier’s 92 & 94. I had the chance to meet Jane Stageberg, one of the principals of BSC Architecture, and the Architect of the Armory Show for the past five years (the other two Principals are led by Tim Bade and Martin Cox). The firm’s design philosophy is grounded in research and designing for today’s art market.

The Armory show in NYC was founded in 1994 by four New York gallerists (Collin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks, and Paul Morris) and welcomes over 65,000 visitors annually. Its mission stays true in respect to promoting art galleries all over the world.

Photo by Andy Ryan

Due to the successful early years, the fair moved from the legendary Gramercy Park Hotel to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. In 1999, “The Gramercy International Art Fair” was renamed as “The Armory Show” in homage to the Regiment’s legendary 1913 exhibition of the same name which famously showcased avant-garde works by European artists previously unseen in America. In 2001, the Armory Show moves to Manhattan’s West Side, occupying Piers 88 & 90 and partners with the Museum of Modern Art which dedicates its opening day to the museum and continues to be the venue for famous Armory Show party.

One of the main reasons The Armory Show hired an architecture firm to design the event was to make the fair easy to navigate. Pier 94 used to have 3 aisles which was made into 2 larger aisles. “This makes the fair easier to circulate and keeps foot traffic moving,” says Jane Stageberg.

Designing today’s Armory Show is constantly evolving from when BSC first partnered. In 2012 BSC designed The Armory Show to mimic NYC. They used the anatomy of the city by using the NYC skyline as “points of reference.” Building off from 2012 to now, BSC works closely with the current Armory Show Director – Benjamin Genocchio. Genocchio agrees, “designing Art Fairs are constantly evolving and has to change with the interest of the art market.” 

“You can expect to make adjustments up to the hours of opening day. Anything can happen,” says Stageberg.

With all these aspects in mind; this makes a very welcoming and joyful space for today’s art audience.

Photo by Andy Ryan

Photo by Andy Ryan

Photo by Andy Ryan

Photo by Andy Ryan

Photo by Andy Ryan

Photo by Andy Ryan