Art fairs

Small fairs around the Armory show attract major collectors

Five satellite fairs keep up the pace

New York

There were five fairs held at the same time as the Armory fair, from the punky “Fountain” opposite the Armory itself to the cacophonous Scope a few blocks east.

Pulse, at the 25th Street Armory, was calm with 60 galleries and a small number of high calibre collectors. Likewise the LA Art Fair was hard to find and limited to just 16 galleries, but had a sophisticated, if slower, pace which led to positive responses from most participants. Marc Selwyn’s attractive stock swiftly sold out, including 1960s drawings by James Turrell to a museum. If these two fairs were further from the main action, nobody seemed to care, with sales to major collectors such as Patricia Marshall, the advisor to the French luxury-goods mogul Bernard Arnault, the Jumex Collection and the Servais family from Brussels.

At Pulse a very young gallery, Virgil de Voldere, sold a difficult computer video game by Brody Condon for $20,000 to new media collectors Robert and Jerann Chaney from Texas.

The only satellite event that seemed to suffer by its unusual location in Battery Park was the all-video DIVA fair which took place, as Scope used to, in a hotel. Apart from a packed opening night, traffic was very slow.

Without a doubt Scope was the biggest and most fun, with 100 galleries in 30,000 sq. ft and numerous extras such as a “Performance Lounge”, every sort of multi-media and a curated zone of over 500 videos by 300 artists. This was called the “Perpetual Art Machine”, a title that could have applied to all of Manhattan during this four-day, six-fair madness.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 168 April 2006