Virtual exhibitions

Armory Show will launch digital exhibition space, starting with a pandemic-related show

First offering will feature works by Hank Willis Thomas, Gordon Matta Clark and others

Charles White's Young Woman (Unfinished Painting No. 6) from 1965-66 ACA Galleries

The Armory Show, one of New York’s largest art fairs, has announced that it is launching Armory Access: Curated, a digital exhibition space where independent curators can organise virtual shows.

The first exhibition, titled The Pandemic is a Portal, opens on 15 April and will include works by around 20 artists, including Hank Willis Thomas, Gordon Matta Clark, Firelei Báez, Bruce Conner and Andrea Bowers. The show will be viewable on the fair’s website, with no ticket or log-in required.

Pandemic Is a Portal is being organised by Daniel S. Palmer, who now serves as curator for New York’s Public Art Fund. The exhibition is inspired by an essay by the author Arundhati Roy published last April in the Financial Times considering how the coronavirus pandemic might be viewed as an opportunity to break with the past and imagine a more equitable society.

Meanwhile, the current plan for the 2021 Armory Show calls for it to be held in person in September at the Javits Center, a convention space where thousands of people are currently being vaccinated daily for the Covid-19 virus. Last year’s edition was held in the first week of March, days before the city went into lockdown.

The decision to permanently shift this year’s fair from March to September was announced before the pandemic hit. Although the future of large gatherings is uncertain, yesterday's announcement that residents of New York State who are 16 or older will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine as of 6 April raises hopes. Beginning today, anyone in New York who is 30 or older can start scheduling appointments.

The Pandemic is a Portal will be followed by an exhibition curated by César García-Alvarez, founder and director of The Mistake Room in Los Angeles.