Here we go—another action-packed art week in the Big Apple, with London's blue-chip-but-edgy Frieze Art Fair staking its million-dollar tent on Randall's Island, NADA returning to Basketball City with its indie mix of boutique exhibitors, and a potpourri of other fairs and events proliferating in the bright spring air. Here's a preview of what not to miss, in order of importance, prestige, and fun-potential.
May 6 – 9 on Randall's Island
It's hard to believe it's only the third iteration of this mega-popular fair, which will have the art world flocking to a grassy patch in the middle of Manhattan's East River from May 9 – 12. The giant red balloon dog by Paul McCarthy that towered over the entrance to last year's fair won't be present this year (it was sold). But there will be a series of artists' projects unfolding in the scenic area surrounding the tent on Randall's Island, designed to respond specifically to the fair's unique location. These will include "absurdist interventions" by Darren Bader and a soccer field by Eduardo Basualdo, among other projects.
May 9 – 11 on Pier 36 at Basketball City (299 South Street)
Also in its third edition, the fair of the New Art Dealer's Association returns to its 2013 location on Chelsea's Pier 36 at Basketball City (299 South St). The NADA fair focuses on new work by up-and-coming artists, allowing perhaps a bit more excitement of the unknown to permeate the air. (While perusing the artwork, feel free to make jokes about "scoring"; Basketball City's scoreboards are already a trademark presence at the fair after NADA first occupied the venue last year.) Expect to see cutting-edge work by the likes of Xaviera Simmons.
May 8 – 11 at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue
This year's newcomer, the Downtown Armory Art Fair, holding its inaugural event this year, has generated a lot of buzz already. Don't get confused: this is not the Armory Show. But the new fair takes place at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue and 25th Street, the site of the 1913 Armory Show where American audiences were scandalized by work by the likes of Marcel Duchamp for the first time. The exhibitors were selected by New York dealers Nancy Hoffmann and Yossi Milo, with St. Louis gallerist William Shearburn, and the fair is directed by Lisa Hatchadoorian, who was recently the curator at Casper, Wyoming's Nicolaysen Art Museum.
May 8 – 11 at Center 548, 548 West 22nd Street in Chelsea
Is the Outsider Art Fair going mainstream? This year's edition of the fair, which focuses on work by artists from outside the art establishment, is, for the first time, happening simultaneously with Frieze. Should this be viewed as selling out, or a daring challenge to the season's more established events? This year's fair includes 46 galleries, all of whom will be showcasing works unlike you'll find at any of the other fairs; if you get as tired as we do of seeing the same old thing over and over again during fair season, this is sure to be a great palette cleanser.
20 West 22nd Street in Chelsea
One of New York's longer-running fairs dedicated to contemporary art (now in its ninth edition) returns to the city during Frieze Week. Pulse 2014 is being run under the directorship of Helen Toomer, who promises to revitalize the fair's program, including the Impulse platform, dedicated to emerging galleries. This year's exhibitors are mostly from New York, with a few exceptions, like Art Mûr from Montreal and Guidi&Schoen Contemporary Art from Geneva.
May 8 – 11 at 100a Forsyth Street
If you get tired from shopping for art, you'll want to take this opportunity to buy yourself a chair—or a chaise, or ottoman, or caquetoire, or Adirondack—to sit on. The fair is organized by a collective of curators, gallerists, collectors, and designers who have pooled resources to craft a new far dedicated to contemporary and 20th century design from a roster of international galleries.
May 8 – 11 in the Altman building at 135 West 18th Street
If you ask us, SELECT has the best representation of exhibitors from across the U.S.A.—galleries from New York, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Oregon, New Hampshire, California, Illinois, Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts are all represented (not to mention the international galleries). With most fairs expounding their international focus while only including domestic galleries from New York and L.A., this could be the breath of fresh air that the coast-centric fair season needs. If you're feeling patriotic, you'll want to make a visit.
May 8 – 11at The Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street
This French fair aims to capitalize on the proliferation of galleries in Manhattan's Lower East Side in recent years. It finds its home, for the second year in a row, in the Clemente, a Dutch Neo-Gothic building in the heart of the neighborhood. A peek inside the impressive architectural space is reason enough to add Cutlog to your stop list; but the film and performance program that will accompany displays by the fair's fifty exhibiting galleries is sure to benefit from its picturesque location as well.
May 7 – 12 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts
The Fridge Art Fair is the brainchild of artist Eric Ginsburg, who, along with partner Edgar Garcia, aims to foster a true alternative to the insider-y sprawl of Frieze and NADA. The small, 12-exhibitor fair offers a humbler, more approachable alternative to the blowout mega-events happening uptown. Even better, proceeds from the opening night party—The "Banana Split (With a Cherry on Top)" Opening Night Extravaganza—directly support NYC charity City Critters, Inc., which performs local cat rescues and adoptions.
May 9 – 11 at the Off Soho Suites, 11 Rivington Street
The PooL Art Fair was originally inspired by French tradition of alternative artists' fairs beginning with Courbet's 1863 Salon des Independents (AKA the Salon des Refusés). As such, PooL includes only unrepresented artists. The fair's first iteration was held in 2000, when it was known as the New York Independent Art Fair. Expect a truly eye-opening, off-the-beaten-track survey of wide variety.