Surviving The Armory Show Art Fair

Three years ago when my best friend asked me to go to the Armory Show with her. I, of course, not being part of the art world, had no idea what the Armory Show was. She actually begged me to go, she encouraged me to branch out and experience something new, but somehow she forgot about the time we were in Paris and I had to spend 8 hours with her in the Lourve. Now I’m not opposed to seeing some great art, for brief interludes of time, but 8 hours, “Really?”  Needless to say she finally convinced me to go. And what happened you may ask. She did it again, 6 hours of art, no eating, no breaks just hours of endless art. There were times I was just outright rude, but what do you expect, she refused to feed me. Through it all, “The Art Lover” was in her glory. In the end I did actually enjoy the show and have done it for the past three years, each year getting better and better.

The art itself varies in all aspects. You can see paintings, sculptures, performance art; some things can’t actually be defined and confined to description unless you’ve seen them. I’ve never been one to be fascinated by art per se, but it really does get interesting to see all those works of art and try to figure out what could have possibly been going on in the artist’s head. The pieces can be so dramatic sometimes and quite lighthearted on other occasions. I believe last year was the year of neon. It was everywhere.

Armory Show article


Then there are pieces from this  year’s show like “Let The Light Enter” by Charles White (1918-1979), drawn in 1961 that truly drew me in and made me appreciate art for all it’s worth. There was nothing overly dramatic about the drawing or its design (it was drawn with charcoal and Wolff crayon), but his subject looked at me and captured my mind. Each stroke was with purpose, every inch of the drawing consumed me and all the sudden art meant something. I remember having a similar feeling when I first saw the Mona Lisa. It was like seeing an old friend and smiling to yourself about all the fun times you had, just a flicker of memory, but a delightful one, something never to forget.

Over the years, the Armory Show has turned into quite an event for us. While I remember flashes of year one, but year two is when I really got into it. The trick is to mentally prepare yourself for a long day.  So have a decent breakfast before you head out to the shows…don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing time of the year, but it’s long and you need to know it’s not the type of thing you do for an hour and then move on. Which brings me to my next rule: wear comfortable shoes.  I know you see people fashionably arriving to the show and there’s nothing wrong with looking good, but trust me, if their heels are over 3 inches, they aren’t serious. Chances are you’re planning on visiting other art fairs during the day – New York is an asphalt jungle and nothing will take you down faster than trying to traverse the art fairs in cute heels. Know when to break for a meal, lack of food will cause you to forget just about anything, even if it is great. Personally, I keep granola bars and juice packs in my bag for quick power snacks. Most of all, know when to call it quits. If it all starts to blend together, you’ve probably had enough for the day. Save some for tomorrow or even next year – shut it down – go have dinner & drinks and pat yourself you the back and call it a wrap. You survived.

“Let The Light Enter” by Charles White (1918-1979)

“Let The Light Enter” by Charles White (1918-1979)

And while going to the Armory Show every year with my best friend is a great time, it also has been a time that I’ve learned something new about myself. My patience has definitely gotten better, but my appreciation for art has truly grown and I can honestly say I too am now an art lover. I don’t always understand it or get what the artist is trying to convey, but I can appreciate it. And in the end that’s all that matters, because art is not about understanding, but more of a feeling.

See you next year!


article by Dawn Williams