Another Year, Another Armory Show Survival Guide

Here it comes, a marathon week, when the Armory Show and other art fair exhibitions descend upon New York City–some people love it, to others it is a professional duty and a physical endurance test, to be survived as best as possible.

As a freelancer, over the years, The Armory Show has turned into quite an event for me. The Armory Show is New York’s premier art fair (it welcomes over 65,000 visitors annually) and a definitive cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th and 21st century artworks. Staged on Piers 92 & 94, the fair features presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions and dynamic public programs. This time of year, it is also freezing cold and windy on the piers; most years, I just pray for decent weather & endurance.

While attending the Armory Show is a great time, it also an event to mentally prepare yourself for. Here is my list of Armory Must Do’s – it will help you get the most out of your day of art overload.

  • 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 is nothing wrong with looking good, but trust me, if their heels are over 3 inches, they are not serious. Chances are you are planning to visit 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 fresh pressed juice in my bag for quick power snacks.
  • Have patience. The crowds can be overwhelming. The Armory Show takes place across 250,000 square feet of exhibition space. Just remember that everyone wants to see everything – a near impossible feat. Friday is less crowded than Saturday; Sunday is a tossup. The contemporary side (Pier 94) is always the hot ticket, so expect some shoving and long lines for the coatroom.
  • Over the years, my appreciation for art has truly grown. You may not understand it or get what the artist is trying to convey, but you can still appreciate it, and in the end that’s all that matters, because art is not about understanding, but more of a feeling.
  • Most of all, know when to call it quits. If it all starts to blend, you have 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.

Another Year, Another Armory Show Survival Guide

Location

Piers 92 & 94
711 12th Avenue, New York, 10019

Hours

Thursday, March 2: 12–8pm
Friday, March 3: 12–8pm
Saturday, March 4: 12–7pm
Sunday, March 5: 12–6pm

Surviving Black History Month

by Kimberly Drew

Black History is American History

 

A firm believer in the placebo that is a new year, I get excited as December winds down. I set my sneakers near my door with the hopes that on January 1st I’ll magically wake up and be ready to run the Boston marathon. As January creeps along I attempt to turn my resolutions into effortless routines. This year rather than vowing to lose half my body weight I decided to try something a little more useful. My resolution for 2013 was surviving Black History Month.

Now I know you’re reading and thinking this chick is crazy. Why would a black person cringe at the month that should stand for their annual dosage of 40 acres and a mule? Why? Because it’s an anxiety inducing month. Twenty-eightish days designed to encompass (and in turn pathologize) Black history.

As an undergrad at Smith College I was a scholar in African-American studies. After studying blackness around the clock the idea that Black History Month can serve it’s role in our society is a hyperbolic and insulting one. So, for all of those spirits who are plagued by the second month of the year I thought I’d outfit each of you with a Black History Month survival guide.

1

Celebrate otherness. While race is a social construct, it dictates the way that we view others and are seen by others. Accepting that you are different is the first step in guiding your way through a month that can limit your identity. A song that I’ve been using to remind myself of this fact is by a gentleman named Two Chainz.

2

Avoid advertising ploys. As Hank Willis Thomas said, “race has been the most successful marketing ploy in the history of the world.” Don’t let corporations bait you with schemes that do nothing but enforce corporate monopolies. Don’t believe me? Visit Vintage Black Ads on Tumblr to see generations of advertisements that were designed to target black audiences.

3

Read, read, read… literacy is a privilege; take head. Let Black History Month be your excuse to rediscover Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, fall in love with Jean Toomer’s Cane or delve into the four volumes of Henry Louis Gates and David Bindman’s The Image of the Black in Western Art. There is agency seeded in every page turn and every click-through on articles about Black history.

4

Don’t watch the Grammys or the Oscars. Yeah I said it, ignore the academy at all costs. As a survivor of this year’s Grammys and Seth McFarlane’s wildly offensive take on hosting the Oscars, I can testify that it’ll do no one any good feeding into a system that works to remind women and minorities that they will never be good enough.

5

Know that Black history is American history… It’s in our best interest to celebrate different aspects of American life, see how they intersect and deconstruct our preconceived prejudices. Black History Month places Black history in a vacuum. The month should be a celebration of racial progress, cultural difference and a time to reflect on contemporary blackness. Our only hope in successfully surviving Black History Month is a universal understanding that these things are not exclusive to racial blackness.

 

*amazing gif borrowed from Tumblr staff