Some 200 galleries from more than 30 countries came together Wednesday in New York, to celebrate the 25th edition of the popular art fair Armory Show, which opens Thursday, and to remember the humble roots of this event and highlight the fundamental role of women in the artistic sphere.
"It is incredible to think that a fair that began in a hotel with a few hundred visitors has become an international meeting point for the art world (...) and a cultural event visited by more than 65,000 people each year," its current executive director, Nicole Berry, said at the fair's presentation.
The Armory Show, which held its first modest edition in 1994 in the rooms on the top floors of the Gramercy Hotel in downtown Manhattan, started with the initiative of four gallery owners, has become the benchmark of the New York art scene, one of the most important in the world.
"Our mission has always been to present the new voices of the visual arts, and to provide a platform for galleries to connect with a greater number of collectors," Berry explained Wednesday.
This year, a total of 198 galleries have attended this big event, which is no longer held in a hotel, but in the 90, 92 and 94 Piers, the former New York passenger ship terminal in the west of Manhattan, huge spaces set up for large events.
The show had to cope with an unexpected last minute event, when a little more than two weeks ahead of its opening, the city authorities declared that part of one of the docks, 92 in particular, did not have a safe enough structure.
For that reason the show, considered the starting signal for the art season in New York, had to occupy at the last moment also Pier 94, where another fair, Volta, was scheduled to take place but has been postponed and relegated to this important event.
For it's 25th edition, Armory has some of the original galleries that participated in 1994, such as 303 Gallery from New York, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery from New York and Los Angeles, Galerie Krinzinger from Vienna and Zeno X Gallery from Antwerp, Belgium.
In addition, many of the present galleries, as Berry pointed out, dedicate their exhibitions to important women artists of several generations, such as the Spanish DNA Gallery (Barcelona), which shows the work of the British resident in San Francisco, Margaret Harrison.
"She is a feminist artist, very emblematic, combative, from the 70s. Her peculiarity is that she makes radical feminist work but from the conventional disciplines: painting, drawing, watercolor," the founder and owner of the art space, Miguel Angel Sanchez, told Efe.
"We are living in a moment of historical recovery, in which it is becoming clear that the Western canon should not only be composed of male artists," he added.
Other galleries that dedicate their space to female artists are galerie Nathalie Obadia with the British artist Fiona Rae, ShanghART Gallery with the American Lynn Hershman Leeson, and David Nolan Gallery with Dorothea Tanning.
Also in the galleries section was the Madrid-based gallery Max Estrella, which brought the work of Jose Val del Omar to New York, and the Mexican Curro, which shows the work of Octavio Abundez.
The "Platform" section, which brings together the work of nine artists who present large-scale works that offer hope, relief and resilience to the climate of current geopolitical uncertainty, also stands out in this 25th edition.