For every big event, there are thousands of little stories that go into its preparation, presentation and reception. The creators of The Armory Show, the city’s largest annual art fair at Piers 92 and 94, have taken this into account in a new and exciting way, allowing room for each participant to live and breathe a particular story as part of his or her experience of the show. The award-winning architectural firm of Bade Stageberg Cox was commissioned to develop a new design for a floorplan that would cut down on sensory overload and offer participants spaces for regrouping, meeting, resting and reflection. They have transformed the vast venue into an easily navigable environment, with visually captivating, easy to find and strategically placed rest areas, featuring high quality culinary offerings from Great Performances.
Piers 92 and 94 are a pair of connected event venues sitting on the west side of Manhattan at the end of 55th St., right on the Hudson River, as part of the Passenger Ship Terminal complex. With a combined total square footage of over 200,000 sq. feet, this virtually pillar free space is a vast blank canvas, able to comfortably house the vision of even the most daring and ambitious event designers. A growing favorite to trade show, concert and gala planners, it should definitely be added to the lists of event producers who are thinking big in Manhattan.
In service of the dual goals of creating a stylish yet humane exhibition area, the design team knew that it would only be right to infuse a particularly New York sensibility into their overall esthetic. In a clever nod to a couple of quintessentially NYC traditions, they reclaimed scores of chairs from the city sidewalks, refurbished them, and had them painted an iconic, glossy taxi-cab yellow. These chairs, dubbed Street Seats, have been strategically placed throughout the show. They’ve also been numbered and labeled for the location at which they were found, and will actually be up for sale after the show is over…
The Armory Show is only open until tomorrow evening at 7. There is still time to get over there and bask in the magic of art, art, art everywhere… but just in case you miss it in person, here’s another great innovation… Paddle8, the premier online art marketplace, has formed a partnership with The Armory Show, bringing the fair online for the first time in its fourteen year history. From now through Sunday, March 18th, works from over 100 of the show’s exhibitors will be featured on their website, where viewers can view, reserve and acquire their favorite pieces.
On the heels of my visit to the Piers, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of a new exhibit last night at the Knox Gallery on 129th Street in Harlem, called “The Shift: Art & Spirit.” I was invited by an old friend, Shirley Taylor, who was one of the exhibitors. Her work – small, geometrically fascinating collages that interplay color and natural textures with subtly embedded images, at once soothing and evocative – was right at home with that of the rest of the artists, all of whom seem tapped into something greater than the mundane details of everyday life. Shirley along with Karen Fitgerald, Atanaska Tassart, Maggie Cousins, Nate Ladson, Paula Everbay, Diane Davis and curator Kristin Reed each explore otherworldly energetic realms with intricate designs, colors ranging from bold to soothing, and an overall sense of movement that seems to signal a kind of profound change.
Fueled by the sounds of special guest, Gong Master, Rashu Aten and his Sacred Healing Gongs, guests mingled in the intimate atmosphere of this warm, comfortable space. With its polished wood floors and classic townhouse feel, this place is surely reminiscent of the salons of yesteryear, begging to be filled by the broad assortment of creative folks and patrons of the arts who converged on the launch of the show. So I guess it really was no surprise to run into my old friend Leanne Stella (yes, THAT Leanne Stella), who has recently launched a new venture, Art in Flux Harlem, staging exhibits by local Harlem artists in pop-up galleries throughout the neighborhood, in conjunction with musicians and charity organizations. Gallery founder C. Knox LaSister and Creative Director Al Johnson have certainly hit on something special with their venue. The current show will be up until April 13th, so come on up and have a look!
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An innovative use of space that reconfigures an iconic public event to better align with personal needs, the transformation of stagnant commercial spaces into beacons of creativity, and artists channeling their personal experiences and meditations into healing, transcendent works of inspiration – what a joy to experience so many stories signalling a shift of art and spirit in action! Yes, it was a good week for art in New York City…Knox Gallery pictures courtesy of Richard Reisman and Kristen Reed
Here are some additional pictures I received after this blog was already posted… enjoy!
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