Ever since its founding in 1994, as the Gramercy International (in a hotel), the Armory Show, New York’s marquee homegrown contemporary art fair, has been held during the month of March. In a surprise announcement on Thursday night, just a day after it welcomed VIPs and members of the press to its current edition, the Armory Show revealed plans to move the fair to early September. Next year’s fair is now dated for September 9–12, meaning that the Armory Show will be staged as galleries across the city throw their doors back open after a break for the summer.
Along with the shift in seasons comes a change in venue. No longer will the Armory Show take place at Piers 90 and 94. Its new home will be the Javits Center, which is currently at work on building a $1.5 billon expansion overseen by architect James Ingo Freed, of the storied firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The move brings the Armory Show into Hudson Yards, a neighborhood that has recently undergone a major development project.
In a statement, Nicole Berry, the fair’s executive director, said, “September is a great time of year to be in New York City, and we are eager to align with gallery openings to kick off the fall season. We hope everyone will mark their calendars.”
Signs of change affecting Armory Week had been brewing for a while. In 2018, Armory Week became what was technically a two-week period, with the ADAA Art Show opening eight days prior to the Armory Show. Months later, NADA New York, a fair operated by the New Art Dealers Alliance, canceled its 2019 edition.
Then, in 2019, after building issues forced the Armory Show to vacate Pier 92, which had historically been one of its sites, the fair moved some of its exhibitors to Pier 90, forcing the Volta art fair to cancel for the year. (Volta returned to New York this year at Metropolitan West.)
Currently, no other major New York fairs are held in September, though the Armory Show has promised what it is calling a new Armory Arts Week. The ADAA Art Show, the Independent art fair, the Spring/Break Art Show, and Volta (the latter three take place the same week as the Armory Show) have not yet announced their 2021 dates.