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Arts Watch: The Esteemed Art Show Heads Into Its 27th Year

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The Art Show, one of the most highly regarded and longest running art fairs in the nation, opens its twenty seventh edition on March 4th at the Park Avenue Armory. The fair, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and run in collaboration with Henry Street Settlement, features carefully curated solo, two-person, and thematic exhibitions by 72 of the nation’s leading art dealers.

There is a grand Gala Preview, which launches Armory Arts Week across the city, on March 3rd. Artsy previews the show online and Paddle8 hosts a silent auction for the event. As always, all gala proceeds, auction proceeds and daily admissions support Henry Street’s seventeen programs across the Lower East Side.

I spoke with Adrian Saldana, who recently took over coordinating the benefit for Henry Street. Saldana transitioned from serving as general manager of Abrons Arts Center being appointed special events coordinator this past summer. “I was always so impressed that these blue chip galleries of world renown, were putting on an event that was going to help Henry Street’s programs,” he says of The Art Show.

Over the years the event has tracked the evolution of the art market in New York City and the globalization of the art market in general, while auction and sale prices have continued to skyrocket.  Saldana has watched as the gallery scene has transitioned into the Lower East Side neighborhood. Local galleries represented this year include Eleven Rivington and Salon 94.  Eleven Rivington’s artist, Evan Nesbit, and Salon 94’s David Benjamin Sherry have donated pieces to the auction.

Rising star Ella Kruglyanskaya, an Abrons AIRspace alum who is represented by Gavin Brown Enterprise, has donated a special print edition to commemorate the Henry Street Playhouse’s Centennial.

Adrian Saldana
Adrian Saldana, Special Events Coordinator for Henry Street, takes over the job of coordinating The Art Show this year. He succeeds Stephanie Gordon, who ran the Art Show Gala Preview for 24 years.

The fair originally focused on modern 19th century and early 20th century artists, Saldana explained, and obviously there is a finite quantity of work from the modern masters, so the bids continue to rise as the work becomes more coveted. Last year was a banner year for the fair. Henry Street grossed well over $1 million from the silent auction and the entry fees.

The goal has always been to have a finely curated fair — either solo presentations, two artist presentations or something thematic. Members of the ADAA submit proposals each year to present work in one of the 72 booths at the fair.

Saldana points out that Henry Street has become an interesting bridge for artists and the ADAA galleries as Abrons has been bringing in artists to work in their residency program (AIR Space). Many of them have gone on to be represented by world class galleries.

Some of the high profile artists showing this year include Tracey Emin, Lorna Simpson, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol — not to mention a Matisse drawing that has been donated for auction.

“People go to museums to see exhibitions by these artists,” says Saldana, “but their work is actually on display here for one week, and by buying a $25 ticket to the regular fair you’ll be taking in work by these masters in contemporary and modern art, but you’re helping Henry Street at the same time.” Also, he notes, “the food is incredible, the people watching is incredible, and it’s in a beautiful space.” What more motivation do you need to head uptown?

The Art Show 2015 runs March 4-8 at the Park Avenue Armory (Park Ave. at 67th St.) Wednesday–Friday: 12 to 8pm, Saturday: 12 to 7pm, Sunday: 12 to 5pm. The Gala Preview is March 3rd from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. General Admission is $25. For more info and to buy tickets go here.

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