Armory Show Spectacle Begins

New York’s Armory Week attracts hundreds of galleries to two piers on the Hudson River and an actual armory across town on Park Avenue.

Hundreds of art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network have already descended upon New York to visit this spectacle of art fairs.

Add an unexpected attraction: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s mega-yacht, Eclipse (not open to visitors) moored nearby.

The piers are best accessed by cab, a brisk walk along the Hudson River’s walkway, or by shuttle bus running from Chelsea.

Pier 94 houses 146 contemporary art galleries. This year’s special Focus section is art from the U.S., which inspired artworks made with bullets (David Cole at Dodge Gallery) and cigarettes (Duke Riley at Magnan Metz) as well as canvases with copper leaf background oxidized by the artist’s urine (courtesy of Elise Adibi at Churner and Churner).

Here are some additional suggestions:

1. Larry Gagosian: An Armory debutant, his booth occupies a prominent spot with Andy Warhol’s camouflage paintings.
2. Galerie Laurent Godin: Note the giant sculpture of an axe-wielding lumberjack guarding the booth entrance. Inside, David Kramer pokes easy fun at the art world. “...You won’t have Damien Hirst to kick around any longer,” is written on a splashy abstract canvas.
3. Andrehn-Schiptjenko: Swedish artist Tobias Bernstrup’s sculpture spelling “Hope” suggests anything but. Made of wood and cardboard, it contains fragments of broken bridges, shattered beams and a bus suspended precariously in mid-air. Asking price: $46,000.

Sold Out

4. Eleven Rivington: The gallery quickly sold out its entire booth of 20 tiny figurative paintings during the VIP preview of candle flames by TM Davy. (Range: $2,500 to $3,500).
5. Victoria Miro: A fragile sculpture of a globe made by Sarah Sze, who will represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale this year, has already sold for an undisclosed price. Other works for sale include paintings by Barnaby Furnas and Chris Ofili.

Walk over to Pier 92 for the Modern section of the fair with 61 exhibitors, where Picasso prints hang near nudes by Tom Wesselmann and Sol LeWitt sculptures.

1. Galleria d’Arte Maggiore has paintings by Morandi, Fernand Leger and Giorgio de Chirico selling for as much as $1.2 million.
2. Chowaiki & Co.: The New York gallery has pegged its presentation to the Armory Show centennial with works by Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp and Edward Hopper, who participated in the inaugural show, and contemporary artists like Vik Muniz and Mike Bidlo. Gems include Dora Maar’s photo of Picasso’s Guernica (not for sale). Prices range from $5,000 to $3.8 million.

Coney Island
3. Andrew Edlin: A scale replica of the Coney Island amusement park, pictured above, offers wonderful fun. Press a button, and the Ferris wheel rotates; another activates the miniature subway. Tom Duncan took 18 years to build the model, which is imaginative and detailed, right down to the bathers on the beach and tiny hot air balloons soaring above. Asking price: $300,000.
4. Mazzoleni Arte Moderna: Postwar Italian art is on view, including slashed colorful paintings by Lucio Fontana, burnt and cracked canvases by Alberto Burri and one exquisite Piero Manzoni. Prices range from $1 million to $1.5 million.

The Armory on Park Avenue

Across town on Park Avenue, the annual Art Show organized by the Art Dealers Association of America is rich in single- artist booths.

1. David Zwirner: This booth features little-known 1930s oil paintings by Milton Avery depicting circus scenes.
2. Marianne Boesky: Find some exuberant works by Salvatore Scarpitta (1919-2007), including a sculpture of a race car and pieces made with skis and sleds.
3. Ronald Feldman: Electrical wires and switches look glamorous in the painting and sculptures by Kelly Heaton here. Each piece emits humming sounds that bring to mind crickets on a summer night.
4. James Cohan: The front page of the New York Times is the starting point for a new group of collages by Fred Tomaselli. One depicts Mitt Romney next to children dressed in white cloaks.
5. Mitchell-Innes and Nash: Jean Arp’s gleaming sculptures, drawings and reliefs take center stage. The works span the 1920s to 1960s and cost as much as $2 million.

The Armory Show runs at Pier 92 and Pier 94 in Manhattan through March 10. Information: http://www.thearmoryshow.com.

The ADAA Art Show runs at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan through March 10. Information: http://www.artdealers.org/artshow.