The Armory Show Is a Chance for Africa to Shine

For galleries from Africa, where the industry has been slower to recover from the pandemic drop, The Armory Show is a crucial sales opportunity. According to the most current The Art Market analysis by Clare McAndrew, dealers in African markets saw sales rise merely 5% between 2020 and 2021, as opposed to an overall global gain of 18%.

The exhibition offers a chance to introduce talented artists from Africa to a global audience, successfully contributing to the discourse about developing African artistic practices. The Armory Show has included so many African galleries with spaces this year not since 2016 when it had a whole sector devoted to artists and galleries from the continent. This year’s fair included galleries from Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

From Nairobi’s Circle Art Gallery, which participated in the fair’s African galleries sector in 2016, to the debut of Nigeria’s  Kó gallery, The Armory Show presented an opportunity for these galleries to reconnect and connect with The Armory Show’s network of museum representatives. As per Danda Jaroljmek of Nairobi’s Circle Art Gallery, West and South African galleries and the artists they showcase have already received more exposure in America, and the mission of East African galleries like Circle is to promote East African artists, who are far less well-known there.

What is The Armory Show?

Since its inception in 1994, The Armory Show has played a significant role in defining New York’s cultural environment by bringing the most prestigious contemporary and modern art galleries to the city every year.

The Armory Show: New York

Through impressive presentations, deliberate programming, curatorial leadership, significant institutional relationships, and exciting public art activations, the fair significantly contributes to the city’s standing as a significant cultural hub. This year’s fair took place between 9-11 September and next year is already underway.

The precinct of the show, Galleries, featured important thematic, two-artist, and solo-artist presentations in the 2022 edition. Intimate exhibitions of one contemporary, historic, or emerging artist’s work from the 20th or 21st centuries were the emphasis of the Solo segment.

The “Focus” category, curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, was named Landscape Undone and showcases artists who explore the entanglement of environmental challenges, especially in social and political contexts as they relate to questions of race, gender, and power.

In the Presents segment, up-and-coming galleries with a maximum age of ten years highlight contemporary work in solo and dual artist presentations.

Platform, under the direction of Tobias Ostrander, is devoted to monumental installations and site-specific artworks. The chapter looked at how contemporary revisionist practices, which are a result of significant global cultural changes, are affecting artists’ use of sculptural form. The Armory Show participants, which include museums, non-profit galleries, and art foundations, all share the goal of promoting the visual arts to both collectors and the general public.

This year’s show also saw a few awards go out. Reynier Leyva Novo received the $25,000 Pommery Prize, sponsored by Pommery Champagne, for their presentation of What it is, what it has been (2020–2022) by El Apartamento. The Pommery Prize, now in its fourth year, honours an exceptional display of large-scale artwork from the Platform area of The Armory Show. The gallery and the artist are both given the prize. The Jewish Museum’s Barnett & Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art, Liz Munsell, Sloane Shaffer, a collector, and Mailys Vranken, President of Vranken Pommery America, served on the jury for the award.

Even though this is the fair’s first collaboration with TPC Art Finance, the Presents Prize was established in 2017 and is awarded to an outstanding and creative presentation from the fair’s Presents segment. A $12,500 award was given to Rutger Brandt Gallery. The prize’s jury members are Dr. Darryl Atwell, a collector; Naomi Baigell, managing director of TPC Art Finance; and Drew Sawyer, the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum.

Claudia Pea Salinas received the Sauer Artist Prize, which was presented by Curro and Embajada in the Focus division. The debut prize was $10,000.

Presently popular is African art. Modern and contemporary African art is receiving attention like never before, with a clear focus. Over the past few years, both at home and abroad, demand for African art has grown significantly. There has been a lot of worldwide interest in particular. In a rapidly developing market, African art is much too frequently dismissed and undervalued. The large community of African art enthusiasts and collectors is really concerned. Bolingo is at the heart of this, aiming to change the way African art is valued, and sold, and empower the cultural zeitgeist.

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