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September 9-12, 2021   Javits Center

In 1999, necessitated by The Gramercy International Art Fair’s mounting popularity and the corresponding need for a larger, more formal venue, the fair migrated to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, and hosted 74 galleries. It was in this year that The Armory Show acquired its present-day name, chosen in homage to the legendary 1913 exhibition of the same name—and held at the same venue—that famously showcased avant-garde works by European artists previously unseen in America.

The 1913 Armory Show

The International Exhibition of Modern Art opened on February 17, 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. The Armory Show—as it came to be known—had an immediate and profound influence, introducing the avant-garde to America and forever altering the narrative of Modernism in America. Photograph by Percy Rainford, courtesy of Bettmann/Corbis.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami's work floats above the booths at the 1999 edition, which was staged at 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Photograph courtesy of the Colin de Land collection, 1968-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

As the fair continued to grow in stature and size, the need for a new location spurred a move to Manhattan’s West Side, making its new home in yet another historic part of New York City. The Armory Show’s arrival at the Piers signaled an important turning point for the fair, cementing it as a critical event on the international art world calendar.

Eva & Adele

Artists Eva & Adele at The Armory Show 2005. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

Arriving in style

A guest arrives to The Armory Show 2007. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

Marina Abramovic

Artist Marina Abramovic. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.


Kim Heirston

Art advisor Kim Heirston pictured at The Armory Show 2001. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

Kenny Scharf

Artist Kenny Scharf stands for a portrait in front of his site-specific mural at The Armory Show's exterior in 2009. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

In fact, Armory Arts Week, as the week is now known, would develop into a citywide program of concurrent art fairs and events that highlight the diverse cultural offerings of New York's arts scene.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Then Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, walks through the fair with former Executive Director of The Armory Show, Paul Morris. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

"We were young, ambitious and wanted all of New York to participate, so we called on the vibrant arts community around the entire city to join forces to support our mission, and that is how Armory Arts Week was born. I'm very proud to have been part of this exciting story!"—Katelijne De Backer, former Executive Director, The Armory Show

The Armory Show at the Piers

Yellow taxis arrive to The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

In 2001, The Armory Show and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York announced the creation of the Pat Hearn and Colin de Land Acquisition Fund, and the fair dedicated its opening day to the Museum, signaling an important partnership in the fair’s history. To this day, The Armory Show’s close relationship with MoMA is a hallmark of the fair’s identity. At this time, the fair began collaborations with important and internationally recognized artists such as Gabriel Kuri, Theaster Gates, Liz Magic Laser, Pipilotti Rist, John Waters, and Mary Heilmann, who each produced a commissioned artwork to benefit MoMA.

The Armory Party at MoMA

Guests arrive to the Armory Party at MoMA, an annual event hosted at the Museum in celebration of The Armory Show's opening day. Photograph courtesy of The Armory Show.

"It was a natural evolution to form a partnership with MoMA and that started while I was still President of the Museum. The Armory show has long cemented its status as one the world’s pre-eminent art fairs, drawing a diverse audience of art-enthusiasts, collectors, academics and professionals to New York City and is a significant and wonderful attraction for our city"— Agnes Gund, President Emerita, The Museum of Modern Art

Agnes Gund

Agnes Gund, President Emerita of The Museum of Modern Art, at The Armory Show 2001.