The Armory Show originated in 1994 when four New York gallerists—Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks, and Paul Morris—launched the fair’s first iteration at the landmark Gramercy Park Hotel.
"If we can help the world understand their artists, and we can also bring together collectors and museums with these dealers, that's probably one of the most important things a fair can accomplish." — Paul Morris, Co-Founder, The Armory Show
Spanning the hotel’s top three floors, The Gramercy International Art Fair, as it was first known, invited a distinct community of international galleries to showcase emerging artists in the hotel’s suites.
"It was 1994 and my first time in New York. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep on the flight over, and upon arriving in New York I stayed up partying all night. Jay Jopling had taken two rooms at the gramercy. One of the rooms, which displayed my work, doubled up as my bedroom." — Tracey Emin, Artist
"IT FELT NEW AND FRESH. IT GAVE YOU THE SENSE THAT SOMETHING SEMINAL, SOMETHING EXCITING, WAS HAPPENING IN NEW YORK." — Jay Gorney, Gallerist
By the late 1990s, The Gramercy International Art Fair had become an important platform for promoting new and exciting voices in the visual arts—driven by a desire for gallerists and artists to connect with a larger audience of art patrons.
"I vividly remember first going to the Gramercy hotel in 1994 and walking in and out of rooms to see a radical presentation of art by leading dealers. It was quite unique and felt very much in the spirit of the avant-garde." — Agnes Gund, President Emerita, The Museum of Modern Art
"The Gramercy was exciting because it was the first fair in New York for contemporary arts. We were young and happy to invest. It was a good time to be there." — Christian Nagel, Gallerist
What began as a grassroots effort to energize the art market has grown into a remarkable convergence of international galleries, artists, and art patrons today.