For a few years, the Armory Show has been the least exciting part of Armory Art Week. The massive show still pulls in the biggest crowds, but last year, it was upstart satellite fair the Independent that drew the raves.
This year, Moving Image — a new show devoted to video art — is poised to become the event to be at. Independent’s founder, Elizabeth Dee, sits on the advisory board, but the fair is the brainchild of Ed Winkelman and Murat Orozobekov of Winkelman Gallery.
This isn’t the first video-only art fair — DIVA ran during Armory Week from 2005-08 — but Moving Image was actually inspired by an exhibit at Los Angeles’ Getty Museum in 2008.
“It had possibly 80 videos in a relatively small space, but it was installed so incredibly well,” Winkelman said.
The challenge Moving Image set for itself was showing 37 videos in an intimate environment that put the art first — a vast departure from the traditional art-fair setup, wherein each gallery has its own sterile booth and there’s no concession to an overall aesthetic.
Winkelman and company announced their fair in January, which is an astonishingly short time to put together an international fair. But they did attract 22 galleries from around the world.
Part of the reason they were able to be so nimble is their innovative approach to the economics of the fair.
“Moving Image, you can participate for a very low fee, and it includes all the equipment and the installation and everything,” Winkelman said. “So you don’t have to ship a monitor from Europe. You don’t have to hire someone to come install it for you.”
The fair, which is free and open to the public, is not intended to be a moneymaker for Winkelman or any of the other participating galleries, but that’s par for the course in these recessionary times.
Since 2006, it’s been harder for galleries — especially emerging galleries — to make their money back at fairs, and so they now tend to view the events as opportunities to get the word out and build new relationships rather than focusing solely on sales.
And this attitude has, in turn, spurred galleries to experiment with the traditional art-fair model — which was really the motivating force behind Moving Image.
“At a certain point, it was like: OK, since this really isn’t going to pay me back the way those fairs have, because there’s just not that many people buying, I want to do something that’s a little more true to my mission at the gallery,” Winkelman said.
About Armory Arts Week
Armory Arts Week is the annual event that draws exhibitors from around the world to show at art fairs around New York. The Armory Show, this year at piers 92 and 94, is the biggest of the lot, but there’s always a wide range of satellite fairs. Most charge a fee to enter, but some are free, and there are public events happening all week, starting Tuesday and running through Sunday. Visit armoryartsweek.com for more details.
The satellite fairs:
• VOLTA NY
• The Art Show
• Fountain New York
• Moving Image (new!)
• Red Dot
• Scope New York
• Verge Art Brooklyn (new!)