Armory Show: One of largest collections of African art to go on display in New York

The Armory Show was started in 1994 and has become one of the most prestigious art shows in the city 

Jasmine Bager
New York
Tuesday 23 February 2016 22:26 GMT
'Abandonnes' by Eddy Kamuanga
'Abandonnes' by Eddy Kamuanga (Armory)

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One of the largest collection of contemporary African art ever assembled in the US is to go on display next month in New York.

The Armory Show, among the city’s premier international art fairs returns to the West Side of Manhattan from March 3-6.

Aside from the usual showcasing of hundreds of art exhibitions and museums from around the world, the 2016 theme will focus on art in Africa.

White Gold by Kapwani Kiwanga, one of the 15 artists whose work is being showcased
White Gold by Kapwani Kiwanga, one of the 15 artists whose work is being showcased (Armory)

“This is the largest grouping of contemporary African artists at an American art fair to date,” said the show’s communication manager, Audrey Rose Smith.

“In addition to the 14 galleries represented in Focus, Gallery MOMO, Stevenson and Goodman Gallery are also exhibiting in the Main section on Pier 94.”

This year's Focus curators, Germany-based Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba are keen on showcasing the work of emerging young artists, most of whom are under the age of 40.

All 15 participating artists have ties to Africa but spent time abroad. Representing the older generation, 85-year-old London-based artist Ibrahim El Salahi from Sudan, will provide a glimpse to the past.

As in the previous 22 years, Piers 92 and 94 will each be dedicated to popular art movements: Modern and Contemporary, with special performances and exhibits throughout.

Moving beyond the conventional ideas, and emphasising geographic fluidity and global connections, this year’s Armory Focus will provide an authentic glimpse of the continent’s international artistic production in one location.

Emerging African curators, artists, galleries and art spaces will connect through the global networks and provide several contemporary African viewpoints.

“The 1913 Armory Show, widely credited for bringing modern art to New York – along with its eclectic and unorthodox mix of genres, juxtaposing Vincent van Gogh alongside Marcel Duchamp and Edward Hopper – has been a source of inspiration for ensuing decades and continues to linger today, over 100 years later,” said the fair’s official announcement.

aThe Armory Show’s present-day title was chosen in homage to the legendary 1913 exhibition by the same name which famously showcased avant-garde works by European artists previously unseen in America.

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