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The Armory show: Spaced out

This year’s Armory Show boasts a Nordic focus, an online showcase and more room to stretch.

Anyone who has ever attended the Armory Show art fair — one of the leading international art fairs — can tell you that sometimes, a little more elbow room is desired when admiring the works of more than 200 exhibitors from all over the world. The Armory organizers have taken note of this, but with a higher purpose in mind.

“The fair is a bit smaller, and we’ve asked for the booths to be larger,” says Armory co-founder Paul Morris. The reason??“People get into the habit of only buying at fairs. I think fairs are even more successful when people have seen the full artist’s statement in the gallery,” Morris says. “The closer we can come to offering the [art] dealer and the artist the opportunity to have a space that is as dignified and giving as a gallery space, the better off we are.”

The fair has therefore reduced the number of exhibitors they’ve allowed into the show in order to give each gallery participating greater room to breathe.

Other changes to this year’s fair include a new collaboration with the art website Paddle8.com, which allows approved users to view the Armory Show offerings online.

“For us, as the managers and directors of a great international art fair, it’s our duty to increase the opportunities for our exhibitors to get as much access to an international public as possible,” explains Noah Horowitz, managing director for The Armory.

That means a larger audience will have the chance to view the show’s featured Nordic artists (19 exhibitors were selected to represent the region), as well as the work of the 2012 Commissioned Artist, Theaster Gates. Gates, an artist and urban planner, will give the show its visual identity for the year. “As he put it,” says Morris, “he’ll be in the belly of the whale for three days at the fair.”

What is Paddle8.com?

Co-founder Alexander Gilkes explains: “It’s an online market. We look to enhance access to a curated selection of the world’s leading galleries and museums from which collectors can browse works in one place in the virtual environment.” The site also provides access “to insider opinions and streamlined services with shipping, insurance and installation.”