Add an unexpected attraction: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s mega-yacht, Eclipse (not open to visitors) moored nearby.
The piers are best accessed by cab, a brisk walk along the Hudson River’s walkway, or by shuttle bus running from Chelsea.
Pier 94 houses 146 contemporary art galleries. This year’s special Focus section is art from the U.S., which inspired artworks made with bullets (David Cole at Dodge Gallery) and cigarettes (Duke Riley at Magnan Metz) as well as canvases with copper leaf background oxidized by the artist’s urine (courtesy of Elise Adibi at Churner and Churner).
Here are some additional suggestions:
2. Galerie Laurent Godin: Note the giant sculpture of an axe-wielding lumberjack guarding the booth entrance. Inside, David Kramer pokes easy fun at the art world. “...You won’t have Damien Hirst to kick around any longer,” is written on a splashy abstract canvas.
3. Andrehn-Schiptjenko: Swedish artist Tobias Bernstrup’s sculpture spelling “Hope” suggests anything but. Made of wood and cardboard, it contains fragments of broken bridges, shattered beams and a bus suspended precariously in mid-air. Asking price: $46,000.
4. Eleven Rivington: The gallery quickly sold out its entire booth of 20 tiny figurative paintings during the VIP preview of candle flames by TM Davy. (Range: $2,500 to $3,500).
5. Victoria Miro: A fragile sculpture of a globe made by Sarah Sze, who will represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale this year, has already sold for an undisclosed price. Other works for sale include paintings by Barnaby Furnas and Chris Ofili.
Walk over to Pier 92 for the Modern section of the fair with 61 exhibitors, where Picasso prints hang near nudes by Tom Wesselmann and Sol LeWitt sculptures.
1. Galleria d’Arte Maggiore has paintings by Morandi, Fernand Leger and Giorgio de Chirico selling for as much as $1.2 million.
2. Chowaiki & Co.: The New York gallery has pegged its presentation to the Armory Show centennial with works by Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp and Edward Hopper, who participated in the inaugural show, and contemporary artists like Vik Muniz and Mike Bidlo. Gems include Dora Maar’s photo of Picasso’s Guernica (not for sale). Prices range from $5,000 to $3.8 million.
3. Andrew Edlin: A scale replica of the Coney Island amusement park offers wonderful fun. Press a button, and the Ferris wheel rotates; another activates the miniature subway. Tom Duncan took 18 years to build the model, which is imaginative and detailed, right down to the bathers on the beach and tiny hot air balloons soaring above. Asking price: $300,000.
4. Mazzoleni Arte Moderna: Postwar Italian art is on view, including slashed colorful paintings by Lucio Fontana, burnt and cracked canvases by Alberto Burri and one exquisite Piero Manzoni. Prices range from $1 million to $1.5 million.
Across town on Park Avenue, the annual Art Show organized by the Art Dealers Association of America is rich in single- artist booths.
1. David Zwirner: This booth features little-known 1930s oil paintings by Milton Avery depicting circus scenes.
2. Marianne Boesky: Find some exuberant works by Salvatore Scarpitta (1919-2007), including a sculpture of a race car and pieces made with skis and sleds.
3. Ronald Feldman: Electrical wires and switches look glamorous in the painting and sculptures by Kelly Heaton here. Each piece emits humming sounds that bring to mind crickets on a summer night.
5. Mitchell-Innes and Nash: Jean Arp’s gleaming sculptures, drawings and reliefs take center stage. The works span the 1920s to 1960s and cost as much as $2 million.
With at least 11 art fairs taking place in New York through March 10, here are a few more options:
Volta NY: The Armory Show’s younger sibling, it’s an invitational show of solo projects by emerging artists. This year it features 95 international galleries -- as well as a new SoHo location. 82 Mercer Street; http://www.ny.voltashow.com/.
Independent: Organized as an alternative to the more corporate art fairs, this hip event returns to the former Dia building in Chelsea for the fourth year. Its 40 exhibitors include some of the most prominent galleries and non-profit institutions in the emerging-art sector. 548 West 22nd Street; http://www.independentnewyork.com.
Moving Image: In its third year, the fair focuses on contemporary video art with projects by 30 international artists. 269 Eleventh Avenue (Waterfront New York Tunnel); http://www.moving-image.info.
SCOPE New York: The fair focuses on emerging art, bringing 55 galleries from 18 countries and 20 “breeder” galleries. 312 West 33rd Street; http://www.scope-art.com.
Salon Zurcher: The fifth edition of this mini fair is organized by downtown Galerie Zurcher and includes only six participants -- all from outside New York City. Information: 33 Bleecker Street; http://www.galeriezurcher.com/salon-zurcher.
Russian Pavilion NY: The inaugural event will feature 18 emerging and established artists from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Baltic regions. 25 Central Park West (March 8 through 11); http://www.russianartpavilion.com.
The Art Show runs at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan through March 10. Information: http://www.artdealers.org/artshow.
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