About a dozen fairs are taking place this week in New York, and although it’s been experiencing a lot of competition lately, especially since the arrival of Frieze NY, The Armory Show is still New York’s premier art fair. This year it features a stunning total of 205 exhibitors from 36 countries, and among them is, for the fourth time, Brussels’ Rodolphe Janssen gallery. We had a short but sweet chat with gallery founder Rodolphe Janssen about this 22nd edition, art fair food, shipping costs, and more.
Why did you choose to be the Armory show?
This is actually already the fourth time we are participating in The Armory Show. It’s just the best fair in New York in the winter, and together with ADAA, it brings a lot of American collectors to the city.
I assume participating in an art fair in NYC is complicated when it comes to logistics and high costs, is it a risk? Why is it worth it?
Yes, indeed. It is always a challenge to participate in a NYC fair, but it has proven to be worth it. Shipping costs are high but it really is the best place to meet collectors, new ones as well as old ones.
How did you decide what to show? What are you showing and why?
I always start working on preparing a fair six months in advance. I speak with my artists to see which strong works are available. I also try to put a focus on the artists whose works are being shown at institutional shows at the same time as the fair. This year we present works by David Adamo, Davide Balula, Sayre Gomez, Charles Harlan, Sean Landers, Adam McEwen, Torjørn Rødland, Gert & Uwe Tobias and Betty Tompkins.
Usually we go for the white cube setting, because that’s also what my Brussels gallery looks like.
How many art fairs do you do each year?
We participate in about five fairs a year. Usually we always go to Armory, Art Brussels, Frieze NY and Art Basel Miami. But each year we also test out new places. Last year we tried out Artissima and Art Dubai, and this year we’ll check out MiArt in Milan. If we find potential in the new fairs, then we may decide to go more than once.
What do you like /dislike about art fairs?
I like meeting collectors, travelling to nice cities with great restaurants and good hotels, discovering local galleries and museums, … But I dislike the art fair food and of course the shipping bills!
You’re probably very busy, but are there some booths that you will definitely check out at the fair?
I definitely will visit my Belgian friends: Sorry We’re Closed and Albert Baronian, which are participating as well. Plus, The Armory Show features a section with solo projects and a focus on African perspectives, which should be interesting.
Besides the fair, are there any other places you’d recommend visitors to check out in New York?
Make sure to see Marcel Broodthaers at MoMa, Fischli and Weiss at The Guggenheim, and Louisa Gagliardi at Tomorrow. Additionally, I of course recommend my own artists’ shows in NYC at the moment: Adam McEwen at Friedrich Petzel, David Adamo at Peter Freeman, and Betty Tompkins at Flag Art Foundation.
The Armory Show, runs until 6 March