To the Piers! Previewing the 2012 Armory Show

“SCANDINAVIAN PAIN,” reads a neon pink sign hanging over the main champagne bar in Pier 94, along the Hudson River, at the 2012 Armory Show. It’s a work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, and it sold before the fair even opened to Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. (Daniel Birnbaum: always one step ahead of the game.)

VIPs—at least those with the proper level VIP card—began began snapping up flutes from underneath Mr. Kjartansson’s sign at noon today, then strolled out into the aisles, which are a bit wider this year than last: Armory Show founding director Paul Morris slashed the number of exhibitors from about 280 t0 230, and architects Bade Stageberg Cox reduced the number of aisles. Consequently, booths are slightly more spacious too.

It’s warm and almost airy in here at the moment—no mean feat for a fair staged in a forbidding industrial pier. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a superb 61 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City—an extra incentive for people to take the day off to spend a bit of time with, and money on, art. Another batch of VIPs—albeit slightly less important VIPs—began arriving at 2 p.m.

All week, Gallerist will have more reports from the fair and its many satellites. For now, a brief preview of the Armory in the slide show above.

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