Lauren Haynes to Curate Focus Section of 2019 Armory Show


Curator Lauren Haynes

 

THE CURATORIAL TEAM for the 2019 Armory Show was announced this week. Lauren Haynes is curating the New York City art fair’s Focus section, which is “devoted to solo- and dual-artist presentations by relevant and compelling artists.” Last year, Ryan Lee Gallery presented a solo show of works by Emma Amos in the Focus section.

Haynes serves as curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentionville, Ark. Earlier this year, she organized the museum’s presentation of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” Before joining Crystal Bridges, Haynes was associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. She is a 2018 Center for Curatorial Leadership fellow.

The Armory Show also announced Sally Tallant, director of the Liverpool Biennial, is organizing the Platform section, which is dedicated to large-scale installations and performances. The Curatorial Leadership Summit is being chaired by Dan Byers, director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. The inaugural summit held earlier this year, was organized by Naomi Beckwith,

An emporium of art buying, public programming, and artist commissions, the Armory Show is marking its 25th anniversary. Each year about 200 galleries from around the world present 20th and 21st century art by highly regarded figures and new emerging voices. The Armory Show is March 7-10, 2019, at Piers 92 & 94 in Manhattan. The VIP preview day is March 6.

FOR ITS FIRST SEVEN YEARS, Focus was geography-based and concentrated on smaller or newer galleries presenting work by emerging artists and artists with modest international exposure. In 2016, Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba were appointed curators of the Focus section. Grosse and Mutumba are co-founders of Contemporary And, an international platform exploring art from an African perspective.

Their vision, “Armory Focus: African Perspectives,” featured 15 galleries showing single artists and special artist commissions presented throughout the fair by eight young, emerging artists “that are challenging preconceptions surrounding the notion of ‘contemporary African art.’” The artists selected to participate were Kapwani Kiwanga, Emeka Ogboh, Lebohang Kganye, Karo Akpokiere, Ed Young, Athi-Patra Ruga, Jared Ginsburg, and Mame-Diara Niang. The programming also included three-day symposium featuring artists El Anatsui, Kapwani Kiwanga, and ruby onyinyechi amanze; curators Elvira Dyangani Ose and Zoe Whitley; and collector Pamela Joyner, among others.

After 2016, the Armory Show decided to rethink the Focus section and moved away the emphasis on geography, in order to provide “more opportunities for galleries to exhibit at The Armory Show at a subsidized rate.” The Armory Show notes that the number of galleries participating in the Focus section has since increased by 50 percent. In 2017, there were only 14 Focus galleries, one less than in 2016. This year’s fair included 28 galleries.

After 2016, the Armory Show decided to rethink the Focus section and moved away the emphasis on geography, in order to provide “more opportunities for galleries to exhibit at The Armory Show at a subsidized rate.”

In addition, the Armory Show ceased presenting commissioned artist projects under the umbrella of the Focus section. Those projects now fall under the purview of Platform. Launched in 2017, the new section is dedicated to large-scale artworks, installations, and site-specific commissions.

Although geography is no longer an organizing thread, each year the Focus section does have a theme. The concept for the upcoming 2019 edition, under the direction of Haynes, will be announced in the coming months. CT

 

TOP IMAGE: Lauren Haynes. Photo by Beth Hall, Courtesy Armory Show

 

BOOKSHELF
Lauren Haynes recently oversaw the presentation of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Crystal Bridges Museum. She also organized an “Alma Thomas” survey and “Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art” at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Both exhibitions accompanied by compelling catalogs.

 

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