During an ambiguous time for the economy, the 2016 Armory Show was a clear success. The market for contemporary art in the past decade has seen tremendous growth. While the interest in the market is still there, it seems to have finally hit a steady plateau. For The Armory Show this meant most acquisitions were made in either established high performing artists or up and coming artists with lower price points. Galleries who showcased mid-range artists did not see as much success as the latter. The top selling artists at The Armory Show were capturing six figure price tags for the show’s best exhibitors. Here’s what was haute at The Armory Show this year.
1 Leila Heller Gallery
You probably know American artist Ed Ruscha as one of the quintessential icons of the Pop Art movement. His work with text has been able to captivate the voice of pop culture across generations. This weekend Leila Heller Gallery sold one of his works on paper for a cool $550,000. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well in this case a word is worth thousands of dollars.
2 Mazzoleni Galleria d’Arte
With locations in London and Turin Mazzoleni Galleria d'Arte has been able to tap into a affluent clientele in Europe. Over the past three years the gallery has paved their way into the American market at The Armory Show's Pier 92, and finally moved to the contemporary crowd at Pier 94 this year. This year the gallery focused their efforts on two talented artists NUnzio and Alberto Burri. Their selection paid off with a sale of $500,000 for a piece by Alberto Burri. Officially making them one of the top selling exhibitors this year
3 Sean Kelly Gallery
Sean Kelly had a clear winner this year; Kehinde Wiley. The contemporary portrait painter is known for his portrayal of African Americans in heroic poses. Wiley seems to be an increasingly better bet each year. This fair Sean Kelly sold two of his works; Equestrian Portrait of Philip III (2016) which sold for $300,000 and the sculpture Bound (2015) for $375,000. Not bad Sean Kelly, not bad at all.
4 Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Ugo Rondinone was Galerie Eva Presenhuber's top selling artist this year. The Swiss-born mixed-media artist is known for his work testing the boundaries between fiction and reality. As his brand continues to expand internationally, his prices continue to increase. His sculpture sold at the Zurich gallery's booth for an impressive $350,000.
5 Timothy Taylor Gallery
Making two notable sales at The Armory Show 2016 is the London contemporary Timothy Taylor Gallery. Staying true to their native England the gallery showcased the work of YBA Richard Patterson at the fair this year. Their patriotism paid off as they sold two of the artists' top works. Soaper (2015) sold for $250,000 andChristina with Dutch Door (2015) sold for $100,000. Let's just say it wasn't a bad year for Timothy Taylor Gallery.