12 Art and Design Events in NYC This Spring

Spring 2019 is here and with it come art events and fairs to check out while visiting NYC

March, the month that signals the arrival of the NCAA men’s basketball championships, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—and spring—also ushers in a heady lineup of major fairs devoted to art and design. So, clear the calendar from now through May, grab a sturdy pair of walking shoes (and a credit card) and make a beeline for an art fair.

As the world’s largest continent, it’s fitting that Asia gets its own festival of art and culture. Celebrating its 10th year, Asia Week, March 13–23, unfurls under numerous roofs and encompasses six auction houses, galleries showcasing work from 48 top-tier international dealers and shows at 16 New York and surrounding area cultural institutions. Expect to see museum-quality work of all periods from India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan. Among the eye-catching examples are a rare Tang Dynasty glazed stoneware pillow of a lion devouring its prey from Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art and an oddly cuddly-looking volcanic stone rendering of Kubera, Hindu mythology’s Lord of Wealth, from Buddhist Art. And don’t miss the stylish 18th-century suit of samurai armor from Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art.

The vast Architectural Digest Design Show at Piers 92 and 94, brims with enticing ideas March 21–24. Observing its 18th year, the show addresses every aspect of renovation and home decor. Browse displays of the latest traditional and contemporary furniture, lighting, rugs and textiles. Check out handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, glassware and textiles, including one of a kinds. And bask in the attention lavished on kitchens and baths. You’ll see new products wherever you look, like vanities pairing oak and handcrafted concrete from Native Trails, a maker of eco-friendly products. Also innovative: a line of self-adhesive wall murals inspired by American artists like Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat from Tempaper, a maker of removable wallpaper.

The Affordable Art Fair NYC returns to the Metropolitan Pavilion March 28-31, welcoming local, national and international exhibitors, who showcase original contemporary work from hundreds of contemporary artists. Browse the diverse and carefully curated selection of artworks, and enjoy the friendly and relaxed atmosphere filled with hands-on workshops, kids’ activities and personal shopping experiences. Filled with thousands of handpicked original paintings, stunning sculptures, print editions and more, there is something to suit every taste and budget.

Join Artexpo New York, April 4–7, as it champions the transformative power of art. Each year, thousands of art industry insiders flock to Artexpo in search of the art and artists that will shape trends in galleries worldwide. The art fair has hosted the likes of Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring and Leroy Neiman during its 41-year history. Hosting more than 35,000 avid art enthusiasts annually, it’s the largest international gathering of qualified trade buyers—including gallery owners and managers, art dealers, interior designers, architects, corporate art buyers, and art and framing retailers. The curatorial theme for 2019 is [TRANSFORM].

Moniker International Art Fair, May 1-5 in NoHo, is an antidote to traditional art fairs in that it has interactive elements and immersive, artist-forward environments created by established and emerging talents. The theme of the sophomore edition of the fair is Collective Responsibility. Artists this year have been selected for their revolutionary techniques and commitment to global responsibility.

Twenty-two galleries and nonprofit spaces make up the tightly curated Superfine! NY fair, May 1-5 in the Metapacking District. Contemporary art is on view and up for sale. Prices vary, and the range is broad for novice as well as experienced collectors. 

As a showcase for up to 1,000 international art galleries, exhibitors and artists, Frieze New York takes over Randall’s Island Park, May 2-5. All mediums are represented, and ancillary events include talks and performances.

At the 47th annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House, May 2-31, top interior designers transform a sprawling six-story Upper East Side town house into a showcase for trendsetting ideas for the home, with room after room of fine furnishings, art and technology. This year’s house, at 36-38 E. 74th St., built in 1920, is a 40-foot double-width, 12,425-square-foot Georgian residence, currently on the market for $30 million. The show raises funds for the nonprofit Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, founded in 1915, and its after-school and enrichment programs for more than 11,000 youths in the Bronx, ages 6-18. 

The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns for its fifth anniversary edition May 3–5 at Industria, a large photo studio and event space at 775 Washington St. in Manhattan’s West Village, two blocks south of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The 2019 edition of 1-54—named for the notion of one continent with 54 countries—welcomes 24 galleries from Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Kenya, Martinique, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, collectively exhibiting the work of more than 65 artists.

At The Other Art Fair, May 3-5 at the Brooklyn Expo Center, collectors buy directly from 130 independent and emerging artists. Prices start at $150.

Ninety exhibitors from around the world, including 12 new participants, attend the third iteration of TEFAF New York Spring, May 3-7 at the Park Avenue Armory. The fair is dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design. TEFAF is an acronym for the European Fine Art Foundation.

The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit is a twice-a-year happening every Memorial Day weekend and the weekend that follows (May 25-27 and June 1-2, 2019) and every Labor Day weekend and the weekend that follows that (Aug. 31, Sept. 1-2 and Sept. 7-8, 2019). The event showcases fine artists and craft artisans from around the New York metropolitan area, the nation and the world. Attendees are a cosmopolitan mix, including art lovers, tourists, faculty and students from the area’s many schools and professionals such as interior designers. Please note that this show is a sidewalk show, not a street fair, on University Place, starting at East 13th St. and continuing south along the east side of Washington Square Park to West 3rd St. The southern end of the show encompasses Schwartz Plaza, (aka Bobkin Lane), between New York University’s Shimkin Hall and Bobst Library.

So give a cheer that it’s spring—and head for a fair.


Farah Lopez
About the author

Farah Lopez is the Marketing Editor and a French-Canadian transplant living in SoBro (South Bronx). Follow her food-o...