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Papuan (1983) by Pacita Abad. Courtesy: Tina Kim Gallery

The Art Show, the annual art fair (and one of the originals), hosted by the Art Dealers Association, threw open its doors at the Park Avenue Armory last night to welcome the usual crowds of veteran collectors and connoisseurs, many from the nearby Upper East Side neighborhood. While that gives the fair a local feeling, this year’s edition—celebrating the event’s 60th anniversary—is the largest iteration of the show to date. With 78 member galleries participating, there is a vast range of work to take in, but the neatly laid-out floor plan with just a few vertical aisles makes the fair easy to navigate. 

Like most other art fairs impacted by the pandemic, The Art Show went on hiatus during the peak of the pandemic (it was one of the last major fairs to take place IRL in 2020, when it was held earlier in the calendar) but is now back in full force. And the enthusiasm at the packed reception was palpable.

The art collector and actor Cheech Marin—who is part of the art fair programming this year, as the headliner speaker—was on hand for the opening party on Wednesday night, which benefits the Henry Street Settlement on New York City’s Lower East Side. His discussion Thursday evening, with Artnet News Editor-in-Chief Andrew Goldstein, will focus on how he formed one of the preeminent collections of Chicano art in the world, and his newly opened museum, The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of Riverside Art Museum—familiarly called The Cheech—in California.

Also in attendance Wednesday night was MoMA chairman emeritus and leading collector Agnes Gund, collector and FLAG Art Foundation founder Glenn Fuhrman, as well as newly reinstalled Art Basel director Noah Horowitz and Armory Show director Nicole Berry. Here are just a few of the must-see highlights that caught our eye as we prowled the aisles.

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(1983)

PACITA ABAD

Booth: Tina Kim Gallery, New York 

What It Costs: $200,000

Why It’s Special: The sun goddess-like central figure depicted on this ornate quilt is embellished with cowrie shells, mirrors and Nepali beads, reflecting the techniques Abad picked up during her extensive travels in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, as well as throughout the U.S.

The 7.5-foot-tall Papuan is on hold for a public institution, according to the gallery, which dedicated its entire booth to the solo presentation by the Filipino-born artist. Abad (1946-2004) will be the subject of a traveling retrospective, opening at the Walker Arts Center in spring 2023, followed by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and an as-yet-unannounced New York museum in 2024. Other museums that have acquired her work include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Tate in London.

—Katya Kazakina

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