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Armory Week: Get Ready for an Art Glut

Art dealers, blue chip collectors, artists, art press, art hangers-on and lots of people decked out in totally bizarre outfits have all descended on Manhattan for the annual extravaganza of art shopping known as Armory Week. There are more than a dozen fairs that run through the weekend -- including Pulse, Scope and Volta -- but the Mack Daddy of them all is the venerable Armory Show, a sprawling arrangement of 285 exhibitors spread out over two piers on the west side of Manhattan.

It's positively mind-boggling -- and a fine opportunity to see contemporary art from galleries from Tel Aviv to São Paulo. Here are three pieces not to miss at the Armory Show:

Shaun Gladwell at Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne), Booth #1157

A stunning video piece titled "Apology to Roadkill" shows the artist decked out in black biker gear cradling the limp body of a dead kangaroo on the side of an Australian road. The scenery is bright and dusty, at odds with Gladwell's dark, shining motorcycle gear (complete with full-face helmet), which gives him the appearance of a post-modern angel of death. It's worth watching more than once.

Malick Sidibé at Galería Oliva Arauna (Madrid), Booth #1061

A striking series of photographic portraits -- all in black and white -- document a largely well-to-do segment of Mali society dating back to the 1960s. Stylish men and women in a mix of traditional and contemporary garb strike poses for the camera, reflecting a culture that was beginning to find its identity in the wake of colonialism.

Tomasz Kowalski at Carlier | Gebauer (Berlin), Booth 535

Morbidly surreal situations meet Victorian fustiness in the vivid canvases of the Poland-born Kowalksi. His imagery -- chock full of otherworldly figures -- seems to draw as much from folk art as it does from 16th century figures such as Pieter Bruegel. Weirdly compelling.

Vote for your favorite Armory Week exhibitor.

Leave a comment below about your plans for the fairs and we’ll randomly select someone to receive a Jen Bekman art fair survival kit.

And be sure to check out the art bus before you hop on. Watch the video.

Shaun Gladwell's video piece "Apology to Roadkill"
Shaun Gladwell's video piece "Apology to Roadkill"
Painting by Poland-born artist Tomasz Kowalski
Painting by Poland-born artist Tomasz Kowalski
A Yellow theme at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery's booth
A Yellow theme at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery's booth
João Pedro Valle's piece "There's No Place Like Home"
João Pedro Valle's piece "There's No Place Like Home"
Painting by South African artist William Kentridge
Painting by South African artist William Kentridge
Clarivel, 2010 by Mickalene Thomas
Clarivel, 2010 by Mickalene Thomas
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