Published: April 5, 2022
By Laura Beach, Editor At Large
NEW YORK CITY – The 68th Winter Show was off and running with a lively evening preview on March 31. With 60 exhibitors (an additional 9 are online only) from two continents, the fair rocks a new look and boasts plenty of variety, with 5,000 years’ worth of art, antiques and design to entertain the casual browser and connoisseur alike.
When Omicron forced the last-minute postponement of the legacy event normally mounted in late January at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, beneficiary East Side House Settlement (ESHS) and a show committee led by co-chairs Lucinda C. Ballard and Michael R. Lynch working with the fair’s executive director, Helen Allen, vowed to find a replacement venue and dates. The upshot is the wildly inventive 2022 show, staged at Madison Avenue and 61st Street in a space formerly occupied by the upscale retailer Barneys.
Staged on five floors – six if you count basement-level programs space – the presentation is unto itself. Most exhibitors have returned for their first in-person Winter Show in two years, but there the similarity to 2020 ends. Booths vary in configuration: narrow but deep or wide but shallow, rectangular or not, with windows or without, open and expansive or built around columns and other architectural encumbrances. Exhibitors met the imperative with admirable creativity.
The show signals its spirited departure from the norm with street-facing display windows created by members of its design committees and Ralph Harvard, an interior designer involved behind the scenes as a booth designer. Colorful, quirky and sourced from dealers, the windows are thoroughly of the moment.
Exhibitors posted a smattering of sales in the fair’s opening hours. It is never easy to move a show or change it dates, but this ensemble has embraced the challenge. Let’s hope efforts will be repaid with more transactions in the coming days.
The Winter Show will be home again in the elegant, comfortable surroundings of the Park Avenue Armory in January 2023. For now, this edgy newcomer reveals unfamiliar dimensions of a fair we thought we knew well.
The Winter Show continues at 660 Madison Avenue at 61st Street through April 10. Watch for a full review in a coming edition. For more on exhibitors and programs, including panel discussions and evening events, go to www.thewintershow.org.
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