At the Armory Show, Artsy CEO Mike Steib Calls Out the Artists to Watch

The noted collector shares the up-and-coming talents and unsung veterans to keep your eyes on as anticipation builds for the annual New York fair’s most ambitious outing yet.

Photography by Vincent Tullo, courtesy of The Armory Show

Though enthusiasm for contemporary art has never felt more palpable, navigating a fair can be a daunting experience. “The art world feels intimidating to a lot of people,” Mike Steib, the CEO of Artsy, said in an interview. “You walk into a gallery or an art fair, and you just aren’t quite sure where to start.” Steib took the top job at the virtual art platform after building XO Group, the parent company of wedding planning mainstay The Knot, into a billion-dollar business. A passionate collector of work by emerging talents, he identified similar potential in the tight-knit art market, whose machinations—and major fairs—can feel like playing a blindfolded game of inside baseball to newcomers. 

Suffice it to say, Steib loves art. “I want everyone to be able to buy art with the same level of confidence that they buy other things,” he says of his role at Artsy. “And I want to help expand the art market so more galleries flourish and more artists can make a living.” He’s particularly excited about The Armory Show, whose 29th edition is making a splashy return to the Javits Center this week. Representing more than 225 global galleries and showcasing a staggering 800 artists, New York’s preeminent contemporary art fair is back with the same renewed enthusiasm and experimental edge as this past year’s edition thanks to an expanded curatorial platform imagined by executive director Nicole Berry and lead curators Eva Respini, Candice Hopkins, and Adrienne Edwards. 

Ahead of the show, Steib shares the artists to watch at this year’s edition exclusively with Surface. 

Image courtesy of Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles

Alec Egan

I’ve been collecting Alec’s work and watching his incredible development for a few years now. The bright colors, the maximalist patterns, and the intense sunsets turn these traditionally domestic views into something striking.


Image courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles

Sophie Treppendahl

I’ve recently acquired one of Sophie’s pieces and love the details, the lighting, and the subtle art history references in these maximalist wonders.

Image courtesy of Instituto de Visión, Bogotá

Abel Rodríguez (a.k.a. Master Mogaje Guihu)

Abel is an Indigenous Colombian artist only just getting his due. It amazes me how his drawings of the endangered flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest are so detailed that scientists tapped him to help with their research of the rainforest in the ‘80s.


Image courtesy of Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh

Lorna Robertson

Lorna is a Scottish artist who’s still relatively unknown to American audiences. She just had her first solo exhibition with Ingleby, so it’s an exciting moment to discover her work.


Image courtesy of Marlborough, New York/London

Yulia Pinkusevich

Pinkusevich’s works are both wildly detailed and yet vague. These new works, inspired by water and air, are especially intriguing. The artist was born and raised in the USSR and her family moved to the USA when the Soviet Union collapsed—an experience that influences her work.


Image courtesy of Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels/Knokke

Jaclyn Conley

I’m drawn to Conley’s paintings because of her unique way of smearing and swirling the paint into daubs of color that somehow blend into portrayals of people, landscapes, and chaotic worlds. This work is particularly exciting and seems to be a new direction for her. It takes on art historical imagery, clearly referencing Breughel’s famous 16th-century painting The Hunters in the Snow.

Image courtesy of Miles McEnery Gallery, New York

Annie Lapin

Annie’s solo booth with Shulamit Nazarian in 2021 was a huge hit, so I’m excited to see her back this year with Miles McEnery. She has a fresh and distinctive style that speaks to our reality of being oversaturated with imagery.

Image courtesy of Nino Mier Gallery, New York/Los Angeles/Brussels

Jake Longstreth

This is a favorite of mine from Nino Mier’s roster. Jake Longstreth’s paintings feature these incredible natural landscapes dotted (or sometimes dominated) by the presence of us humans. His work often makes me feel like I’m standing in California, thousands of miles away.


Image courtesy P420, Bologna

Irma Blank

This late artist isn’t super well-known or celebrated in the United States yet, but I’ve always loved the meditative quality of her work. It’s exciting to see her art in New York and receiving long-overdue attention.

Image courtesy of Southern Guild, Cape Town

Zizipho Poswa

Really excited to see this gallery and this artist at The Armory. Zizipho Poswa is inspired by elements of womanhood and her South African upbringing, including Xhosa rituals and traditional hairstyles.


Image courtesy of Tandem Press, Madison

Jeffrey Gibson

This is a new screenprint and collage work premiering at the fair—it’s such an important moment for Gibson, having been selected to represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale in 2024. I personally can’t wait to see what he does next.


Image courtesy of Cob, London

Tahnee Lonsdale

Tahnee Lonsdale is an awesome figurative painter with a very distinctive style. The newest works have more dynamic, dimensional figures. I’m looking forward to seeing them and this evolution of her practice.


Image courtesy of Sow & Tailor, Low Angeles

Kayla Witt

Witt creates these hyper-realistic window paintings that are ever-so-slightly “off,” generating a sense of anxiety. There’s a skepticism and humor I really enjoy in her work.


Image courtesy of OCHI, Los Angeles

Yasmine Nasser Diaz

This artist burns velvet to etch out depictions of South West Asian and North African women and nonbinary figures, a process I find fascinating. The figures are dancing for her solo presentation with OCHI this year while commenting on religion, gender, and third-culture identity.

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