Interview with Barbara Goodwin – Show director of The AVENUE Shows

by Liza Laserow

The Armory was built by New York State’s prestigious Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861.

Oil painting from Hayes Fine Art of Broadway. “Still Life of Fruit and Tazza on a Wooden Table” by english artist Edward Ladell 1821-1866.

Photograph from Holden Luntz Gallery: “Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger at The Factory” By Henry Benson from 1977. This edition was printed 2011

Barbara Goodwin, the show director of The AVENUE Shows tells me about her most recent show at the Armory: Antiques, Art & Design at The Armory. Its a bi-annual show hosted in the beautiful building called The Armory located at Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Street.

1. What is your background and when did you start with doing shows? Previous to working on the Show, I was the Marketing Director of both MUSEUMS Magazines and AVENUE magazine, where I also handled all of the events.  Antiques and art have always been a passion, so this is truly a great fit. AVENUE Media partnered with the Wendy Shows in September of 2008 to create the AVENUE/Wendy Shows, the first of which was held in December of 2008.  After that time,  The AVENUE Shows became a solo venture, which has continued onward and upward.  This was our 6th show at the Park Avenue Armory.

2. How come you decided to do antique shows?  Because it was a natural AVENUE brand extension and it enabled us to expand the mediums though with we deliver quality audiences. We are media and event company with outreach to affluent audiences all over the city and in the Hamptons: AVENUE magazine has been a strong brand presence in the city’s top zip codes for over 35 years; a significant contingent of readers are collectors who reside right in the vicinity of the Park Avenue Armory:  Readers spend an average of $125,000 a year on art and antiques. VENUE is part of Manhattan Media, which includes local properties such as New York Family, Our Town, West Side Spirit, Out Town Downtown, CityArts, Dan’s Papers and major events.  This gives considerable audience bandwidth.

3. Which is your favorite period? The show is designed to provide a wide variety of disciplines and eras.  From this master plan, my personal tastes have evolved to love everything with a history. My sense of diplomacy has been also been well-honed.

4. How many exhibitors are doing the show? We had 61 exhibitors in this show.

See exhibitors list:

5. A great mix of dealers. Is there anything you would like to add to the mix?  The mix is critical to why we succeed and how we have carved our identity as the high-quality, fun, shoppable show of each season, with a huge decorator and consumer following. With this variety, it all kind of clicks together in the right vibe; there is something for every interest. You can buy a piece of furniture and find the right accessories and lighting for it; you can buy a painting and find the right item to compliment this.  You can pair an 18th century French vitrine with a contemporary work of art; you might fancy deco silver and Georg Jensen jewelry.  We find more-and-more that show customers come in and purchase from more than one dealer. Building exhibitor categories is an on-going process. We had the strongest fine art selection to-date with this show; we had our first major photography exhibitor; we have without question the best selection of jewelry under one roof; we are very pleased with the mix.  But of course, there is a specific dealer with focus on antiques of Sweden et al, that is located on the 4th floor of 200 Lex, who would be a fabulous addition. (!!!)

6. The lectures seemed to be a huge hit. I really enjoyed the Collecting Art lecture. Do you think the lectures stimulate the buyers to purchase items at the show? Some of the lectures are structured to have specific relevance to what is offered at the show.  This year, we did something new with Best of Show: Designers Favorite Items, where Suzanna Salk moderated a panel of Ellie Cullman, Alexa Hampton and Todd Alexander Romano who all walked the show a day earlier and chose their favorite show items.  These were photographed and put together in a presentation that included info on the item and the exhibitor.  It was an amazing conversation among great minds, both in learning what they chose and why they chose it. So many great tips about how to use these items and it definitely brought people into those dealers’ booths afterward. To create excitement, at the entrance of the show, we also had an amazing Inspiration Gallery of decorated bulletin boards put together by 10 top designers, each reflecting their favorite items.  These items were chosen from our show Pinterest boards.

7. The most expensive object on the show? M.S. Rau Antiques had a selection of diamonds, including a green diamond that was priced at close to $1 million and a canary diamond valued at over $1 million as well as Monet and Renoir and Van Gogh paintings for over $1 million.   Martin du Louvre also had sculptures and Waterhouse & Dodd, Rehs Galleries Inc and Art Link International had paintings in that price range as well.

8. What are the plans for the next show? We will be back at the Armory for two shows in 2013:  The April Show takes place April 18-21. The fall show takes place October 10-13 and will continue to be the first major show of that season. Additionally, next month we will have a pre-holiday jewelry trunk show on November 10 & 11, featuring 10 jewelers with a selection from antique to contemporary.

Thank you so much Barbara for your time!