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The international contemporary art world is about to hit New York City like a ton of bricks. Several art fairs, with all their attendant hoopla, open in Manhattan next week. In addition to the big megillah on the Hudson River, the Armory Show 2005, we have scopeNewYork on West 52nd Street, Art Rock at Rockefeller Center, DiVA in Battery Park City and special group gallery openings sponsored by the TriBeCa Gallery Association and the Williamsburg Gallery Association (and while we're at it, "Greater New York 2005" opens at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Mar. 13-Sept. 26). A summary:

* The Armory Show 2005 unrolls on Piers 90 & 92 over the Hudson River at 12th Avenue and 50th and 52nd Streets, Mar. 11-14. The seventh annual edition of the super-hip contemporary art show presents an impressive 162 galleries from 39 cities around the world (the selection committee included dealers Massimo De Carlo, Maureen Paley, Emmanuel Perrotin, Jeffrey Poe, Lisa Spellman and David Zwirner) in a new and improved layout that promises larger booths. Business is expected to be brisk -- the fair says 2004 sales totaled $43 million.

Special events include Steve Powers' bakery (promising free cookies) at the Deitch Projects booth, Chris Verene's "Self-Esteem Salon," a project by Simon Lee called Bus Obscura (a passenger bus converted into a multiple aperture camera obsura), and live broadcasts from the fair on WPS1 radio. Most of the city's museums have scheduled recpetions to coincide with the fair, and VIPs are invited to private viewings at the homes 21 local collectors. The fair is sponsored by the international law firm, Clifford Chance, which is hosting a Business of Art Symposium on Mar. 11

The Armory Show opening gala on Mar. 10 benefits the Museum of Modern Art. Tickets start at $250; for info, call (212) 708-9680. General admission is $20.

* The fourth annual scopeNewYork art fair, featuring 75 exhibitors (plus live music in the lobby, a performance festival, something called "Cinema-scope" and a benefit auction) is slated for the Flatotel, 135 West 52nd Street, Mar. 11-14. Participating galleries range from 31 Grand, Acuna-Hansen, Andrew Edlin Gallery and Angell gallery to vlcker & freunde, W/O WALLS, Yancey Richardson Gallery and YOO Projects.

A pair of panel discussions, slated for 3 pm on Mar. 12 and Mar. 13, take up the subjects, respectively, of "Finding the Fund in Art" (with Artist Pension Trust director Pamela Auchincloss, NYU art & economics expert Michael Moses, Fernwood Art Investments president Michael Plummer and others) and "God in Art" (with art historian Linda Nochlin, artist Andres Serrano, critic John Yau and others). General admission is $10.

* Art Rock, a show of 10 solo art projects, opens at 30 Rockefeller Plaza at Rockefeller Center, Mar. 7-14. Organized by Clementine Gallery's Elizabeth Burke and Abby Messitte, Art Rock features both outdoor works and installations in custom-built structures on the plaza, including a mirror house by Rob Fischer (sponsored by Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles) and a diorama of a yeti in his lair by Marc Swanson (Bellwether, New York).

Other participating artists are Taylor McKimens (Clementine), Matthias Mller (Galerie Volker Diehl/Stellan Holm Gallery), Ivan Navarro (Roebling Hall), Richard Aldrich (Oliver Kamm), Ivan Witenstein (Derek Eller Gallery), Matt Johnson (Taxter & Spengemann), Sarah Oppenheimer (PPOW) and Trevor Appleson (Hales Gallery). Todd Oldham has designed "gateway lobbies" for the project. The installation is sponsored by the Cond Nast shopping magazines Lucky, Cargo and Domino, and hosted by Tishman Speyer Properties.

* The DiVA Digital and Video Art Fair opens at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 102 North End Avenue in Battery Park City, Mar. 11-13. Sponsored by Frere Independent, DiVA features presentations by 36 galleries, including Galerie Anne Barrault, Josee Bienvenu, Bitforms, Carl van Brunt, Ingalls & Associates, Lipanjepuntin, LMAK Projects, LUXE Gallery, Mizuma Art Gallery, mullerdechiara, Remy Toledo and Elga Wimmer. Panel discussions are slated for 1:30 pm on Mar. 11 (with Michael Rush and Christiane Paul) and Mar. 12 (with Florence Lynch, Steve Sachs and Carolee Schneemann). A shuttle bus from the Armory Show is promised.

* The TriBeCa Gallery Association is holding a joint opening on Mar. 9 from 6-8 pm. Among the attractions are the "Annual Video Marathon" at Art in General, Harriet Schorr's "Cytheria" paintings at Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts, recent paintings by Chuck Connelly at DFN Gallery, Michael Zansky's "American Panopticon" at Gigantic ArtSpace, "Vintage East Village" at Hal Bromm Gallery and the "Krappy Kamera" show at Soho Photo Gallery.

* The Williamsburg Gallery Association is sponsoring "After Hours," in which 23 area galleries are remaining open until 11 pm on Mar. 12.

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