From the category archives:

Art Fair

State Of The Union At SPRING/BREAK

by Emily Colucci on March 2, 2017
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With its emphasis on supporting artists and curators rather than commercial galleries, SPRING/BREAK Art Show is typically the highlight of the exhausting Armory week frenzy. While the verdict is still out on many of the other fairs, I can confidently report that this one does not disappoint.

Oddly enough, the reason for this, seems to be at the nexus of the fair’s identity—artist-focused, themed curation. The official theme is Black Mirror, which as the curators describe it, is about seeing oneself through a lens. But for this show, that usually translates into ruminations on demographics and politics or rather, politics based on demographics. It’s reflective of a time in which most of us in the arts community are far more terrified by anything the president has to say or do than by the technological dystopia presented in the Netflix blockbuster Black Mirror.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Survive Art Fair Hell With Bushwick Punx and Georgia O’Keeffe

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 27, 2017
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It is hell week for the art world. What used to be referred to as “Armory Week” is now a beast spanning more art fairs than anyone has time or energy for. Now that NADA has joined the fray, it’s likely going to be more stressful, but at least slightly less soul-crushing.

To help navigate this mess, we’ve picked out the week’s highlights: the art fairs you really should see, as well as gallery, DIY, and museum events to help recover from the convention center lighting.

These events include an artist talk from photographer Elle Perez at  Daniel Cooney Fine Art on Tuesday, a peek at Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal style at the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, and the Silent Barn’s Paper Jazz Small Press Festival all weekend long in Bushwick.

Wear comfortable shoes. Bring aspirin. We’ll get through this together.

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Material Light on Substance, Heavy With Dick Pics

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 10, 2017
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Is a bigger fair necessarily a better fair?

Having doubled in floorspace since last year, Material Art Fair feels like a totally different beast. The fair has moved to two lower floors of Expo Reforma, with larger booths arranged around “courtyards” for conversation and concessions. There are plenty of new exhibitors, and much of the work looks far more market-friendly than the wares last year.

Opinions remain divided over whether or not these changes are a good thing…

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Slideshow: Zona MACO, The Art Fair Where Commerce and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 9, 2017
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Last year, I remarked that Zona MACO excels at being an “average” art fair.

I stand by that opinion this year, with the clarification that it feels a bit like the average of many art fairs: a bit of NADA, a big dollop of Design Miami, a dose of Basel, and flavors of Frieze. That makes sense, as it’s by far Latin America’s largest and most important art fair—many of the curated identities of fairs in hyper-saturated US markets come from necessity of branding when there’s competition.

And like I said last year, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though this year, due to some floor plan rearrangements and somewhat less cohesive booths, the curated sections Zona MACO Sur and Nuevas Propuestas felt a bit underwhelming. That might also owe to (what seemed like) an increase in advertisers’ kiosks and design, publication, and food vendors, comparatively.

The good news: the quality of work in the General Section improved tremendously. Sure, there were many repeat, predictable artist, but the recent political turns in both Mexico and the United States haven’t gone unnoticed in the art world, thankfully. Scattered among the rows of polite abstraction, there was plenty of outright political work, particularly when compared to the December fairs in Miami.

Below, a sampling of the what’s on view, beginning with some of the more overtly political works.

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The Miami Art Fairs: Final Thoughts and Reflections

by Paddy Johnson on December 6, 2016
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A few stray observations now that the fairs are over.

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Satellite Remains a Bright Star in Gloomy Art Week

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 3, 2016
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Satellite brings its fun brand of immersive, DIY-centric art fair making to South Beach. Don’t worry, it’s still a weird and wonderful outlier in an otherwise crappy week.

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Seeking Highlights at Pulse

by Paddy Johnson on December 3, 2016
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What kind of dealer is the Pulse Art Fair trying to attract? It’s unclear, and that in combination with years of accepting whoever had the booth fee, has had an impact. Without a recognizable identity, the fair will continue to struggle to hold onto its stronger exhibitors and attract new ones.

That much is on view right now, as Pulse might be most notable for its regrettable art: greeting card-esque floral photographs, a cheeseball sculpture of motorcycles cuddling, and a red enamel figure sitting on top of shiny mountain of metal. Given this showing, it’s no surprise most dealers we spoke to seemed anxious. Even the spin seemed more transparent than usual “I think the fair’s even better than last year,” one dealer told me, but then failed to name a single booth I should visit.

On that front, I can do better. As with every fair, there are few highlights. Those after the jump.

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NADA on Top

by Paddy Johnson on December 3, 2016
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A cab driver told me there are fewer people in Miami beach this year due to Zika fears. An artist told me there were fewer artists in Miami due to Donald Trump’s election. Everyone tells me they have fair fatigue. But dealers, willing to refute any and all evidence to the contrary, say their fairs have been busy.

Whether or not anyone is suffering as a result, one thing is certain: attendance is way off from last year. There are fewer people in the streets and at the fairs across the board. Certainly this was the case at NADA yesterday, which was uncharacteristically quiet. Not that this seemed to bother the dealers. Most were relaxed and seemed content, having made their sales the day before. This stood in stark contrast to Pulse, where even the slightest expression of interest, inspired long sales pitches and desperate looks. I felt bad for them.

A slower pace and fewer jovial parties from most of the fairs came as a welcome relief, even if they were a result of election malaise. There are a few more grey hairs amongst all of us—including this reporter—and the giant, all day, courtyard parties at NADA have been replaced by a swag table and cafe that now serves fancy donuts.

The spirit, though, remains the same. More than any other fair, NADA’s dealers are defined by an investment in art that’s so intense it seems to demand generosity. For example, when visiting the Invisible Exports booth, Benjamin Tischer made a point introducing me to Jerry the Marble Faun at Situations. “That’s a rabbit hole you have to go down!” he beamed as he told me about the ceramics made by the gardener for Mrs. Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale. The two were decedents of Jacqueline Kennedy and famous for shunning the world after high society wouldn’t accept their eccentricities.

Tischer enthusiasm wasn’t an isolated incident. MacGregor Harp at 247365 recommended I see Raul de Nieves at The Company, because his beaded figurative sculptures look infused with joy and dance. And Phil Grauer, a NADA board member and partner at CANADA, offered some context. The fair wants to be more inclusive. Last year’s venue experiment with Fountainbleau didn’t work out that well for that reason. The hotel wouldn’t make more space available to the fair at a reasonable cost, so they were forced to reduce the size. It created an atmosphere they didn’t like, so they returned to The Deauville this year with the objective of offering more space to more dealers.

The efforts paid off. The fair looks and feels better. Perhaps most importantly, though, the quality art to crap ratio is better than anywhere else, making NADA the model, and fair to beat.

Highlights after the jump.

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UNTITLED: Bright Lights, Dim Content

by Paddy Johnson on November 30, 2016
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Evidence that the election results have had any impact on the art fairs were scant at best yesterday. Artist Jason Lazarus told me he kept hearing that this was the year artists would skip, but as I walked around UNTITLED., I didn’t notice any fewer artists then usual. I witnessed plenty of sales, though, and the dealers mostly seemed pleased. Collectors are aware of their upcoming tax windfall.

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The AFC Selected Miami Art Fair Guide

by Paddy Johnson on November 29, 2016
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Most people we know are flying into Miami and staying for only a couple of days. In our opinion, this is the best way to see the fairs—quickly enough to minimize the pain. But those who stay for only two or three days won’t be able to see all the fairs, so the trip requires some advance research. Our guide will help with that. We’re not listing all the fairs—only the ones worth your time and money.

On the subject of money, to those readers who are coming specifically to purchase work, a special request: consider buying more of it this week from emerging and middle tier galleries. A lot of these galleries are launching fantastic shows but continue to struggle. If we don’t help them out, that end of the market is going to die. If you don’t want to limit your conversations to what Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are making, spend a little more on some new artists. You’ll be glad you did.

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