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Benjamin Tischer

New Strategies Emerge and Diverge For Surviving Art Fair Costs

by Paddy Johnson on May 3, 2017
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Art fairs aren’t cheap. Participating galleries take on additional real estate costs, not to mention shipping and staffing expenses. These costs add up. As a result, some dealers in the emerging market are starting to renegotiate the common 50/50 commission split between artists and galleries.

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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a few more grey hairs amongst all of us—including this reporter—and the giant, all day, courtyard parties at NADA have been replaced by a swag table and cafe that now serves fancy donuts.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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The Art F City Paddle8 Auction is Live!

by The AFC Staff on February 7, 2014
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Good news. The Art F City auction is live on Paddle8 and we’re employing every form of digital media to let people know! That means you’ve got through Monday, February 17th at NOON sharp to bid on all live items before the heading to Postmasters Gallery for the live auction with CK Swett. You have through Monday, February 17th at TEN PM to bid on silent lots.

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Tickets to The Art F City Roast on Sale Now!

by The AFC Staff on January 10, 2014
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This February 17th, get ready for The Art F City Art World Roast Auction and Awards (AFCAWRAaA): a night of crowning the worst and auctioning off the best. (Basically, it’s like the art prom, but everyone is Carrie). Prepare yourself for roasting and ass gadgetry; this year, our gilded awards will take the form of golden butt plugs.

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Once Again NADA Opens to Strong Sales

by Paddy Johnson on December 7, 2012
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I keep hearing that dealers don’t ever tell press the truth about sales, but when absolutely everyone in a 50-foot radius has the same story, I think we can draw some basic conclusions. By almost all accounts, NADA did fabulously yesterday. “This morning it was like a feeding frenzy,” Invisible Exports dealer Benjamin Tischer told a group of friends as his partner Risa Needleman huddled in a corner of her booth nibbling on something greasy from a paper bag. “Have you eaten today?” I asked her, though the answer was clear. “No!” Needleman chirped resolutely.

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Ron Athey of Solar Anus Fame To Perform This Friday

by Paddy Johnson on December 13, 2011
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“Don’t Google his name before you go to bed,” Invisible Exports’s Benjamin Tischer advised me last night at a NurtureArt party. He was speaking of Ron Athey, an extreme performance artist who will be performing Friday evening at Allen Street Studios. Athey, he told me, isn’t exactly for the squeamish.

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