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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a few more grey hairs amongst all of us—including this reporter—and the giant, all day, courtyard parties at NADA have been replaced by a swag table and cafe that now serves fancy donuts.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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With A Little Help From My Friends: Ellen Cantor’s ‘Pinochet Porn’ At MoMA

by Emily Colucci on November 3, 2016
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It’s quite a surprise that a film titled Pinochet Porn depicts a tender portrait of friendship. Granted, Ellen Cantor’s final film buries that theme under a shocking mélange of spank-heavy sex scenes, depressed clowns, descriptions of rape and torture over vintage Pepsi ads and disturbing archival footage of the Pinochet dictatorship, Hitler and September 11th. But looking beyond its violent and erotic imagery, the film is a celebration of a close-knit avant-garde community.

This became clear at the film’s premiere at MoMA on Monday night, part of the museum’s Modern Mondays film program. Playing to a sold-out theater, the screening also featured a post-film discussion between the Museum’s Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art Stuart Comer, Participant Inc.’s founding director Lia Gangitano, who appears in the film, and filmmaker John Brattin, who acted as Director of Photography. While this is common with MoMA’s screenings, it seemed particularly important on Monday. Firsthand accounts of the film’s production and posthumous completion, provided here by Gangitano and Brattin, seem irrevocably intertwined with any analysis or enjoyment of the film itself.

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NADA Highlights, Part 1

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 4, 2015
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Now in it’s 12th year, NADA Miami Beach is still full of surprises, even compared to younger satellite fairs. For the first time, NADA is taking place in the storied Fontainebleau hotel. Since 2009, the fair had been located in the nearby Deauville’s quirkier, seemingly grander mid-century ballrooms. Paddy had mixed feelings about that context, but I find myself missing it. The Fontainebleau’s more recently-renovated spaces feel a little more generic and paradoxically fancier but less glamorous. The ceiling is lower, there’s no sweeping ocean view from the booths, and visitors must now pay a $20 admission fee. This iteration of NADA is only slightly geographically closer to the convention center, but significantly less far-off from Art Basel proper in spirit.

But while we were disappointed by Basel’s predictability and lack of variety, NADA 2015 is wonderfully inconsistent. NADA’s exhibitors seem to have grown out of a collective trend-invested “cool kid” adolescence and matured into thoughtfully idiosyncratic connoisseurship. Gone are the days of interchangeable booths with matching pastel-and-neon abstractions—here there’s a greater diversity of good work than we’ve witnessed at art fairs recently. Part of this might be attributed to NADA’s shifting demographics: the fair feels less New-York-centric and more international. Many of the booths that impressed us the most were from Germany, Latin America, or Japan. 

Below, highlights from the fair, delightfully all over the map:

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Recommended Shows: Downtown, Michael Bell-Smith; Uptown, Saul Steinberg

by Corinna Kirsch and Whitney Kimball on October 15, 2014
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In perhaps the total opposite of Lorna Mills at OCAD (our previous post) Michael Bell-Smith envisions an Internet of banality; uptown, you can find a quiet overview of works by the thoughtfully puzzling New Yorker artist Saul Steinberg.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Live From Grand Rapids!

by Corinna Kirsch and Whitney Kimball on October 6, 2014
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Cancel whatever you’re doing at 7 PM tonight, readers. Paddy Johnson will be critiquing the finalists of ArtPrize, in the 3D and time-based categories. (Peruse the finalists here. Watch the Livestream here.) The stakes are high; we expect some animated debate to light up twitter tonight.

And the rest of the week looks equally promising: fashion snarker Simon Doonan talks menswear, the New York Film Fest continues, and Philadelphia’s Vox Populi Gallery sees a weekend filled with Videofreex, Jeanine Oleson, and Jaimie Warren.

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Changes to the Emerging Art Scene on 27th Street

by Paddy Johnson on April 4, 2014
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Will the Waterfront Building on 27th street continue to be a district for the emerging arts? Real estate prices are rising everywhere in the city, and with the respected Winkleman Gallery moving out of the building after its lease expired this March, we wondered whether this was the beginning of another neighborhood change.

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