NADA Highlights, Part 1

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 4, 2015 · 2 comments Art Fair + slideshow

Michael Linares, "Voyeur Painting #4," 2015.

Michael Linares, “Voyeur Painting #4,” 2015.

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:

Amanda Ross-Ho at Páramo, Guadalajara. We've seen oversized shirt

Amanda Ross-Ho at Páramo, Guadalajara. Yes, we identified over-sized clothing as a trend last year, but this is a highlight because it has a good backstory: according to the gallerist, Ross-Ho painted the rectangular canvasses as an architectural installation in Mexico and then recreated her resulting paint-splattered shirt at a larger scale.

High Art NADA 2015

Nathan Zeidman. “Hours”, 2015, at High Art.

Also at High Art, Pentti Monkkonen's "Carry On Container" series, which reproduces cargo containers at the scale of luggage. These are playful and perfect for Miami

Also at High Art, Pentti Monkkonen’s “Carry On Container” series, which reproduces cargo containers at the scale of luggage. These are playful and perfect for an event where shipping and travel arrangements dominate the conversation for a month before the fair.

Dena Yago NADA Miami 2015

Lastly, High Art was showing Dena Yago’s “A Handful of People in the Depths of Silence” (L) and “A Hammer Blow to the Head can Injure the Soul” (R), both from 2014. I’m not sure what the relationship between these otherwise-adorable photos of dogs and the aluminum text is, but I like them.

Stephen G Rhodes

Stephen G. Rhodes at Tokyo’s Misako & Rosen Gallery. This piece combines gestural painting, a drop-ceiling panel, plants, rainbows, pentagrams, and inverted crosses. This might be a huge conflation of everything that’s been trendy in the past few years, but I think it works.

Michael Bell-Smith, "m_taster" and "Brickwork" (both 2015) at New York's Foxy Production. The

Michael Bell-Smith, “m_taster” and “Brickwork” (both 2015) at New York’s Foxy Production. The smaller amount of graphic-design-influenced work at NADA this year made examples such as this seem more enjoyable. I might have overlooked these pieces had they been shown in a fair of similar-looking work. Here, though, I’m glad they stood out, because they’re really lovely.

Regina Rex brought this Corey Escoto Polaroid that Whitney and I saw earlier this year and really liked. Here, it's even more successful and mysterious as a stand-alone object rather than as a component of a series.

Regina Rex brought this Corey Escoto Polaroid montage that Whitney and I saw earlier this year and really liked. Here, it’s even more successful and mysterious as a stand-alone object rather than as a component of a series.

Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery Alex Dodge Doctor Smile Friend 2015

Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery brought oil paintings by Alex Dodge. Above, a photo doesn’t do justice to “Doctor Smile Friend,” 2015. All the paintings in this series have a masterful use of color and perspective that make these somewhat sparse renderings of textile patterns read as believable space. The colors are also built-up with an impasto texture that is seductive, or in the case of the pink fleshy blobs below, repulsive:

Alex Dodge, "Webinar" and "Belfast," both oil on canvas, 2015.

Alex Dodge, “Webinar” and “Belfast,” both oil on canvas, 2015.


Gil Marco Shani, “Cruise Ship,” oil and marker on canvas and paper, 2014. Israeli gallery Tempo Rubato is showing a series of two-color paintings by Gil Marco Shani that read like schematic drawings or back-lit screens. This image of a boat and a kitchen sink aren’t the most impressive—just the easiest to photograph. A series of domestic interiors and streetscapes viewed from above feel voyeuristic or allude to surveillance. The few lone figures that populate these paintings don’t seem to be aware of the viewer, or they just don’t care. Either way, these strike an unsettling balance between intimacy and cool detachment.

At first, I thought

At first, I thought Galeria Agustina Ferreyra, from San Juan, was showing a solo installation by one artist. In reality, it’s an incredibly tight group show. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, just an observation. The m0re painterly ellipses to the left are from Heather Guertin. The hard-edged paintings depicting similar shapes are by Julio Suarez, an artist in his 70s. Finally, the “L” shaped canvasses and paintings that look like the other ellipse paintings but feature googly eyes are by Michael Linares. Realizing that the three painters made such very different work with such formal similarities was a nice reveal.

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