The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) art fair explores “new or underexposed art that is not typical of the ‘art establishment.'” Posting up nearly 50 blocks north of the main fair—Art Basel Miami Beach—the satellite fair moved to its Deauville Beach Resort location in 2009 to cut costs, making it a more affordable venture for the younger galleries while remaining a non-profit organization. Since first launching in 2003, the fair has clearly demonstrated the demand for emerging artists and their work, many of the galleries consistently selling out their booths within the first few days of the fair, if not hours. And despite this year’s questionable global economic environment, the fair proved a success once again, with galleries like Lisa Cooley, Kate Werble Gallery, The Hole, The Journal Gallery, Leo Koenig Inc., and White Columns all pleased with the results, prices topping out around $50,000. Also at the fair, multimedia artist Jayson Musson A.K.A. Hennessy Youngman lectured/performed “His History of Art” Thursday evening.
Youngman, known for his witty youtube series, “Art Thoughtz,” began his lecture with a low-key power point presentation, himself sitting to the side of the projection screen with a MacBook and microphone. His history of art continually alluded to the artist’s secret ally, eventually delivering the punch line, cocaine. Yet soon Youngman acknowledged the difficult acoustics and awkwardness of the large lobby of the Deauville, and moved into a second section of the lecture, stating, “Alright everybody, this is performance art or something.” Asking typical introduction questions throughout the audience, Youngman reacted with animation to the various occupations and home cities that were given as answers. The artist even obliged AO with a proper interview on the spot—on the microphone—but upon the first question relating to Relational Aesthetics (one of his most popular videos), Youngman jokingly scoffed and moved on to the next person.
White Columns booth, featuring portraits by Jadranka Kosorcic
From the lobby, three separate exhibition spaces held gallery booths: Le Jardin, Richelieu Ballroom, and Napoleon Ballroom. New this year was the option for small, medium, or large booths, as well as the returning ‘project spaces.’ According to Amy Scally of White Columns and also a member of the fair’s selection committee, along with Jack Hanley, James Fuentes, and many others, several positive changes over the last few years have kept the fair dynamic and functioning very well.
As the fair prides itself on being alternative, galleries like Kate Werble and The Hole push the limits of the conventional convention center setting, creating entire installations of their booths. Werble’s room was covered floor to ceiling with black plastic tarp, creating a distinct context for the works within. All of the pieces except one were made specifically for the Miami booth—knowing it would be black—though the artists did not necessarily plan the pieces to fit together in any certain way. The gallerist was pleased with her sales, selling from the booth as well as works in inventory via jpeg image, a common practice nowadays. The large colorful rug by Anna Betbeze, who also showed at OHWOW, caught several eyes, and works by Ryan Reggiani sold particularly well.
Kathy Grayson’s The Hole gallery invested doubly, pairing two booths next to each other with nearly identical works and installation, just different colors. A work in one both was very colorful, while its version in the next was black and white. Dee and Ricky, two identical twins, manned the two booths, furthering the deja vu experience. Grayson spoke of pushing boundaries, being exotic, innovative, and performative: “Things will be really weird next year; see how far we can take it and still sell art.” On the first day, four sales had already paid for the booths and the trip’s expenses, even including the several parties and events the gallery sponsored, like the band Salem playing at Delano. Representing, among others, artists Matthew Stone and Mathew Stone, the British Matthew was spotted later DJing at Marina Abramović ‘s rooftop party.
Showing at the NADA fair and beyond, The Journal Gallery chose a smaller booth along the wall in Le Jardin, while gallerist Michael Nevin also co-curated a separate show with Vita Zaman and Olivier Babin in a side street warehouse on the mainland. The extra show, titled “Royal Rumble at Waffle House,” was put in place to be something opposite of the fair. Much less calculated, the large space made room for more art, with the week’s rent denting the wallet much less as well. According to Lucia at The Journal Gallery, the name of the show was decided in the last week or two, simply the name of one of the works. At NADA, works were shown by Daniel Turner and Colin Snapp, and artists at the ‘Waffle House’ included Martin Oppel and Harold Ancart.
95% of Lisa Cooley’s works sold out within the first three hours, a combination of both sculptures and paintings. Like Werble, mentioned above, Cooley also relied on digital images to sell even more works that remained in New York. Across from Cooley sat White Columns, where many works were marked with red dots to indicate they were sold, some with multiple dots in the case of prints.
Overall, the fair brought in solid numbers of both old and new clients, boasting sales as well as building relationships and exposure for the emerging galleries and artists. Though a bit of a hike from the main fair, the free shuttle is certainly worth it for next year’s NADA art fair 2012.
– S. Sveen
New Art Dealers Alliance [Official Site]
NADA Art Fair [Official Site]
No Longer an Upstart, a Bouyant NADA Brings in Big Sales and Art-World Power Brokers [ArtInfo]
More on Miami Art Week [ArtNet]
NADA Art Fair 2011 at the Deauville Beach Resort [Miami New Times]