If Texas is looking to stake its claim in the international art fair circuit, it may have found it in the Dallas Art Fair, opening with its preview gala Thursday and continuing through Sunday (April 10 - 12).
The fair, in its seventh year, has steadily improved in its ability to attract an increasingly impressive slate of galleries — no mean feat when the number of art fair options around the world has exploded, with the best galleries able to be highly selective in where they commit their fair budgets.
The Dallas Art Fair seems to have crossed a threshold of critical quality this year, with over 90 galleries participating. The number of galleries, in and of itself, is not so impressive – there are a multitude of galleries that want to participate in a successful fair. It is the quality of the galleries that is so impressive: Some of the best, young and established contemporary galleries from Europe, Latin America and the U.S. have decided to be in Dallas this year, from Galerie Perrotin (Paris, Hong Kong, New York), to LABOR (Mexico City), to Ibid Projects (London, Los Angeles), to Washburn Gallery (New York), to Sicardi Gallery (Houston).
What remains to be seen is whether Dallas’ own collecting community will show up and buy (a challenge in the past) and whether the fair will attract new collectors from the region.
What remains to be seen is whether Dallas’ own collecting community will show up and buy (a challenge in the past) and whether the fair will attract new collectors from the region – key metrics in choosing to participate in the future.
There will be no shortage of temptation and quality to be considered. Galerie Perrotin is bringing one of the strongest group shows of the fair, with current art world darling Daniell Arsham among the offerings. Arsham, who casts mineral materials such as volcanic ash and glacial rock dust into eroded everyday objects (laptops, musical instruments, cameras), works at the intersection of architecture, performance art and surrealism and is highly sought after among the celebrity collector set (read Pharrell, Jay Z, Usher).
Perrotin’s Claude Rutault, the French conceptual artist who just had his first major solo show in New York (i.e. pay attention) and will be performing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra this week, will also have artworks on view. And Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose fountain sculptures graced Versailles last year, will share his classic poetic mirrored glass and steel bead sculptures in the gallery booth.
Derek Eller Gallery (NY) will be doing a solo booth of Despina Stokou. Stokou, born in Greece, splits her studio time between Berlin and New York and utilizes language (influences: Wool, Basquiat, Twombly) and, specifically, the cyberbabble of today’s vernacular. Eller gave Stokou her first New York show and she has since been picked up by Berlin power gallery Eigen+Art (good value indication here). The works range from $8,000 - $26,000 depending on size.
Artist Benjamin Senior will enjoy a solo showing with New York newcomer James Fuentes Gallery. Fuentes, who has a history of picking strong emerging talent , has represented London-based Senior since 2013. The Royal College of Art-trained painter primarily depicts women (frequently drawn from live models in his studio – the old-fashioned way) in geometric, flat tableaux that are exquisitely voyeuristic. Small in scale, the paintings are in the 2,000 – 7,000 GBP range, and are well worth consideration.
Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service issued five new stamps commemorating this tremendous talent.
Well-established Andrew Edlin Gallery (NY), focusing on some of the most highly-respected self-taught artists in the world (Henry Darger, Adolf Wolfli, Thornton Dial), will be showing a delightful Martín Ramirez “Caballero” drawing, among other works. The Mexico-born Ramirez (1895–1963) spent the majority of his adult life in California mental institutions, where physicians saved his drawings and collages, typically reflecting Mexican folk iconography (Madonnas, caballeros) and the modern industrial age (trains and tunnels).
The American Folk Art Museum exhibited a retrospective in 2008, which prompted unprecedented recognition from the best art critics in the world. Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service issued five new stamps commemorating this tremendous talent.
New York Times in watercolor
San Francisco gallerist Jessica Silverman is in her fourth year at the fair and brings four artists in her program, including Dashiell Manley and Ruairiadh O'Connell. Manley’s “The New York Times Nov. 5, 2014 national edition Southern California (front page)" is a stunning, large-scale (96 x 72 inches, $26,000) watercolor on canvas involved the artist transcribing the front page of the New York Times in watercolor and pencil onto canvas – four times, rotating the canvas each time.
Designed to disorient and to keep visitors focused on gambling, the motifs interest O’Connell due to their manipulative power over the gambler.
This series, as well as his glass panel works explore the Whitney Biennial artist’s meditative interest in the intersection of film, painting, sculpture, installation and the digital domain. Silverman’s latest gallery addition, Scotsman O'Connell, uses colored inks screen-printed over tinted wax to realize wall-mounted works which are actually based on casino carpet graphics. Designed to disorient and to keep visitors focused on gambling, the motifs interest O’Connell due to their manipulative power over the gambler. The young artist is already in prominent European collections and Silverman is rightly exposing him to the U.S. market. Range: $7,500 - $16,500.
Curator favorite Misako and Rosen Gallery (Tokyo) will show Brazilian sculptor Erika Verzutti, among others. Verzutti, who has had an amazing run of institutional exhibitions lately (Carnegie International, Guggenheim, Museu de Arte Moderna, Tang) will open a solo show at the Sculpture Center NY at the end of this month. The formality and beauty of natural elements is what primarily drives the artist’s work, which is primarily sculptural, but also encompasses collages, drawings and paintings.
The gallery will also show a monumental (94 x 135 inches, $95,000) work by Nathan Hylden. LA-based Hylden, creates simple paintings (frequently of his studio environment) with sensual palettes and has been shown at the Palais de Tolyo (Paris) and Hamburger Kusteverein (Germany).
Rounding out Dallas’ international presentation, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (Hong Kong) will be showing the work of Cai Guo-Qiang and Wang Shugang. Houstonians will remember when the MFAH commissioned Cai Guo-Qiang to realize one of his iconic gunpowder drawings, the extraordinarily popular “Odyssey” in 2010. The latter involved over 100 volunteers helping to realize the commission.
Merging 20th-century figuration with Buddhist iconography, particularly Tibetan monks, Wang Shugang realizes large-scale sculpture in a limited palette of red, white and bronze. His works elevate ritualistic tasks with subtle commentary about the performance of acts without reflection.
Next Stop: SP Arte (Sao Paolo) Brazil. Stay tuned!