Home Arts Dallas Art Fair thrives on Texas’ resilient economy and growing population

Dallas Art Fair thrives on Texas’ resilient economy and growing population

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THE Dallas Art Fair kicked off with steady sales at the VIP preview Thursday, April 20, dealers said, as Dallas’ art market gets a boost from a rapidly growing local population and growing interest in collecting.

Now in its 15th year, Texas’ flagship art fair has developed a reputation for its friendly, laid-back atmosphere that reflects the slower pace of the South. Dealers say they often close deals several days after the show starts and there’s less of a rush to buy during the VIP preview. Collectors often visit the stands several times during the fair before making purchases.

” It’s intimate. It’s very different from other art fairs,” says fair manager Kelly Cornell, who grew up in Dallas and started working at the fair as an intern. Dallas residents have shown Southern hospitality by opening their homes and private collections to visitors and hosting dinner parties for out-of-town guests, she said.

With around 90 exhibitors, this year marks the biggest fair since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Cornell says the event has rebounded after several years of rebuilding. She adds, “The bruises are gone.”

For the first time, there is even a satellite fair. The Dallas Invitational Art Fairpresented by local dealer James Cope of And Now Gallery, will take place Saturday and Sunday (April 22-23) in front of the Dallas Art Fair and will feature galleries from New York, Los Angeles and across Europe showcasing the works of their artists in hotel rooms.

Hannah Fagadau, co-owner of Dallas-based gallery 12.26, pictured next to a work by artist Masamitsu Shigeta acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art through the Dallas Art Fair Foundation Fund. Courtesy of Dallas Art Fair

On Wednesday, April 19, before the fair opens to the public, curators from the Dallas Museum of Art 12 works selected exhibitors from the fair to be acquired for the museum’s permanent collection thanks to a $100,000 gift from the Dallas Art Fair Foundation. On Thursday evening, more sales poured in. On the Perrotin stand, Hans Hartung T1975-R22 (1975) and Tavares Strachan Another country both sold for between $150,000 and $300,000. Luce Gallery, based in Turin, Italy, sold a painting by Hugo McCloud for $215,000, along with pieces by Peter Mohall, Ludovic Nkoth, Johanna Mirabel and Zeh Palito at undisclosed prices. New York-based Sundaram Tagore Gallery sold four works by Karen Knorr for $39,200 each, one by Miya Ando for $84,000 and another by Edward Burtynsky for $19,000.

The Los Angeles gallery Shulamit Nazarian has sold its solo stand of works by painter Daniel Gibson. London-based Carl Kostyál’s stand of sculptural mixed-media paintings by Mike Shultis was nearly sold out by the end of the fair’s VIP preview. Fabienne Levy, a gallery based in Lausanne, Switzerland, sold three works by Ben Arpea ranging from $7,000 to $14,000 each. Cris Worley Fine Arts of Dallas sold works by Joshua Hagler, Marc Dennis, Kelli Vance, Johnny DeFeo and Celia Eberle at undisclosed prices; the gallery also placed four sumi ink scrolls by Dallas-based artist Nishiki Sugawara-Beda with the DMA through the acquisition fund.

A strong tradition of collecting

With a population of 1.3 million, Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and traditionally has the most robust art market in the state thanks to its resilient economy, an engaged set of local dealers and a strong tradition of art collecting. The city is home to important institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, as well as the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum in nearby Fort Worth, which have contributed to the area’s appreciation for the arts .

“Their great-grandparents and grandparents collected art here in the 1920s and 1930s with bank money and oil money, and donated art. Their kids grew up with it,” says Jason Willaford, who co-founded Galleri Urbane with his wife, Ree, and moved to Dallas in 2009. And for residents who didn’t grow up around art collections, the fair she -even served as a powerful educational tool.

“A lot of people in Dallas don’t necessarily come to my gallery, but they will come to an art fair because it’s a specialty event. Then they discover me and come to the gallery. It’s a great opportunity to show up,” says Cris Worley, who opened her eponymous gallery in the city’s Design District in 2010.

The Dallas Museum of Art has acquired a set of four works by Dallas-based artist Nishiki Sugawara-Beda from Cris Worley Fine Arts with funds from the Dallas Art Fair Foundation. Courtesy of the artist and Cris Worley Fine Arts

Local dealers say Dallas’ already strong market has exploded in recent years. While Dallas County’s population has remained stable during the pandemic, the city’s surrounding suburban counties have seen growth up to 10% between 2020 and 2022, according to U.S. Census figures, while Texas was the top U.S. destination for Americans leaving the state in 2021 and 2022. Nell Potasznik Langford of Cluley Projects, an offshoot of Dallas’ Erin Cluley Gallery that serves as an incubator space with a focus on regional and underrepresented artists, says transplants coming to Dallas are interested in adding work from local artists and galleries to their collections.

Incoming collectors

“The huge influx from the East Coast [and] West Coast patrons are great because they’re educated, cultured, and well-travelled,” says Langford, adding that many are already familiar with the art collection. Cluley Projects opened during the pandemic but was well received by the local community, she said.

“Even when the economy isn’t as good elsewhere, it’s still thriving in Texas thanks to all the different industries that come together here. It’s really conducive to a very thriving art market and we really see that. says Langford. (While Dallas is often most associated with Texas $320 billion oil and gas industrythe region also has strong technology, defense, healthcare, transportation and financial sectors.)

Artist Ricardo Partido, co-owners of Martha’s Contemporary Meredith Williams and Ricky Morales and artist Wes Thompson at the fair. Courtesy of Dallas Art Fair

The Dallas Art Fair also supported the entire Texas art market: in addition to ten booths from Dallas dealers, this year’s fair includes five other galleries from Houston, Austin and Fort Worth. Ricky Morales, co-founder of Martha’s Contemporary, an Austin-based gallery, said he was delighted to return to the fair after attending for the first time. Last year.

“The Dallas Art Fair is one of the best fairs in the country,” Morales says. “Dallas is obviously a fledgling scene, and there are a lot of collectors here. It’s helped elevate the Texas art scene into a more national realm and it certainly helps us.

Politically, Texas has long been a conservative stronghold, and in recent years state lawmakers have come under fire from both residents and Americans in other states. Abortion in almost all cases was banned in Texas last year after the US Supreme Court quashed Roe v. Wadeand Texas is one of the US states where drag queen performance have been targeted by lawmakers. Last year, a free speech organization discovered Texas bans more books school libraries than any other state, and a bill proposed earlier this year in the state Senate would ban nearly all gender-affirming healthcare for transgender Texans.

However, many parts of Texas have a strong culture of activism and artists who work hard to champion progressive causes, Morales says.

“There are a lot of people here that we need to defend and strengthen,” he said. “Texas has a lot of diversity. The only way to protect vulnerable communities is to stand by them, not just call Texas shit. »

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