Dealers Report Record Attendance but Mixed Sales at Dallas Art Fair
One exhibitor called the fair "frustrating."
The Dallas Art Fair, and the broader Dallas Arts Week that it anchors, is undoubtedly an annual social highlight for the city’s tight-knit, vibrant arts community. This year, 12,500 people attended—a 25 percent increase from last year.
In addition to a packed roster of arts events including the simultaneous launch of three solo shows (Dan Colen, Paola Pivi, and Helmut Lang) at Dallas Contemporary, top collectors like Derek and Christen Wilson, the Karpidas family, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, and Marguerite Hoffman invited guests into their homes and private spaces to see their stunning contemporary collections.
On the eve of the Dallas Art Fair gala, collectors and patrons Alden and Janelle Pinnell, who are founders of The Power Station, hosted a musical performance by artist Karl Holmqvist, to kick off his new exhibition “Tuff Love”. It was followed by a lively group dinner at a local Cajun joint called Dodie’s.
Following the close of the fair on Sunday April 17, which organizers said reached record attendance levels, we talked to dealers about what sold at the fair.
Some were less than sanguine, one exhibitor called the fair “frustrating” and said it was “more social than business.”
“Dallas has a burgeoning scene and a handful of A-List collectors, but this didn’t necessarily translate into healthy sales,” an unnamed dealer remarked.
But some dealers were pleased to have increased exposure, despite the lack of robust sales. Bryan Chagolla, director of Los Angeles gallery Coagula Curatorial, showed work from “Self-Portrait,” the first solo show by artist Emma Sulkowicz, the New York-based Columbia grad, who garnered national interest with her art project “Carry That Weight.”
For the piece, Sulkowicz carried a 50-pound mattress wherever she went, to protest the university’s failure to address her alleged rape.
Her latest project features a performance and a 3-D printed replica of the artist inspired by her experience with the media. In-Action Figure reflects “the widespread commodification and flattening of her image in the news and on the internet,” according to a statement from the gallery.
Chagolla told artnet News via email the gallery sold one, of an edition of ten, of the In-Action Figure, priced around $5,000, and multiple paintings of worn/distressed toy soldier portraits by Charles Swenson, which were selling for $5,000 – $9,000 a pop.
He added that there was considerable interest in Karen Finley’s paintings, but “no deals yet.”
Leila Heller Gallery, which mounted a solo show of work by artist Rachel Lee Hovnanian titled, “Perfect Baby Showroom,” is billed as “a laboratory meets shopping mall where parents determine the lives and physical characteristics of their babies.”
Sales included: several editions of FINE (2016) for $9,500 each (the artist’s proof sold for $12,000); a unique mixed media work Reflections Pool (2016) for $65,000; another unique mixed-media work Reflections R IV (2016) for $8,000; and Texas Beauty Queen Cream; Don’t let aging chew up your body. You have a right to look your Hollywood best (2012) for $5,000.
Antwerp’s Tim Van Laere Gallery sold a painting by Jonathan Meese and a painting by Anton Henning to different Dallas-based collectors. The gallery also sold work by Rinus Van de Velde, and a painting by Kati Heck, but declined to offer details on buyers, and prices.
New York’s Robert Miller Gallery sold Paul Jenkins large painting Phenomena Blue of 62 in 2002 (2002) for $160,000.
David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles had a great time in Dallas. The gallery sold nearly everything in its booth, including new works from Calvin Marcus’ Fish in Dish, Martini Shirt, and me with tongue series at prices ranging from $6,000-25,000.
“We are so happy to have participated in the fair and am already looking forward to next year,” Peter Makebish, director of Makebish, told artnet News. “We sold out the booth with Paul Kremer taking a strong lead with multiple sales and commissions. It was also very exciting to have sold a work by Les Rogers.” The Kremer works ranged from roughly $8,000 to $15,000 and works by Rogers ranged about from about $16,000 to $32,000.
A spokesperson for Dubai’s Carbon 12 gallery cited “overall great feedback by local collectors and curators” and heavy interest in Sara Rahbar’s sculptures. Sales included all of Bernhard Buhmann’s works on display to US collectors new to the gallery, at prices ranging from $3,000-10,000.
Milwaukee’s Green Gallery reported selling three Michelle Grabner bronzes, including one to the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as three works by Margaret Lee and a print by Anne Eastman.
Dubai’s Lawrie Shabibi gallery sold two works by Nadia Kaabi-Linke—one to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) through their new acquisitions fund, and one to local collectors. The gallery also sold a Nabil Nahas untitled blue fractal painting to patrons of the DMA.
“We had a great time in Dallas, both in terms of sales and in terms of contacts both institutional and private, and had a very warm reception from the Dallas collector base. We will certainly be participating again in 2017,” said co-founder William Lawrie. “We are especially proud of the acquisition by DMA of Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Tunisian Americans, which could not have gone to a better home, and in itself underlines the seriousness of the fair and its collector base,” he added.
Milan’s Brand New Gallery sold a work by Josh Reames, for approximately $150,000, as well as two works by José Lerma for $25,000 and $30,000, respectively.
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