VOLTA’s Displaced Dealers Suddenly Get a Plan B as David Zwirner Teams Up With Peter Hort to Host an Emergency Pop-Up Fair

The event, titled Plan B, is being organized with lightning speed.

VOLTA New York at Pier 90 in 2016. This year's edition has been cancelled. Photo: David Willems, courtesy VOLTA.

With the sudden cancellation of VOLTA New York just days before the fair was meant to open on Pier 90, dealers are scrambling to make plans about what to do with the artworks many have already shipped to New York from around the world.

Now, they’re getting some help from a few unexpected sources who are pulling together to arrange Plan B, a quickly organized pop-up fair to be held in two Chelsea locations, including one of David Zwirner’s galleries.

Facilitated by collector Peter Hort, the event is coming together with no time to spare.

“Once I heard about [the cancellation of VOLTA], I called [VOLTA director] Amanda [Coulson] to see if I could help in any way,” he told artnet News. “Galleries were reaching out me to say, ‘My artist has been working for eight months and now she’s being told sorry, she can’t show it.’ Or, ‘the art has already arrived from Europe and I can’t afford to bring it back! I was hoping to sell some, and I’m in a real bind.'”

David Zwirner's 525 West 19 Street location will house half of Plan B, a pop-up show for dealers from the cancelled VOLTA New York. Photo courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery.

David Zwirner’s 525 West 19 Street location will house half of Plan B, a pop-up show for dealers from the cancelled VOLTA New York. Photo courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery.

On Tuesday, Hort emailed VOLTA dealers about Plan B, characterizing the effort as being led by “a band of art-loving misfits.” He wrote: “We expect it to be an incredible occasion. It is improvisational and fast, but the intent is genuine and the spirit is real. We are doing this for you, with a hope and a prayer and a lot of love!”

The event will take place at Zwirner’s 19th Street location and at 534 West 21st Street, which is being lent by an anonymous benefactor. The participation fee is $2,000, compared with around $8,000 for VOLTA.

The two Chelsea spaces can accommodate approximately 30 galleries, and 20 have already signed on as of Tuesday afternoon, with an additional 20 seriously considering the offer, according to Hort.

The event is also being supported by VOLTA, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and VOLTA dealer Quang Bao of 1969 Gallery. Admission is free of charge and the fair will be open Wednesday through Saturday of next week.

Peter Hort at the Rema Hort Mann Foundation 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo ©Patrick McMullan by Paul Bruinooge.

Peter Hort. Photo ©Patrick McMullan by Paul Bruinooge.

“It is a community thing,” Hort said. “We’re all doing our best to make a bad situation a little bit better.”

“We are supporting this initiative because we believe in facilitating the production of the lemonade out of these lemons,” said Coulson, the director of VOLTA. “We don’t want this to be a sad sob story but a story of a community coming together, and we’re hoping that with the publicity, people will make the effort to go see these galleries and artists.”

In a statement, David Zwirner said: “We understand how important an art fair in New York is for an out-of-town gallery, and this is the least we can do. It’s simple: we have a space that we are not using, and we have friends in the neighborhood whom we could ask to join us in providing space. Please come to Volta Plan B and see the work that these galleries have brought to New York.”

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