The 10 Best Booths at the Dallas Art Fair’s Online Edition
Hope Gangloff, Downtown L.A. from Echo Lake, 2019. Photo by Donald Stahl, New York. Courtesy of the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.
The 12th edition of the Dallas Art Fair (DAF) opened online earlier this week after its “in-real-life” version was postponed until October due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Even online, the fair somehow manages to have a pleasantly intimate feel. Just over 80 exhibitors from across Texas, North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe, as well as participants from Bogotá and Dubai, are showing works in the fair’s elegant and clean virtual rooms.
The works on view range from major pieces by canonical and undersung modernists—Kasmin is offering a bronze sculpture by Max Ernst priced at $1.4 million, while New York’s Hollis Taggart and Berry Campbell galleries are showcasing works by the Abstract Expressionist artists Michael Corinne West and Ida Kohlmeyer—to pieces by beloved and emerging contemporary artists, including a strong contingent of Texans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, painting is the predominant medium, but the fair also features a strong cohort of ceramic and textile works. Here are 10 standout presentations from the Dallas Art Fair’s online edition to help guide your browsing.
With works by Daniel Giordano, Marcy Hermansader, and Caitlin MacQueen
Caitlin MacQueen, Technician, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Mother Gallery.
Marcy Hermansader, Being Here Only, 1988. Courtesy of the artist and Mother Gallery.
“The Hunch”—the name Mother Gallery owner and director Paola Oxoa has given her viewing room presentation—is the title of a poem by Kevin Young that is full of vivid imagery and longing. The poem resonates powerfully with the formally distinct works by the three featured artists: Caitlin MacQueen’s paintings of a shadowy, femme-fatale figure, priced between $3,500 and $5,000; Marcy Hermansader’s many-layered mixed media compositions, priced between $4,000 and $14,000; and Daniel Giordano’s beguling sculptures, whose materials include Nesquik strawberry powder, deep-fried batter, and bald eagle excrement, and whose works are priced between $3,000 and $13,000.
For Oxoa, it was important to not just have a normal press release for the fair, due to the extra attention text has in an online fair format. “This is the same work I had planned to bring to the fair. The only thing I did adapt with the digital format in mind was the text,” she said. “Hardly anyone looks at the text at a fair. Online, the artwork’s power is muted, but a poem is strong.” The result is an evocative virtual presentation, with the works and text coalescing into a powerful virtual showcase.
Susan Inglett Gallery
With works by Hope Gangloff, Robyn O’Neil, and Maren Hassinger
Hope Gangloff, Weather on Mt. Monadnock, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.
New York dealer Susan Inglett tailored her DAF presentation to the Lone Star State’s vast and varied landscape. Her virtual presentation “Quote Landscape Unquote” includes paintings of mountainous vistas rendered in lavender and tangerine hues by Hope Gangloff; surreal desert drawings by Robyn O’Neil, whose survey exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth closed in February; and text-based works by Maren Hassinger that verge on concrete poetry.
“I’ve been to Texas quite a few times and have fallen in love with the place,” Inglett said. “Truly everything is bigger and bolder in Texas, including but by no means limited to our theme, the landscape.” Regarding the unique challenges of curating a virtual fair booth, she added, “I don’t treat it any differently than laying out a booth or [how] you might lay out a magazine spread.”
Rachel Uffner Gallery
With works by Bianca Beck and Anya Kielar
Bianca Beck, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery.
There are relatively few one- or two-artist presentations in DAF’s virtual fair, but one such standout is New York gallerist Rachel Uffner’s booth showcasing the diorama-like, wall-mounted reliefs of Anya Kielar, and the free-standing, figural sculptures of Bianca Beck (and some related smaller works). This pairing plays the precise patterns and geometry of Kielar’s pieces against the more fluid and gestural colors and forms of Beck’s sculptures.
Each artist’s work rewards close examination—Kielar’s sculptures beckon the visitor to come closer, while Beck’s works shift shape and hue dramatically as one moves around them—so the gallery included plenty of documentation in its online viewing room. “We tried to bolster our presentation with photographs of the works from multiple views and in detail when possible,” said gallery director and director of sales Rebekah Chozick.
The gallery has found that the oft-discussed limitations of the virtual format also have certain advantages. “Some of Beck’s sculptures are quite large,” Chozik added, “and we actually wouldn’t necessarily be able to realize this pairing in the physical space of the fair, so it’s nice to see them together in the virtual realm.”
Bill Arning Exhibitions and New Discretions
With works by Lovie Olivia, Skylar Fein, Gerado Rosales, Steve Locke, Michael DeJong, Heather Benjamin, Mickey Smith, Susan Anderson, Alan Vega, Jana Leo, Clarity Haynes, Gabriela Vainsencher, and Genesis P-Orridge
Alan Vega, Invention, 1965. Courtesy of the artist, Bill Arning Exhibitions, and New Discretions.
Genesis P-Orridge, Adjustment, 1989. Courtesy of the artist, Bill Arning Exhibitions, and New Discretions.
One of DAF’s most direct responses to the COVID-19 epidemic is “An Appropriate Response?”—a collaborative presentation curated by former Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning and New York–based dealer Benjamin Tischer of New Discretions. “I think both Bill and I treated this more as an editorial than an art fair,” Tischer said. “We picked work that seemed to address the moment rather than worry. Almost like a narrative.”
That narrative offers a mix of hardship and redemption. There are images of despair, like a pair of grim Alan Vega drawings from 1965; a painting of an altar by Clarity Haynes that offers the possibility of healing; and triumphant figures in the collages of the recently deceased industrial-music and performance-art legend Genesis P-Orridge and the outrageous drawings of Heather Benjamin. Perhaps most resonant in the current moment, though, is Jana Leo’s 154 Bofetadas (2020). The piece is one of the few moving-image works in the fair (though DAF’s platform is well adapted to showing them), and features the artist slapping her own face 154 times in less than three minutes.
With works by Martha Tuttle, Duhirwe Rushemeza, Hugo McCloud, Dominic Chambers, Grace Lynne Haynes, Zatara McIntyre, Danielle DeJesus, Peter Mohall, and Robert Davis
Peter Mohall, Ina dans le jardin du Monastere de Cimiez, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Luce Gallery.
Dominic Chambers, Untitled (Kevin in Green), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Luce Gallery.
The group presentation organized by Turin-based Luce Gallery spans intricate abstract works by Martha Tuttle, Duhirwe Rushemeza, and Hugo McCloud to popping figurative paintings by Danielle DeJesus and Dominic Chambers. Many of the featured artists demonstrate a great deal of attention to textures and the physical aspects of paint. By the fair’s second day, the gallery had already registered a number of sales, placing works by Chambers, DeJesus, Robert Davis, and Zatara McIntyre.
For Nikola Cernetic, Luce Gallery’s founder and director, it was important to put in the same effort for the gallery’s presentation despite the fair going online, to bring primarily new works by his artists, and to connect with the fair’s community of collectors. “It’s a great way to stay in contact and made me feel a little in Dallas even if I’m home in Italy,” he said. “We basically communicate from home to home, or office to office, but we stay connected, and this is what we want and love at the end.”
Beatriz Esguerra Art
With works by Fernando Botero, Pablo Arrazola, Teresa Currea, Pedro Ruiz, Juan Carlos Rivero-Cintra, Mario Arroyave, Carolina Convers, Ismael Rivera, and Armando Castro
Ismael Rivera, Sweet Red II, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Beatriz Esguerra Art.
Perhaps the savviest use of DAF’s online platform can be found in the booth of Bogotá-based gallery Beatriz Esguerra Art. The gallery is showcasing not only works by a range of established and emerging Colombian artists—from Fernando Botero and Carolina Convers to Mario Arroyave and Teresa Currea—but also short videos about all nine featured artists and a video tour of a virtual mockup of the gallery’s booth. The cumulative effect is of a very thorough crash course in contemporary art from Colombia—appropriate given the presentation’s title, “The Colombian Angle.”
“You can be anywhere in the world and still visit my gallery and fair booths,” Esguerra said, explaining that she’s spent several years developing a digital strategy that incorporates her website, 3D renderings of exhibitions and fair booths, and her social media presence. “I work social media with the same care I curate and mount my exhibitions.”
Louis Stern Fine Arts
With works by Karl Benjamin, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Lorser Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg, Doug Ohlson, James Little, Mark Leonard, Kellyann Burns, and Elizabeth Patterson
Karl Benjamin, #3, 1986. Courtesy of the artist and Louis Stern Fine Arts.
Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mujeres Indigenas de Oaxaca, 1944. Courtesy of the artist and Louis Stern Fine Arts.
The virtual room of Los Angeles’s Louis Stern Fine Arts is dominated by recent and historic geometric abstraction, including glowing works from the 1960s and ’80s by Helen Lundeberg and Doug Ohlson, respectively. But what truly stands out is a set of four pieces from the 1930s and ’40s by Alfredo Ramos Martínez, a towering figure in Mexican modernism. His distinctive work is featured in the Whitney Museum’s show “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945” and the Dallas Museum of Art’s “Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art”—two current (but now shuttered) museum exhibitions.
“With the renewed energy around Ramos Martínez, whose works are currently on display in major group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Dallas Museum of Art, we are excited to bring [the artist’s] work to Dallas to present alongside our more contemporary roster,” said Cole Root of Louis Stern Fine Arts. The works in the gallery’s virtual room range in price from $95,000 each for two tempera compositions on newsprint to $750,000 for the fantastic fresco Vendedoras de Frutas (ca. 1937).
With works by Basil Beattie, Andrea Geyer, Virginia Jaramillo, Hew Locke, Maja Ruznic and Richard Slee
London- and New York–based Hales Gallery’s presentation features a strong array of works that toggle between abstraction and figuration. The artist Virginia Jaramillo—who is also a native Texan—is represented in two linen and hand-ground pigment pieces from 1982 (both priced at $25,000) that evoke sheets of ruled paper, and two hard-edged abstract paintings from 2018 (priced at $50,000 and $170,000) that call to mind the works of Mary Webb and Ellsworth Kelly.
The gallery is also showing photographic collages of powerful women from throughout history by Andrea Geyer (priced at $10,500 and $11,000) and searing riffs on colonial imagery by Hew Locke (ranging from $7,500 for a painting to $31,000 for a sculpture bust). On the lighter and brighter side, the gallery is also offering four works by the beloved ceramicist Richard Slee. One of these may stir the appetites of collectors who are fans of The Great British Baking Show: the sumptuously glazed Perfect Pie (2003), priced at $10,000.
With works by Cary Leibowitz, Emily Furr, and Marjorie Norman Schwarz
Emily Furr, Cloudbusting 1, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and 12.26.
Cary Leibowitz, Futilism, Whatsthepointilism, Brutalism, Cutealism, Ice Cream, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and 12.26.
The strongest showing by a Dallas-based gallery is 12.26’s three-artist booth, which marries the acerbic humor of Cary Leibowitz’s work, the Pop-tinged militarism of Emily Furr’s paintings, and the hazy, color-splashed canvases of Marjorie Norman Schwarz. “We feel that each of the artists’ work resonates with aspects of what we are all going through at this critical moment in our history,” said Hilary Fagadau, who co-founded the gallery with her sister Hannah.
For the Fagadau sisters, the fair is typically an opportunity to connect with both local collectors and those from further afield—and this virtual edition is no different. “We have really missed being at the gallery this past month and it feels very energizing to be able to present a thoughtful art fair booth, even if it’s virtually,” Hilary said. Collectors have been energized by the booth as well—by the second day of the fair, two of Schwarz’s paintings had been sold.
With works by Dorothy Hood, Bo Joseph, Julia Kunin, Henrique Oliveira, Elaine Reichek, and Shane Tolbert
Houston’s McClain Gallery uses materiality as a thematic throughline for its virtual booth, bringing together the varied work of six different artists—from Elaine Reichek’s knitted and embroidered textiles to Julia Kunin’s totemic ceramics. “The materiality of each artist’s work had always featured prominently in our plans for the booth, even before the fair had to shift online,” said gallery director Erin Dorn. “But it just so happened these qualities translate well online: raw sculptural elements, varied natural textures, and collage.”
Dorn noted that the virtual fair format has plenty of drawbacks and perks. “Going digital gave us the luxury of a larger ‘virtual’ exhibition space, so we were able to present each artist in greater depth,” she said. “The anonymity of online viewing tempers some of the rote chatter and art fair pressures, but it also eliminates spontaneous engagement, refreshing conversations, and the discoveries that can only happen in person.”
The Dallas Art Fair’s first online edition runs through April 23rd. Its postponed in-person edition is scheduled to take place at the Fashion Industry Gallery from October 1st through 4th.