Art Market

The Dallas Art Fair cancelled its 2020 edition.

Daria Simone Harper
Aug 5, 2020 5:25PM, via The Canvas

Dallas Art Fair Preview, 2019. Photo by Exploredinary. Courtesy of the Dallas Art Fair.

The Dallas Art Fair has canceled its upcoming 2020 edition amid rising cases of COVID-19 in Texas, as first reported by art world newsletter, The Canvas. The fair, which had initially been postponed in March for October 1st through the 4th from its original April 16th to 19th dates, will return in April 2021.

Two anonymous dealers told The Canvas they had been emailing fair organizers since mid-April requesting the return of their exhibiting fees. The dealers claim they were met with unclear responses stating the fair would go ahead as planned in October. The Canvas also reported that while some galleries had been contacted and informed of the fair’s cancellation, several others received no notification of the news. In addition, while some galleries had only paid a deposit for their booth, others had already paid their fees in full, with one gallery paying nearly $30,000.

Dallas Art Fair director, Kelly Cornell, said in a statement to Artsy:

We regret that we must cancel this year’s Dallas Art Fair, which had been rescheduled from April to October. This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but with the high number of Covid-19 cases in Texas and global travel restrictions, we have to put the safety of our dealers and collectors first.
We are working with each gallery individually and offering credits towards future fairs. We are an independently owned business and the fair was timed so close to the pandemic's outbreak in the US that our vendors had already been paid and we are operating at a significant loss.
We are incredibly sorry we have had to make this decision and we hope we can work through this with each gallery one-on-one.

Last week, the fair announced that Brandon Kennedy, who handled the fair’s gallery relations, would be resigning from his role and joining Galerie Frank Elbaz in September. It has not yet been confirmed whether the fair will be returning exhibitor fees.

In lieu of a physical event, the Dallas Art Fair has developed several virtual initiatives since the start of the pandemic, hosting an online edition during its usual April run date that generated $3 million in sales. The fair also launched a new permanent online shopping platform last month called Culture Place.

Further Reading: The 10 Best Booths at the Dallas Art Fair’s Online Edition

Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019