Dallas Art Fair Kicks Off with a Herd of Early Sales
Everything is bigger in Texas, from its juicy steaks to its vast ranches and the spray of oil shooting out of the ground to the millions of dollars doled out by its many philanthropists, so of course it makes sense that when an art fair kicks off in the Lone Star State, it starts out big. That was exactly the case at the seventh annual Dallas Art Fair, which held its preview gala last night at the Fashion Industry Gallery in Downtown Dallas. Co-founders Chris Byrne and John Sughrue were busy socializing with guests as dealers ramped up for the beginning of a week filled with the galas and exhibitions that make up Dallas Arts Week.
Some 95 galleries—that’s three more than last year—exhibit at the fair this year, ranging from established blue-chip names like the New York, Paris, and Hong Kong-based Galerie Perrotin to the year-old Dallas-based Zhulong Gallery. The cool set like New York’s Maccarone, Lisa Cooley, and Marlborough Chelsea, and Los Angeles’s OHWOW are among those representing the U.S., while London’s Jonathan Viner and Massimo De Carlo, Bogotá’s Beatriz Esguerra Art, Rome’s Federica Schiavo Gallery, Antwerp’s Tim Van Laere Gallery, and Mexico City’s LABOR are among the fair’s international participants.
Price points range from the extremely affordable—like Peter Barrickman vibrant collages and drawings at The Green Gallery, for which they were asking a mere $950—and works from Charles Thomas O’Neil’s geometric 2014 oil-on-copper series that were priced at $2,800 at Howard Scott Gallery, to six figures, like a $500,000 Yayoi Kusama “Infinity Nets” canvas and a $525,000 Robert Rauschenberg at William Shearburn Gallery.
Works on display range from outsider art by Dan Miller, Martín Ramírez, and Beverly Buchanan at Andrew Edlin, to a number of Damien Hirst editions from his “Schizophrenogenesis” series at Paul Stolper. Over at C. Grimaldis Gallery are a number of light pieces by Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn that ranged from $18,000, for a smaller piece, to $90,000. On view at Jonathan Viner is a Kika Karadi for $20,000 and a Stefan Brüggemann with an asking price of $35,000 and a box truck by Pentti Monkkonen for $10,000. Massimo De Carlo has a John M. Armleder for $150,000 and a Rashid Johnson for $40,000. Maccarone had a Carol Bove peacock feather work for $125,000 and a number of Oscar Tuazon pieces ranging from $25,000 to $35,000 as well as a few Hanna Liden’s quirky still life editions going for $15,000 apiece.
If the preview gala was any indication of the sales forecast at the four-day fair, then things are off to a good start. Turin-based Luce Gallery was likely the first gallery to sell out its inventory, with the last floral relief piece in its Hugo McCloud-filled booth claimed during the VIP preview earlier that day for $20,000. The Brooklyn-based artist had flown to Dallas from Los Angeles for less than 36 hours for the occasion.
Meanwhile, sales at Johannes Vogt are going strong. The New York gallery sold out of all its playful, computer-generated Josh Reames canvases, which were going for $5,500 apiece, while a number of Garth Evans’s plywood sculptures—which ranged from $11,000 to $12,000—were sold, as well as paintings by Mernet Larsen, and Larissa Lockshin pastel works, which were priced at $4,000 apiece. The little that is left of their inventory is reportedly on hold.
Galerie Perrotin sold one of the “Elmgreen & Dragset” editions of a sculpture inspired by René Magritte’s The Lovers (1928), along with pieces by John Henderson, KAWS, and Thilo Heinzmann. And Dallas stalwart Barry Whistler Gallery boasted a number of red dots, selling three of Nathan Green’s vivid graphic latex-on-canvas pieces, for $7,500 each.
Most galleries reported positive results on the fair’s first full day too, starting off with at least one sale. Derek Eller sold two pieces for $8,000 a pop from a set of 10 of the Los Angeles-based, Greek artist Despina Stokou’s abstract paintings. Several of the artist’s other pieces are on hold. Dallas newcomer Zhulong sold a Matthew Plummer-Fernandez 3D printed vase for $3,000, and reported significant interest in the numerous kaleidoscopic Renee Cox works in the booth with prices that ranged from $10,000–$50,000. Over at Talley Dunn, a Ted Kincaid went for $8,000, while two small Sarah Williams works sold for $1,800 each. DC Moore Gallery said its first sale was a $22,000 black-and-white patterned oil work. East Hampton gallery Halsey McKay sold several pieces by Matt Rich that ranged from $1,500–$5,000.
The biggest sale so far is rumored to be a piece by abstract artist Frank Bowling at Hales. His works range from $75,000–$375,000. Fortunes in Dallas also run big, and the Dallas collector community is tight knit and passionate about their art. With momentum strong, if things continue at pace for the remaining three days of the fair, it's safe to say that the Lone Star State will have delivered on its larger-than-life promise.