From as long ago as Ancient Greece, artist collaborations have been integral to the creation of innovative art and exhibitions, a tendency that has markedly affected modern and contemporary art. Using the performance and action-based avant-garde collaborations of the 1950s and ’60s as an example—including Allan Kaprow’s Happenings, the Japanese Gutai group and the international Fluxus group—a desire emerged among artists to be recognized independently, among other fellow artists, free from the strictures of an institution or gallery. Something of this spirit is awakened in the Projects sector at NADA Miami Beach 2013, with a lineup of small-scale exhibitions organized by non-galleries: artist-run organizations, non-profits, publishers, nomadic art spaces, and even a Brooklyn-based Berber rug-dealing outfit. With big names like Jenny Holzer, Keith Haring, and Elizabeth Peyton, alongside captivating works by lesser-known and emerging artists, these non-traditional curatorial projects are worthy of a fair of their own:
House of Voltaire: Non-profit Studio Voltaire’s atelier-meets-artist’s-shop, House of Voltaire, helps to raise funds for the art organization’s extensive exhibition and educational programs. In their first-ever international presentation, at NADA, House of Voltaire shows a range of specially commissioned and donated works, from leading artists and galleries. Limited-editions works are available including an etching by Elizabeth Peyton, a photomontage from Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, and paperdoll collages from Peter Jensen & Laurie Simmons.
Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco: Artist Katherine Bernhardt travels all over Morocco to purchase the most wild and intricate Berber carpets she can find. From rare and beautiful antiques to “Picasso-style” carpets, she sees them as paintings, which she curates and sells on her website. She hopes this project will help to maintain the Berber weaving traditions and boost interest in these finely woven art objects. The rugs are made on wooden looms in women’s homes, from the wool from their sheep and old clothing from their family. Bernhardt brings a selection of her one-of-a-kind magical carpets to NADA.
247365: One of three artist-run spaces in close proximity that form Brooklyn’s “Donut District” (named after their “commercial center”—the Dunkin Donuts across the street), 247365 is run by Jesse Greenberg and MacGregor Harp in what they describe on their Facebook page as “a new square shaped space with a storefront window and a curious gash in one of the walls.” At NADA, highlights of their show include the Hopper-meets-Hockney-esque landscapes of Daniel Heidkamp and styrofoam reliefs by Benjamin Phelan.Alden Projects™: Todd Alden’s all-encompassing, New York-based gallery enterprise hybrid, Alden Projects™, delves into research, exhibitions, publishing, and art advisory. At NADA, Alden Projects™ presents “Off the Wall,” a group of works that in some form or another have been taken off of a wall. From a subway drawing by Keith Haring, removed from the wall in the 42nd St. station to a piece of screenprinted wallpaper by Roy Lichtenstein removed from the wall of a collector’s home, these works are reconsidered as they are mounted onto new, temporary walls at NADA.
Paradise Garage: Artists Liz Craft and Pentti Monkkonen run an artists’ residency and unconventional exhibition space housed in a garage in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood. Named after the New York nightclub popularized in the 1970s and ’80s, their exhibition program aims to shake up the status quo. At NADA Paradise Garage shows the work of Club Paint, a collaboration between artists Keith Boadwee, Isaac Gray, and Erin Allen.
Recess: Recess is a New York-based artists’ space that is open to the public and aims to engage the public through making art accessible. Combining studio and exhibition programs Recess offers an approachable environment for artistic interaction among artists and audiences. At NADA, Recess shows assemblage-based works by Corin Hewitt, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Jon Kessler.
SculptureCenter: A non-profit founded by artists as “The Clay Club” in 1928, SculptureCenter has developed alongside the expanding field of sculpture into the present, reflected in their cutting edge exhibition and education programs. Based in a former trolley repair shop, re-designed by Maya Lin, in Long Island City since 2001, SculptureCenter commits its 6,000 square feet of interior exhibition space and 3,000 square foot outdoor space to promoting experimental and innovative sculptors. At NADA, highlights from their booth include a silver spoon from Jenny Holzer and a bronze pine cone from Nikolas Gambaroff.
The Still House Group: New York artist-run arts organization The Still House Group offers studio and exhibition space to young emerging artists with an emphasis on collaboration. Group members engage in constant dialogues of critique and support, creating a collaborative community where the careers of the individuals and the entire entity are advanced. Now based in Red Hook, the group began as an online platform in 2007 by founders Isaac Brest and Alex Perweiler. At NADA they show works involving a copy machine.
XYZ Collective: Tokyo-based, artist-run organization XYZ Collective offers an alternative studio space to artists in their 20s and 30s. Additionally, they host exhibitions for artists from the collective and elsewhere, as well as music and performance events, with the goal of disseminating culture through Tokyo art forms. At NADA, XYZ shows a range of works from COBRA’s film, The Future is Wild to Soshiro Matsubara’s purple acrylic fried eggs.