The Dallas Art Fair kicked off last night with a VIP preview. Now in its 11th edition and with nearly 100 exhibitors, the fair opened with a colorful bang and welcomed international galleries including Blain|Southern, Lisson Gallery, and Sadie Coles, all of which were among the first-time exhibitors.
At the Thursday morning preview, the fair revealed the artists who had been acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) through its annual acquisition fund. Now in its fourth year, the Dallas Art Fair Foundation Acquisition Program, which is led by the DMA’s Director Agustin Arteaga and Curator Katherine Brodbeck, had a budget of $150,000. The group makes its selections directly at the fair and chose works by Sheila Hicks, Don Dudley, Arcmanoro Niles, Samuel Levi Jones, Emmanuel Van de Auwera, Maja Ruznic, Nobutaka Aozaki, and Dike Blair.
“This is really very important,” said Augustin Arteaga, director of the Dallas Museum of Art at the press preview, “because it provides us with an opportunity to support an artist. We have to bring new fresh works as well as renowned artists.”
The fair’s director, Kelly Cornell, said that the program “has created a strong relationship between the fair and the museum, and ensures the highest quality work is brought to Dallas.”
New York and Berlin dealer Sean Horton, who recently moved to Dallas (after his 15-year stint in New York, where he was a pioneer of the Lower East Side galleries) to open a space, Sean Horton (Presents), noted that the quality of work at the fair had indeed gotten better since its early days. “There used to be a stigma that if you bought in Dallas you weren’t getting the best work,” he told Galerie. “But that’s not the case anymore.”
And more than one dealer noted that if you want to be part of conversation in Dallas, you have to bring your artists here. Gallerist Rachel Uffner recalled that she first came to Dallas for the annual benefit gala for Two x Two for AIDS and Art, a 20-year-old organization that supports both amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art. Since then, the Rachofskys, who are among Dallas’s most esteemed and well-known collecting families, have purchased a work by Bianca Beck. This year, a work of Uffner’s artist Arcmanoro Niles was acquired by the DMA through its acquisition program.
While there were works by Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor to be found, they took a back seat to the fresher talent at this fair. If Stephen Eichhorn’s surprising and endearing Cats & Plants installation at the entrance to the fair were any sign, there’s a sense of fun here that’s unmistakable. Here are some suggestions for what to see at the fair.
Denny Dimin, New York
New York gallery Denny Dimin for its first outing at the fair devoted its booth to the colorful, woven wall works of Amanda Valdez, a New York-based artist who had recently completed a residency in Corsicana, Texas. There were also a series of vases that she did in collaboration with Future Retrieval, one of which was sold during the first day.