The 5th edition of the Dallas Art Fair, held at an event space in the city's arts district, is not as regional as its name suggests. Of this year's 83 exhibitors--five more than in 2012--only 12 are from Texas (Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston). Thirty-one New York dealers signed up this year, from Benrimon Contemporary to ZieherSmith, along with others from locales as remote as Tokyo (Misako & Rosen) and Seoul (GAMO Gallery). And, most tellingly, 44 of the exhibitors are participating in the fair for the first time.
Several non-local galleries jumped on the opportunity showcase work with a Texas connection. Hosfelt Gallery, with spaces in San Francisco and New York, brought Lordy Rodriguez's three-part drawing of the Lone Star State. The fanciful map is part of Rodriguez's "55 States" series, which places cities from far-flung places next to each other. The works arose when Rodriguez, separated from his loved ones, started making maps that put their places of residence near one another.
Local museum directors like the Dallas Museum of Art's Maxwell Anderson, the Nasher Sculpture Center's Jeremy Strick and Dallas Contemporary's Peter Doroshenko were making the rounds Thursday, along with area collectors like Alden Pinnell, founder of Dallas's Power Station, a contemporary art venue in a disused electrical power facility; and Neiman Marcus heiress Catherine Rose. Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham was also spotted.
There was strong work to greet them, from Harold Shapinsky's Abstract Expressionist paintings at Charlotte, N.C.'s Jerald Melberg Gallery to digitally manipulated photographs of architecture by Filip Dujardin, at San Francisco's Highlight Gallery.
New York dealer Jill Weinberg Adams, who described herself as a "charter exhibitor" since she, along with fellow New Yorker Andrew Edlin, has participated every year, said that more visitors had come from farther away than in any previous year. Weinberg brought some fabulous tiny Joan Mitchell paintings in the $400,000 range, which several curators told her they wished they could buy them for themselves.
Dallas's own Conduit Gallery was displaying Alejandro Diaz's witty 2009 sculpture spelling out the name of artist Dan Flavin in neon, for $5,500.
Chicago's Carrie Secrist offered a wall's worth of energetic, bright abstractions, all painted in the last month by Andrew Holmquist. The artist, 24, was working as a facilities manager at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Secrist told A.i.A., when someone recommended him to the gallerist a year ago to fill a last-minute opening in her exhibition schedule. The resulting show was a runaway success, she reported, and she has shown him since at Art Basel Miami Beach. Early in the preview, several small works had already sold.
Andreas Blank, a young German artist, had carved-stone sculptures at New York's Benrimon Contemporary, including an untitled wall sculpture that looked like an Allan McCollum blank image but revealed the glint of marble at close range.
While touring collectors' homes this morning, Franklin Melendez, of New York and Paris's New Galerie, told A.i.A. that all the Europeans were confused on Thursday by the long break between the 11 AM vernissage and the 6 PM VIP preview.
"It's not like other fairs where people race in to the vernissage and buy up as much as they can. They come and socialize, so it's a great vibe. For us," he added, "it's almost like being on vacation."