(Illustration courtesy Hyperallergic)

The Nada Art Fair recently sent a letter to the galleries included in its 2012 Miami fair, threatening that those who have also signed up to participate in the new, competing Untitled Miami fair will not be asked to return to Nada next year, Christian Viveros-Faune, writing at The Art Newspaper, reports.

The letter, sent on October 11, asks galleries to “commit to Nada solely” and states, “Galleries that choose NOT to withdraw will not be able to participate in further fairs with Nada.” In response, Untitled has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Nada demanding that it rescind the threat.

Fortunately for the newer fair, Nada’s request is against the terms of its current contracts with galleries — organizers admit that there is no exclusivity clause in their 2012 deal. Nada has released a statement noting that “exhibitors in Nada Miami Beach may also exhibit at any other Miami fair this year, without prejudice to participation in future Nada fairs in Miami or elsewhere,” though the fair, which collects a strong group of young, emerging galleries like Lisa Cooley, Zach Feuer, and Rachel Uffner, says it intends to review its exhibitor contract next year.

The brief spat between (semi-)established art fair and the newcomer underlines the fact that the commercial art fair bubble continues to expand. As older fairs grow and new entries join the competition, fairs will have to struggle to retain galleries rather than galleries fighting to join fairs. The galleries that are the art fairs’ clients could gain power, a situation that would help all of us, given the ongoing prevalence of a few staid, stultifying fairs with no incentive to innovate.

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...