The Death of Context at NADA New York

With the permanent invasion of art fairs into the art world economy like a plague, most galleries, no matter how cutting-edge or avant-garde, seem to believe (whether from actual or perceived necessity) that they must participate in all of the increasingly frequent art fair seasons. This endless stream of fairs forces smaller galleries that show conceptual, abstract, or experimental work into a setting devoid of context, stripping the art of its desired impact or importance. While I’m certainly not the first to point this out, nowhere was it more noticeable recently than at NADA New York.

NADA’s New Grown-Up Look

This year’s New York incarnation of the NADA art fair suggested that the gathering of young emerging galleries often characterized as the minor leagues of Frieze and other “major league” art fairs has grown up quite a bit. Yet with maturity comes a tendency towards conservatism, and that was reflected in countless booths filled with small, affordable works and unremarkable displays on white walls.

Can an Art Fair Ever Be More Than an Art Fair?

MIAMI — NADA art fair has a reputation in Miami: it’s thought of by a lot of people as one of the best, most interesting art fairs in town. It upholds its claim to newer and more cutting-edge work on its website: “Each December in Miami, NADA runs a renowned art fair to vigorously pursue our goals of exploring new or underexposed art that is not typical of the ‘art establishment.’”

WTF is… an Art Fair?

Okay, so, this week is New York City’s art fair week. This may sound like a carnival replete with Ferris wheels, clowns and cotton candy, but it’s not, at least in the literal sense. An art fair is like a carnival in that there’s a lot of excess noise, visual information and people yelling over each other. But an art fair is actually a clearinghouse for art works, a pow-wow of dealers, galleries, curators and collectors that’s part tribe meeting and part shopping mall. n the US, the major players are basically Art Basel Miami Beach, a sister fair of Art Basel founded in 2002 occurring annually every December, and New York City’s Armory Show, founded in 1994 and taking place in March.