Is the Dallas Art Fair the Best Boutique Art Fair in America?

Catherine D. Anspon rounds up some internationals who say yes.

Catherine D. Anspon
April 04, 2013

For the first-time ever, nearly 15 percent of the Fair participants are international: This year, 12 of 83 galleries are heading to Dallas from other countries. Expect a healthy crop of London and UK dealers, including Bischoff/Weiss, Massimo De Carlo, Workplace Gallery and Jonathan Viner (whose sold-out-by-opening-night booth last year featured a trove of spray paintings by Dan Rees, who will also have a solo opening at The Goss-Michael Foundation during the 2013 Fair weekend) and Asian notables Misako & Rosen, traveling from Tokyo and Seoul-based Gamo Gallery. Rounding out the global scene are new arrivals from Brescia (A Palazzo Gallery), Milan (Brand New Gallery) and Paris (Hussenot and New Galerie), as well as returning Drexel Galeria of Monterrey and Canadian Newzones.

Texas’ Best

Once again, Texas gallerists make a strong showing on the Fair’s playing field, with a group of 13 Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston dealers participating. These include a quartet that have shown with the Dallas Art Fair since its inception — Dallas denizens Talley Dunn Gallery and Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, and Fort Worth notable William Campbell Contemporary Art, as well as Houston-based Deborah Colton Gallery, all of whom are celebrating five years as exhibitors. Also returning are Artspace 111 (Forth Worth home to the Blagg Brothers); Dallas Deep Ellum tandem Barry Whistler Gallery and Kirk Hopper Fine Art (ask to see works by Allison V. Smith and Forrest Bess, respectively); Dallas Design District majors Conduit Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts and Gallery Urbane (whose other location is in Marfa); and Houston’s incomparable Moody Gallery (whose booth is always a curatorial tour de force) and Inman Gallery (taking a stand at Seven). Rounding out the pack is Fair newcomer Laura Rathe Fine Art, who has galleries in Houston and, as of this spring, double-decker digs in the Dallas Design District (hint, watch for McKay Otto’s trans-dimensional canvases).

Fair Game

Also new and noteworthy, the Fair literally spills outside FIG onto Henry C. Beck, Jr. Park for fun and games. Credit Nathalie Karg’s Cumulus Studios, who collaborated with the Fair to produce the inaugural Field Day, debuting Saturday, April 13, 10 am to noon (don’t miss Karg’s remarks at 10 am sharp). Watch for a plethora of lawn games — we’re smitten by the chance to play ping-pong on a Tom Burr set or sway in a Hare swing designed by Adam McEwen — as well as other interactive creations designed by contemporary auteurs such as Kenny Scharf, Mark Dion and Massimo Bartolini, including a croquet set, a bocce-ball set and two swings. “We want to invite the public to experience these games for themselves and have fun in an unpretentious setting,” says Karg, who incorporated her own background as an art historian and landscape designer to launch Cumulus in 2008, which she says “is the only company that produces objects that are not only functional but also fabricated to withstand weather conditions … The mission is to be able to not only enjoy art as a collector but also to be able to bring your favorite artists outdoors (or in) and live with these objects by using them.”

Here Come the Internationals:

A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia

Bischoff/Weiss, London 

Brand New Gallery, Milano

Massimo De Carlo, Milan / London

Drexel Galeria, Monterrey

Gamo Gallery, Seoul

Hussenot, Paris

Jonathan Viner, London

Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

New Galerie, Paris

Newzones, Alberta

Workplace Gallery, United Kingdom

“We were asked to take part for a couple of years now and recommendations from a couple of other galleries that we respect persuaded us. There are obviously some very established institutions and collections in Dallas, so we are very excited to visit first-hand and introduce our program. I think it’s also really important generally for us to explore different parts of the USA and show our artists. It will be the first time in Dallas for any of us from Workplace Gallery, so we are very much looking forward to it.”Miles Thurlow, Workplace Gallery, UK

“Dallas came naturally to us for two reasons. The first one is that we now have close relationships with lots of collectors in Texas, and the second one is that some galleries that we like really recommended the fair. The team of the fair has been incredibly welcoming, and we are very impatient to take on this new challenge.” Raphaëlle Bischoff, Bischoff/Weiss, London