On Sunday the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA)’s fair concluded. Now in its 30th year, the ADAA show has become one of the most influential contemporary art fairs on the circuit today. This is apparent in what it brings, and also through its membership with the Park Avenue Armory. Although the ADAA Art Show typically happens the first week in March coinciding with other fairs, it opened earlier than expected this year. Given the hype of shows such as Spring/Break and the Armory Show, the ADAA fair gave art goers a bit a break before continuing on to a jam-packed week of viewing works from across the globe.
The 2018 fair featured an impressive showing of 72 galleries from across the country. The show which opened on February 28th, had an strong turnout which even included a few celebrity sightings including the likes of Woody Allen and Steve Martin according to artnet. Bringing together a large selection of works dating from the 19th century through today, this fair offered up a comprehensive feast for the eyes. Through a mix of old and new, the ADAA show had a little something for everyone who attended.
Some noteworthy galleries this year included: Cheim & Read which featured a series of new large-scale sculptures by Lynda Benglis, Lehmann Maupin which unveiled new photographs by famed photographer and sculptor Catherine Opie, and the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery who featured several new pieces by Tomás Saraceno which included installation, sculpture, and works on paper.
The Pace/Macgill Gallery booth also brought something unique this year showing the work of photographer Peter Hujar. Their booth featured a large-scale vintage silver gelatin print titled, Two Men in Leather Kissing, which captured the essence of Hujar’s photographic spirit. The two men in the photograph are seen wearing hats, one in a leather jacket, the other clad in a black t-shirt, intertwined in a passionate kiss. It is hard to make out either man’s face but to the bottom left there is a lone scorpion tattoo. It is details such as these that capture the personality of his subjects. Hujar became known for establishing the very personal aspects of his subject’s identity in each of the photographs he took, and this piece embodies his artistic practice.
Hauser & Wirth also brought its best with art heavy hitter Hans Arp for this year’s fair. A piece by Arp tilted Wolkentier/Animal de nuage (Cloud animal), which was made in 1961, and cast in 2012, captures Arp’s playful approach to sculpture and composition. Arp, who was a founding member of the Dada movement, also dappled in painting, poetry and in other mediums. This piece encompassed a biomorphic/cloud like quality that seemed to suspend it in the air despite the way it was displayed.
This ADAA show also had a number of solo exhibitions ranging in era and from a variety of artists. Some other works that were on display this year included influential sculptor Tony Smith put on by Pace, as well as paintings by Mildred Thompson through Galerie Lelong & Co and others.
There was even a performance by influential Chinese artist Wang Dongling which happened in the Chambers Fine Art booth. Dongling, who is considered to be one of China’s foremost ink artists, created a series of calligraphy-based works on the first day of the fair. This year’s fair also included a keynote address by President and CEO of specialty art insurer AXA Art Americas Corporation, Christiane Fischer tilted, “The Value of ‘Dead’ Art: Afterlives of Damaged Works.”
Art fairs such as the ADAA Art Show help to capture a specific moment in the art world, while also highlighting its past. This fair is a bright spot within the larger makeup of the art world and helped to showcase a wide range of works from many artists working across multiple disciplines. The 2018 show is one that is sure to be remembered and will definitely give future fairs a run for their money.