When Dallas Art Fair began in 2009, Chris Byrne says of himself and his co-founder, John Sughrue, “We were the audience.”
Now in its seventh year, the fair (April 9-12 at Fashion Industry Gallery) has evolved organically into a destination for casual viewers and serious collectors. The exhibitor mix includes local favorites, as well as up-and-coming and renowned galleries from such places as Antwerp, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, LA, New York, Paris and Zurich.
All told, there are nearly 100 exhibitors this year, and many are the result of suggestions from other participants.
We shine a light on some of the galleries trekking across the country — or, in some cases, the globe — to bring works chosen with Dallas enthusiasts in mind.
Washburn Galleries, New York
For more than 35 years, Washburn Gallery has been assembling shows featuring works by major 19th and 20th century American artists. Owner Joan Washburn has taken particular care to infuse her Dallas Art Fair booth with echoes of works the city holds dear.
She will bring a selection of collages by Anne Ryan, as well as works by artists represented in the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, with a focus on works by Leon Polk Smith, Ilya Bolotowsky, James Brooks and Jackson Pollock — like Untitled (After CR340), 1951, screenprint ed. 16/25, pictured here.
In fact, a small selection of Pollock’s works will act as a kind of unofficial preview to the upcoming “Blind Spots” exhibition at the DMA.
Beatriz Esguerra Art, Bogotá, Colombia
When asked how she wants to make her mark among the international spread this April, Beatriz Esguerra mentions exclusivity. “I am one of the two Latin American galleries present. [The other is Mexico City’s Labor Gallery.] The only Colombian gallery. That is my mark.”
For 14 years, Esguerra has been pushing her native Colombian artists into the international consciousness, proudly expanding the market in the U.S. and, especially, Texas. In Dallas, Esguerra has witnessed a prodigious flux of prominent Latin American collections in a market she sees as renowned for its openness to new ideas and artistic statements.
Beatriz Esguerra Art returns to the Dallas Art Fair for a second time, bringing along Colombian contemporary artists Santiago Montoya, Max Steven Grossman, Pedro Ruiz, Elsa Zambrano and Iranian artist Hadi Tabatabai.
Montoya, the son of a fisherman, has seen a dramatic demand for his work in the UK and Europe in recent years. The artist sees his currency-based works (like SOSOSOS IV, 2014, pictured here) as less overtly politicized commentaries than initial impressions may lead. He instead focuses on the universal understanding money imbues across every culture.
Derek Eller Gallery, New York
Derek Eller Gallery will arrive in Texas with a perfect fair-ready philosophy already intact. In today’s global market, locale is trumped by content. Of course it doesn’t hurt when your gallery has been in Chelsea, New York, for the past 17 years, but newly appointed director Brian Faucette sees fairs like ours, combined with online markets, as the ideal opportunity to expand the gallery’s identity and present its international roster of artists to a greater audience and buyership.
Derek Eller Gallery will bring to the Dallas Art Fair a solo exhibition of Berlin-based painter Despina Stokou, who has a romanticized fascination with Americana. Born in Athens, Greece, Stokou’s work has been described as bristling, irreverent and acerbic. Pictured here: Google Search Images Avacado, 2015, oil charcoal and collage on canvas.
Zieher Smith & Horton, New York
Zieher Smith & Horton, the result of a recent marriage between ZieherSmith and the Lower East Side’s Horton Gallery, will bring to the fair works by artists Allison Schulnik, Rachel Owens and Paul Anthony Smith. Savvy Dallas art enthusiasts might recognize Smith from his second-ever solo show at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in 2013. His Diamond Mango #2, 2015, unique picotage on pigment print, is pictured here.
Co-founder Andrea S. Zieher says of Smith, “I’ve never seen another artist physically manipulate photographic images as he does. We get requests from curators and critics several times a week asking about him.”
When at home, Zieher Smith & Horton features exhibitions by artists who “reconcile contemporary experience with historical precedents.” When away, they see art fairs (in which they never participate in their native New York) as an opportunity to coax new work from their artists.
The Dallas Art Fair is no different: The gallery will present a new oil painting by Schulnik, her first new work after a series of sold-out shows in 2014.
“We tell our artists that Dallas is quickly becoming one of the country’s important art cities with an adventurous collector base, and we encourage them to make strong works. It’s as simple as that.”