The Art Show, this country's most prestigious art fair, opens tonight for a private preview to benefit the Henry Street Setttlement House. Organized by the Art Dealers Association of America, the ADAA Art Show features carefully curated presentations of some of the finest modern and contemporary artists in the world.
Dorsey Waxter, President of the ADAA spoke with Eileen Kinsella of Blouin ArtInfo about why the ADAA Art Show is so important and how they keep it relevant in the midst of the cacaphony of contemporary art fairs:
We have tried to look carefully at what we do well and what we can do better, especially because of the competition. We have different constraints because our pool of applicants is from our membership which is 180 dealers within the United States. Because our fair is not large – 72 booths – we try to keep intact what we do best, which is to present a wide range of the highest caliber works by the best of our dealers. I think our audience appreciates our fair because there are not many other distractions. Keep in mind that we are a non-profit organization that benefits Henry Street Settlement. The proceeds of the gate go to Henry Street.
Though The Art Show is all about dealers in the US, the works that they present are reflective of the global art scene. Was The Art Show always a little global in its tilt or is it a recent development?
Although The Art Show comprises US dealers, the fair has always had galleries that have exhibited artists from other countries and continents. Our members represent different and diverse areas of art and often have an international roster of artists. Marian Goodman is a contemporary dealer that has shown a variety of European artists. Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art is dedicated to showing the work of modern Latin Americans. Galerie St Etienne, who have celebrated their 75th anniversary, specialize in the work of German Expressionists. The Art Show has always been as diverse as the dealers we represent.
How has The Art Show survived the global financial fluctuations in all these 27 years?
The most immediate reaction to financial fluctuations in the world is the number of applicants to the show. Yes, it can vary depending on the economy. We have always had more applicants than booths in the fair.
In all these years, has there also been a change in the way artists handle their careers? Have you seen any noticeable evolution that makes artists of this age different from those of the time when the fair had just begun?
Definitely. Artists are more pro-active in their careers and they have to be because the landscape of the market is so much more complex. One of the most interesting observations I can make concerning artists and art fairs is that years ago, an artist would not be caught dead at an art fair. Now, to have a one-person presentation by a dealer is prestigious. Artists frequently attend the opening of the fair and are involved in the installation, just like in a gallery.
Any issue related to the arts community that the ADAA advocacy is presently active on?
We have been active in a state law that would protect art experts from frivolous lawsuits when they give their opinions on artworks. And we are hopeful that the Artists Museum Partnership Act will be proposed in the Congress which would allow artists to receive the full tax credit for the fair market value of their work when they donate it to a museum or not-for-profit institution.
The Art Show will be held from March 4 through 8, at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at the 67th Street, New York City. Log on to www.artdealers.org.