Wednesday, February 14, 2018

An art fair coming to the DMV this fall

From the press release:
After Wowing Art Lovers in New York and Miami, Superfine! Brings its Unique, Inclusive Take on Art Fairs to DC This Fall 
More a haven for emerging contemporary art than a typical art fair, Superfine! is a sophisticated yet approachable means for real people to discover real, meaningful art, and to connect directly with artists and their representatives. Superfine! founders Alex Mitow and James Miille have devised a tried and tested non-traditional formula to build a better and more inclusive art market. Each fair is a unique cultural experience designed to inspire and inform while also providing a fun atmosphere where everyone's inner collector can shine. Following editions in Miami and New York that have succeeded in building new collectors while connecting established ones to the cream of the crop in emerging art, Superfine! DC will launch this fall at Union Market’s Dock 5 event venue in the historic Union Market neighborhood. 
Superfine! DC will take place from October 31st to November 4th at the 13,000+ square foot Dock 5 venue at Union Market, a center of art and sophistication in DC’s urban core. The fair will host 85 exhibitors exhibiting under four exhibition platforms (Emerge, Elevate, Explore, and Establish).
One of the few leading contemporary art fairs open to both solo artists and galleries, Superfine! DC also recognizes the advent of non-traditional exhibition platforms such as mobile curatorial programs, artist-led galleries, and artist collectives. The fair’s Explore platform was designed to create space for 20 exhibitors that fit these criteria to exhibit within 16-linear-foot “mini-booths”, each creating unique multi-artist narrative presentations. 24 traditional brick-and-mortar galleries hailing from the DC metro area and around the globe will exhibit under the fair’s Establish platform. Solo artists new to Superfine! may choose 6’ wall spaces as part of the Emerge platform, where young collectors can have a field day discovering emerging artists with all work priced below a cap of $5,000. Artists may also apply to the Elevate platform, which will span 24 solo positions including past Superfine! exhibiting artists and first timers. Approachability is the name of the game at Superfine! with more than 70% of the artwork in the fair priced under $5,000 and each exhibitor also required to present multiple works in the under $1,000 price range. The overarching goal is to create a brisk art market open to all, where even the newest collector can find and take home work that speaks to them. 
Fair director Alex Mitow notes that “It is incredibly important to us that Superfine! DC embodies the capital’s unique position as a global city with rapidly swelling local pride in its arts and culture. With this fall’s fair, Superfine! will present a new, exciting, and approachable option for DC’s broad
range of art enthusiasts wherein they can discover and collect not only the best of the DC metro area, but also the best in global contemporary art.” The fair's release also notes that:
The typical exhibitor breakdown of a Superfine! fair is around 50% local, with the remainder hailing from as many as 20 different countries as well as the entire United States and Canada. Also unique among art fairs is the exceptionally high number of female artists and curators represented in the fair, who make up more than 60% of each fair’s exhibitor list.
As you dear constant readers know, I've been doing art fairs for over a decade now, and have seen multiple organizers try to decipher the DMV's art scene to run a successful art fair along the Miami and New York models - they have all failed so far or just given up (Art DC from the Art Miami family of fairs, and (e)merge). 

The folks who run Pulse and the worldwide set of Affordable Art Fairs also explored the capital region, but probably came to the conclusion that although the area has the second highest concentration of disposable income in the US, it is just not an "art conscious" or "art buying" public (my words, not Ramsay Art Fairs, LLC).

Don't misinterpret my words - the DMV has an amazing art scene, and our artists are amongst the best and most innovative on the planet, regardless of the narrative that some push about this being a backwater of the art world - it is simply not true and misinformed.

But this is a political town.

The main stream press could care less that (as an example), the group of once glass artists who "broke away" (no pun intendedd) from the vessel and the craft of glass as craft, and forced it to become just another substrate, are nearly all DMV artists. Or that the heart of the worldwide Glass Secessionism movement ticks in the DMV, or that the much maligned Artomatic is the world's largest open art show.

Politics is it... not art.

My best to these brave art warriors trying to break the mold again - I hope that you do well and that the fair is a success; good luck getting the Washington Post to notice you.