In celebratory commendation, the tenth iteration of Dallas Art Fair will once again garner attention from galleries and attendees from across the globe. With one hundred exhibitors in situ, at the familiar mid-century warehouse space: Fashion Industry Gallery, aka f.i.g., loyal legions of art patrons will descend upon the downtown arts district to peruse works of art represented from almost thirty cities to include, Antwerp, Bogotá, Brussels, Dubai, Florence and Tokyo.
In these past ten years, the fair has transformed from its early days has a long dilatory weekend excursion, to a weeklong of artistic and cerebral debauchery: previews, exhibition openings, tours, conversations, and galas. To wit, no longer for the fainthearted—only the stealthiest, wealthiest, and most chic of art collectors can penetrate the VIP roster of festivities and survive in triumph.
With ten years of success comes memorable moments, so I asked Dallas Art Fair co-founder John Sughrue and his team, Kelly Cornell and Brandon Kennedy what was their most memorable moment?
Kelly Cornell: One of my favourite moments that happens each year is during load-in when the anticipation and excitement about what the next few days will bring are tangible. The works that we have been viewing on screen are being uncrated, and the life of each fair takes shape. I realised that the fair had arrived when I was walking around with a writer a few years ago and they remarked on all the different languages and accents that you could hear while travelling through the halls. We’ve had galleries participate from all over the world: Tokyo, Australia, and Dubai to name a few. We have a significant presence of European dealers every year, and we continue to grow and establish ourselves as an international art fair.
John Sughrue: In 2016, the Kerlin Gallery from Dublin and one of the finest galleries in the world debuted at the Dallas Art Fair. They unpacked and installed a major sculptural work by Liam Gillick. I realised in a nanosecond that the Art Fair had shifted and was operating at a rarefied level. And I worried…would this brilliant work sell? And sure enough it sold, and it sold even before the Preview Benefit opening. It sold before we opened the Fair! And it can now be seen installed at NorthPark Center. That’s right; this brilliant work had entered the Nasher collection. It was thrilling to know that such a major work of art would be transported to Dallas for the Art Fair and that the works prominence would be recognised immediately and acquired by the Nasher family, who would then install the piece for all Dallasites to enjoy at NorthPark Mall. It was a great moment where I realized that Dallas is truly an international leader in the appreciation of the contemporary arts.
And as a side note, Darragh Hogan, the Director of the Kerlin Gallery, who my wife and I first met in London at the Frieze Fair, many years ago, is now a cherished friend. We regularly see Darragh during his visits to Dallas and, likewise, we have journeyed to Dublin to visit his Gallery. Such is the remarkable nature of the Fair, where not only are Dallasites experiencing the best in the visual arts, but we are making friends for life across the globe through our shared interests in the arts. It doesn’t get better than that!
Brandon Kennedy: After a busy year of working with our participating exhibitors and seeing them around the world at other art fairs, gallery openings, biennials and the like, I look forward to welcoming them all back to Dallas, along with our collectors, arts professionals, sponsors and visitors. In between the introductions, the sales, the excitement, I always reflect on the conversations and the laughs enjoyed after Fair hours that continue long into each evening. For me, it’s about the relationships and the wonderful people who participate and visit us from all the world, for a short while making our already splendid city a little more energetic and full of life. It’s a great way to ring in the spring!
Dallas Art Fair is open to the public on Friday, April 13 through Sunday, April 15, for more details visit here.