One thing that marks this year’s Dallas Art Fair is the growing number of foreign exhibitors. They make up almost 20 percent of the galleries that have set up shop at the fair, which opens today. KERA’s Jerome Weeks went in search of some of these first-time visitors.
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It’s the press preview for the Dallas Art Fair, wine’s being served but people are still getting ready, adjusting lights, putting up title cards next to artworks,. The Fair is not exactly on the level of the affairs that go on in Venice or even Miami, but it’s six years old now, and it’s become more or less established.
Which means it’s joined a crowded world of similar art festivals, biennales, art markets and fairs. So I wanted to find out why these foreign newcomers flew here from halfway across the planet. The main reason is money, of course. In that way, at least, the fair is like any industry convention. All our wealthy collectors, bless ’em, make cracking the Texas market a serious goal.
But again, money has piled up for the wealthy in a number of cities — as our jobless economic recovery attests. So beyond the deals to be made, why had these people come to Dallas – in particular — for the first time? What had they heard?
I’m Jeremy Epstein, co-founder of Edel Assanti, a London gallery: [Dallas is] a community that seems to be trying to make itself very accessible and very friendly, which is quite uncharacteristic for the art world. So that makes it very appealing to people like us who are from Old Europe that is kind of normally characterized by the opposite tendencies.
My name is Kiira Miesmaa, and I’m from Finland: Just because, I guess, we were really recommended by this fair. We heard how exhibitors and collectors are close, and so I thought it was this interesting combination. And now when we are here, I like this place. It’s very different than these big exhibition centers. This has, like, a gallery feeling.
My name is Maria-Theresia Pongracz, and I am living in London and working for Hus Gallery: Well, this is the best art fair in Texas, isn’t it? And Texas is just rising in terms of art with Marfa and everything. I just feel like there’s amazing collectors here, there’s fantastic museums, there’s such great art here. So I think it’s very important and we’re very lucky to be here.
My name is Beatriz Esguerra: I am the owner of Beatriz Esguerra Art and I am from Bogota, Colombia, South America. There is a certain connection between Latin American art and Texas. And so Texas is a destination for me. So that is why I am working on opening a market in the state of Texas.
More than 90 galleries are in the Dallas Art Fair this year. Some are from as far away as South Korea.