Miami art fairs spar over December exhibitors
Nada asks galleries to withdraw from competing Untitled fair
By Christian Viveros-Fauné. Web only
Published online: 17 October 2012
The art fairs Nada Miami Beach and Untitled have been sparring recently over exhibitors for their respective shows this December. On 11 October, a letter went out from the desk of Heather Hubbs, the New Art Dealers Alliance (Nada) director, asking exhibitors who had also signed up with the inaugural Untitled fair to withdraw and to “commit to Nada solely”. That request was followed up by the warning: “Galleries that choose NOT to withdraw will not be able to participate in further fairs with Nada.” Considering the fact that Nada also operates successful fairs in Manhattan, Hudson, and Cologne, Germany, such a request from the ten-year-old organisation carries real weight with emerging galleries.
Untitled confirmed that it had received a copy of the letter. A spokesman later issued a written statement: “Our attorneys have sent a cease and desist letter to Nada and demanded that they immediately notify those with whom it has been in contact that it is withdrawing its opposition to such exhibitors participating in the Untitled fair.” The first-time fair, to be held in a tent designed by John Keenen of Keenen/Riley Architects (K/R) on the beach in Miami Beach, is led by Jeff Lawson, an ex-vice president of the Scope art fair, and the independent curator Omar Lopez-Chahoud. “We are only working with galleries that express interest in working with Untitled. We have been very open with Nada’s artistic direction since the beginning,” says Lawson.
Nada, for its part, issued its own statement on 17 October, which the organisation said it intends to circulate to all Nada exhibitors. The statement acknowledges that its exhibitor contract contains no “exclusivity clause” and therefore “may have placed some exhibitors in a difficult position” with respect to “participation by a single exhibitor in multiple fairs at the same time”.
In the end, Nada says it recognises that its “exhibitors in Nada Miami Beach may also exhibit at any other Miami fair this year, without prejudice to participation in future Nada fairs in Miami or elsewhere”. However, the statement says, the selection committee intends to revisit the exhibitor contract next year.
Correction: the original version of this article incorrectly reported that Terry Riley of Keenen/Riley Architects (K/R) designed the tent for the Untitled fair.
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