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Lower East Side flies south for Nada

With many of its exhibitors coming from Lower Manhattan, this Miami fair feels a bit like visiting the emerging arts district

The New Art Dealers Alliance takes place at the Deauville Beach Resort, with its infamous brown carpet and crystal chandeliers

Apart from the Deauville Beach Resort’s infamous brown carpet and crystal chandeliers, strolling the booths at the New Art Dealers Alliance (Nada) fair in Miami feels a bit like zigzagging the galleries of the Lower East Side on a Sunday night. That’s probably because nearly a third of the 76 dealers in the main section of this year’s fair (there are 18 additional exhibitors in the projects section) are based in the emerging Manhattan art district. That, and the modestly sized booths at Nada, which is housed at the old Modernist hotel on 67th Street and Collins Avenue, aren’t such a stretch from many of the dealer’s equally modest spaces back home.

“We have a lot of friends here,” says Ingrid Bromberg Kennedy, the co-owner of the Ludlow Street-based Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, which has been participating in Nada since 2007. Von Nichtssagend shares a wall at Nada with its Lower East Side neighbour Kerry Schuss, and is just steps away from its fellow Lower Manhattan mainstays Rachel Uffner, Invisible-Exports, Laurel Gitlen and Canada, among others.

As well as familiar faces, there are a few common aesthetic threads that emerge as well. Much of the work on view feels handmade, crafty and tactile, such as the tapestry woven of feathers at Canada, John Byam’s whittled wooden sculptures at Andrew Edlin, and Alice Channer’s drippy, pink resin contours at Lisa Cooley.

Even the painting tends to display a more developed material intelligence than one might expect. At New York’s Clifton Benevento, Gina Beaver piles acrylic paint into fetishistic mounds of meat and muscles. At London’s Seventeen Gallery, Sachin Kaeley paints acrylic-gel impastos which he then casts and spray-paints.

Kaeley is the first painter that the sculpture- and installation-centric gallery has ever signed, and it appears to have paid off. “The booth definitely feels busier,” says Seventeen associate director Tim Steer. “Maybe it’s because we have painting. Everybody loves painting.”

But the fair has also introduced a few non-Lower East Side newcomers this year, including Marlborough Chelsea, which is showing work by Tony Matelli, Mike Bouchet and the artist duo Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, who also have a “secret” exhibition in a hotel room upstairs.

Also over from Chelsea is the Outsider art specialist Andrew Edlin Gallery. “There weren’t enough self-taught artists at the other fairs,” says its director Rebecca Hoffman. At Nada, the gallery is among fellow Outsider dealers including Adams and Ollman, Creative Growth and Feature Inc. “We have more peers here, and it’s more our energy.”

The Los Angeles and New York-based artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe have a “secret” exhibition in a hotel room upstairs
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