The most conspicuous newcomer to the constellation of Art Basel Miami Beach’s satellite fairs this year was Untitled, with 46 galleries and non-profit art spaces contained in a capacious temporary tent designed by K/R Architects on the beach next to Ocean Drive. “I wanted to create spaces where people don’t feel claustrophobic, where they want to stay and look, and where there are not too many galleries,” said Untitled’s artistic director, the New York-based curator Omar Lopez-Chahoud. “It’s really important that artists are made to feel good in a fair that’s more like an exhibition.”
Indeed, so anxious was the New York Dealers Alliance about the potential threat of the shorefront newcomer that it attempted to bar its exhibitors from future editions of Nada should they also take part in Untitled—a stricture it subsequently had to withdraw. Certainly, Untitled’s airy spaces, abundant natural light and panoramic ocean views seemed to instil a feelgood factor in visitors and participants alike. “The space is beautiful, and we have sold to both American and Italian collectors and made a lot of new Miami contacts,” said the Pool Gallery’s Viola Romoli, who sold several photographs by Bianca Sforni, each priced at $4,000, and reported keen interest in the exquisite peephole dioramas of Patrick Jacobs.
There were no complaints from New York’s Dodge Gallery, either. With one day of the fair still to run, it had completely sold out its booth, which contained seven painted split-wood sculptures by Jason Middlebrook, priced between $18,000 and $20,000.
Nada stays strong
Over at Nada, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary and its third year at the Deauville beach resort, four galleries braved the organisers’ wrath by participating in both fairs. “Each fair provided a completely different experience. Untitled had so much space and the first night was phenomenal; it was a very different, more local Miami crowd,” said Adriana Farietta of Johannes Vogt Gallery, which reported “great sales” and visits from “all the major collectors” at its “more intimate booth” at Nada, where the gallery had a solo artist project of works by Sadie Benning ($3,000-$50,000). The Hole, New York, had a similar experience. Its assistant director, Amanda Schmitt, said: “Untitled was a great new fair, but all the hard hitters come to buy at Nada.” The gallery made good sales there of Holton Rower’s vivid poured paintings ($26,000-$45,000).
Overall, while Untitled is undoubtedly an attractive new presence, Nada need fear no threat to its solid status as the main alternative to Art Basel Miami Beach. All the galleries we canvassed reported excellent sales, including the Green Gallery from Milwaukee, which sold its entire stock of paintings by Michelle Grabner, the next curator of the Whitney Biennial, within the first hour of opening. London’s Jonathan Viner declared: “It was better than ever this year—but I never ship anything back from Nada.”
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Beach versus pool as Nada warns defectors'