A new hotel-based art fair showcasing established and up-and-coming galleries, and organised by a local gallerist, will coincide with the Dallas Art Fair in April as the city’s clout in the art market continues to grow.
James Cope, who runs Dallas gallery And Now, is organising the new Dallas Invitational Art Fair to be held at the Fairmont Hotel across the street from Dallas’s Fashion Industry Gallery, the venue that hosts the Dallas Art Fair (20-23 April). Like the Felix Art Fair in Los Angeles, participating galleries will display works inside guest rooms throughout the hotel. (Cope says he was inspired by the early days of New York’s Gramercy International Art Fair in the 1990s, before the event became The Armory Show.)
Cope says the proximity between his new event and Dallas’s flagship fair will “create some synergy” between the two. The Dallas Invitational will run over the weekend, 22 April and 23 April.
Cope first raised the idea of creating a small satellite fair in Dallas to fellow gallerists during Art Basel in Miami Beach, which Cope says “everyone was really enthusiastic about”. He began planning the new fair as soon as he arrived home to Dallas, where he has lived for more than 20 years.
“There’s kind of a buzz about Dallas at the moment,” Cope says. “Galleries from New York and Los Angeles and Europe are doing a lot of business here.”
Along with Cope’s And Now, galleries taking part in the inaugural Dallas Invitational Art Fair include Lomex and Simone Subal from New York; Commonwealth and Council, Hannah Hoffman, Kristina Kite and Stars from Los Angeles; Emalin, Soft Opening and Project Native Informant from London; Edouard Montassut from Paris; and Felix Gaudlitz from Vienna.
“We’re all friends and we all share similar tastes and interests. Everyone’s been invited—there’s no application process or open call. It’s a fair essentially, but it’s more of a curated gathering of like-minded dealers,” Cope says.
All of the galleries taking part also already do business with clients in Dallas, Cope says, because he wanted to invite dealers who know the local landscape.
“There’s just money flowing out of the ground in Dallas, but it’s actually a very hard nut to crack. People are open and friendly here, but they’re also skeptical of [opportunists],” Cope says.
Cope says he’s expecting a slower pace at the Dallas Invitational Art Fair compared to the larger Dallas Art Fair (which will feature 90 exhibitors this year), and that he's not advertising it on billboards or in magazines. He hopes the event will allow dealers to spend more time with collectors, and that visitors could spend a few hours exploring the hotel room stands on a weekend afternoon.
Even just through word-of-mouth before the official announcement of the event, Cope says he heard from more galleries asking to get involved. He adds, “I can't take on 30 galleries, but it seems like there’s a need for it. It seems like I can easily do it next year and make it a bigger thing.”