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Arts / Museums

The 10 Most Intriguing People at the Fair

Your Peek Inside Dallas’ Art Extravaganza

BY // 04.07.16

The Dallas Art Fair is around the corner, and here are 10 reasons we’re going to be there.

1. Sedrick Huckaby is having a trifecta of a year. The Yale-educated hometown hero is one of the top seven (and is currently on view) in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s tony Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Concurrently, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents Huckaby as one of its headliners in “Identity.” Catch the Fort Worth talent’s epic ode to the quilt — as metaphor for family and the African-American experience — in the Valley House booth.

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Sedrick Huckaby with his “Just a Few Patches,” 2013-2014, at Valley House Gallery. (Photo Stephen Ironside, courtesy the artist and and Valley House Gallery)

2. Jay Shinn continues his path as one of preeminent second-generation artists to work with light. Inheriting the mantle of Turrell, Irwin and Flavin calls for an unerring aesthetic — and Dallas-, Manhattan- and Berlin-based Shinn lives up to the challenge. Italy’s Louise Alexander Gallery, a Fair newcomer, presents Shinn’s latest light sculpture, which evidences a new late- Rothko palette exuding gravitas. Simultaneously, the Crow Collection has commissioned Shinn to fill its Flora Street windows with neon in collaboration with area high school students, perfectly timed for Fair week.

3. Anthony Sonnenberg’s practice could be described as ceramics a gogo. The Texas artist’s concoctions from clay push the boundaries of the medium, involving flourishes of cut metal alongside floridly glazed ceramic sculpture, as well as a dose of performance art. Or as the artist himself says, “somewhere between the ornately beautiful and the grotesque.” Conduit Gallery plans a Baroque-inspired Sonnenberg crown as its booth entry statement.

4. Hassan Hajjaj captivated audiences and critics alike at last summer’s Art Basel. Now the Moroccan-born, London- and Marrakesh-based Hajjaj headlines at the Taymour Grahne booth. His pop photography and filmmaking probe political issues, including the Nike global branding of athletes, prefiguring recent controversies in the soccer and running realms. Exhibited during FotoFest 2014 and collected by music royals including Usher, Hajjaj is best known for a series about empowered Moroccan biker chicks, the subject of his recent film Karima: A Day in the Life of a Henna Girl, which screened last summer at Basel.

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Hassan Hajjaj’s “Feetball,” 2006, at Taymour Grahne Gallery (Courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York)

5. Francisco Moreno represented the Texas talent pool as Soluna 2015’s only Dallas artist participant. His pairing of painting with performance, which offered an ode to souped-up muscle cars, is still talked about. Eagerly watched talent scout Erin Cluley Gallery heads to the Fair for the first time, and Moreno is a must-see in the booth; Cluley brings his latest, “Slates,” reminiscent of paintings first created to pay off grad-school debt.

6. James Cope’s And Now gallery is a Fair newcomer. This red-hot gallerist’s curatorial chops include a directorship at Marlborough Chelsea and, closer to home, a stint as curator for The Goss-Michael Foundation. He focuses on eight for the Fair, including Elizabeth Jaeger, who blurs the line between sculpture and painting while alluding to the banal. Fresh from showing in MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York” and slated for an upcoming four-person exhibit at the Whitney and inclusion in a group show at NYC’s SculptureCenter, Jaeger is a good bet for the acquisition list.

7. Various Small Fires, returning again to the Fair, is L.A.’s most exciting prognosticator of content and creators. Dallas-raised dealer/director Esther Kim Varet is a welcomed-back regular, and you can spot those in-the-know like Cindy Schwartz stopping by. For the 2016 Fair, Varet is excited about L.A. painter-sculptor Lena Daly, whose surfaces seem to echo a seismic or oceanographic phenomenon, complete with phosphorescent pigment.

8. Keri Oldham is living the dream, with a New York-based art and curatorial career and an avid base of Instagram followers. The Coppell High School grad wins kudos for reviving the medium of Winslow Homer (watercolor) and making it relevant today by marrying feminist content with Jungian concepts. Kirk Hopper Fine Art showcases Miz Oldham’s latest and greatest.

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Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s “Perfect Baby Showroom (detail),” 2014, at Leila Heller Gallery (Courtesy the artist and Leila Heller Gallery, NYC and Dubai)

9. Rachel Lee Hovnanian returns, and this time, the internationally exhibited, Manhattan-based artist takes over Leila Heller Gallery with an immersive installation of infants in incubators, guaranteed to stop traffic. While the Houston-reared talent previously addressed constructs of beauty, she now considers the idea, perhaps not too far in the future, of the genetically engineered child.

10. Honor Fraser, Scottish royal and model metamorphosed into gallerist, defines the L.A. scene. A first-time exhibitor, this veteran of the Armory Show devotes her booth to one artist: Sarah Cain. The lively installations, which mine home decor, painting and sculpture, are fresh, smart and unpredictable, blowing in with a welcome breeze of California cool. For our exclusive conversation with Miz Fraser — divulging the path from being Alexander McQueen’s favorite model and international cover girl to cutting-edge gallerist — go to papercitymag.com.

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