Culture / Arts

Our Guide to the Dallas Art Fair — The Best Booths, Whom to See, Where to Be, and All the Buzz

Artists to Collect Now

BY // 11.10.21

What was previously a rite of spring in the calendar of global art fairs — Dallas Art Fair, in our mind, the only non big-box art fair in America co-founded and run by a civic leader — pivoted in 2021 to the fall. (The 2022 edition is back on track for April 21 through 24). Anticipation and expectations run high as Dallas Art Fair tenaciously returns to Fashion Industry Gallery, in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, Friday, through Sunday, November 12 through 14.

In the interest of COVID-19 safety, guests are required to show proof of vaccination. The Fair is changing up the Preview Gala to allow for more social distancing, rebranding the event as the Early Access Champagne Soirée (Thursday, November 11, 4 to 8 pm, still benefiting Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and Dallas Contemporary).

NEW: Eminent galleries host evening viewings and other special experiences, notably open houses at The Warehouse and The Karpidas Collection. (Sign-up is often required: visit dallasartfair.com for details.)

JUST IN: The Dallas Art Fair steps up for women’s rights with a $50,000 donation to Planned Parenthood Greater Texas, an activist response to our state’s restrictive abortion law.

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Alicia Eggert’s “IT IS TIME,” 2020, at Liliana Bloch Gallery

While thinned a bit due to the pandemic, the Fair will offer nearly 60 galleries that reflect not only the best of Texas (more on that in a moment), but also a transatlantic vision via a curated roster of dealers arriving from Berlin, Bogotá, Florence, Kiev, London (we’re beelining to Bastian Gallery’s trove of Warhols, Picassos, and Kiefers), Mexico City, Milan, Montreal (Wanda Koop’s haunting surrealism is a discovery at Galerie Blouin Division), Toronto, and Turin.

Art-Star Lineup

Naturally, the Fair has a healthy dose of New York dealers. These include Marlborough, Morgan Lehman, and Karma, all on our list, as well as the more recently minted JDJ, as well as those from white-hot L.A., especially Lowell Ryan Projects, presenting a monographic show for Justin Aidan’s disarming abstract sculpture, joined by the always art-smart Anat Ebgi, Night Gallery (also showing Wanda Koop), and Nino Mier Gallery, among others.

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Farther afield, make a point to check out the programs of the 2021-founded Scott Miller Projects, arriving from Birmingham, Alabama; Dallas Art Fair veteran, based in St. Louis, William Shearburn Gallery, where you might score a Mark Flood painting; and James Barron Art of Kent, Connecticut, an art historian owned gallery showcasing these icons: Sol LeWitt, Beverly Pepper, and Anthony Caro, as well as Dallas Contemporary fall headliner Peter Halley).

Dallas’ most important dealers return, as well as some fresh faces. Among the stalwarts: Conduit Gallery (the dealer who was first to move to the Dallas Design District), Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden (Texas’ oldest gallery), bellwether Erin Cluley Gallery, activist Liliana Bloch Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Art, and Galleri Urbane, joined by fresh faces sister-act 12.26, P.A.O. Projects with its contemporary Japanese bent, the reopened Oliver Francis Gallery, and brand new arrival Keijsers Koning, debuting in Dallas after 15 years in New York (recommended, former Dallas talent/Beefhaus co-founder William Burton Binnie of the film noirish canvases and works on paper).

Also investigate Dallas modernist art + design denizen Sputnik Modern, where Edward Wormley furniture dialogues with Stanley Boxer paintings and Jack Zajak sculpture. From Fort Worth, William Campbell Contemporary Art is notable for its Texas-centric stable as it approaches its half-century anniversary. At San Antonio gallerist Patricia Healy’s Ruiz Healy Art (which also has a space in NYC), the three-person show for Texas trio Jesse Amado, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, and Carlos Rosales-Silva promises to be museum-level.

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Olga de Amaral’s “Semiluna,” 2015, at Sicardi l Ayers l Bacino

Rounding out the Texas action, a noteworthy quartet of Houston dealers make for important Dallas Art Fair viewing: Inman Gallery (Jamal Cyrus, fresh from his Blaffer Art Museum retrospective, is collector worthy); McClain Gallery (see a cache of Dorothy Hood canvases and works on paper); Bill Arning Exhibitions (Two x Two talent Terry Suprean’s painting are sublime); and Sicardi l Ayers l Bacino (with Latin American greats such as Carlos Cruz-Diez and Olga de Amaral).

In closing, this preview has been written with envy from Houston where we no longer have art fairs, and collecting has plateaued with an uptick only recently with the opening of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Kinder Building last November. Kudos to the Dallas Art Fair — led by co-founder John Sughrue and his close-knit team, Fair director Kelly Cornell and VIP relations head Sarah Blagden — for all it has done since 2009 to foster new collectors, support Texas galleries and their artists, benefit Dallas museums and create one of America’s most engaged art communities.

Dallas Art Fair 2021, Friday through Sunday, November 12 through 14, at Fashion Industry Gallery, tickets/details here. Early Access Champagne Soirée (Thursday, November 11, 4 to 8 pm, benefiting Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and Dallas Contemporary); tickets here.

All images courtesy the artists and their respective galleries.

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