Arts / Galleries

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

Iconic-to-Cool Galleries from New York, Texas, and Beyond

BY // 04.19.22

It’s the reason our April issue devoted 12 pages to our inaugural Top Collectors in Texas feature, and why Dallas has eclipsed every other city in the state as a dynamic 21st-century nexus for collecting and visual culture. Just as a great newspaper leads a town, so has the Dallas Art Fair jump-started engagement (including with the city’s top three museums and their trustees), stimulated intellectual curiosity, and birthed serious inquiry into the art of collecting contemporary artists from around the globe — talents whose work possesses smart content, paired with singular, finely honed aesthetics. Dare we say that few collectors on our Top 25 list would ever miss this rite of spring.

Kudos to John Sughrue, who co-founded Dallas Art Fair back in 2009 with Chris Byrne (now leading the Elaine de Kooning House Residency) — an endeavor unique in being the only non-big-box major fair in America. DAF is Texas born and raised. Against many odds, the fair has grown, survived challenges (the economic crisis of October 2008, months before its first edition; the pandemic-induced rescheduling of the 2020 and 2021 editions), and thrived to impact and bring together not only an entire community, but arts enthusiasts, advocates, curators, and collectors across the state.

446_Schacky Art & Advisory, Andy Warhol, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1977, Polaroid, 10.8 x8 8.6cm, 4 ¼ x 3 ½ in, Unique
Andy Warhol’s “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” 1977, at Schacky Art & Advisory

Dallas Art Fair roars back at full capacity this month, returning to Fashion Industry Gallery. The robust, full-sized 14th edition features 85 international, national, and Texas galleries. Dallas Arts Month, staged annually in April, is on — as is the sexy, fabulous party The Eye Ball, presented by Headington Companies on Saturday, April 23, around Tony Tasset’s oracular gargantuan eyeball. (Secure your entry with the purchase of an all-access pARTy Pass, $500.) Long-time director Kelly Cornell (who began as an intern and rose to become the curatorial vision behind the fair) says, “Once again, we’ll be raising funds to put works from the fair into the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection.” To date, this initiative has added nearly 40 artworks, selected by a coterie of DMA curators and donors, to the Dallas Art Fair Foundation Acquisition Program; this knowledgeable group tours the fair pre-opening day to make their selections to be gifted to the DMA. Once again, the opening afternoon- into-evening champagne fête, Thursday, April 21, is the place to be for collecting action, camaraderie, and art buzz.

442_Drexel Galeria – Pablo Santibañez Untitled, 2022 Oil : canvas 51 x 64 in
Pablo Santibañez’s “Untitled,” 2022, at Drexel Galería.

Here’s a shortlist of recommended booths: global powerhouse Perrotin; iconic-to-cool NYC dealers Kasmin and Karma; European bastions of important discourse Hales Gallery, London, and Kerlin Gallery, in from Dublin; and L.A. outposts of cool Anat Ebgi, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Night Gallery, Luis De Jesus, and Various Small Fires (L.A., Seoul), which also unveils a permanent Dallas space timed to the opening of the fair. (We’ll be catching up with VSF’s Esther Kim Varet in the coming weeks for an in-depth profile.)

The lineup of 15 Texas-HQed galleries is stellar, and all are worthy of investigation: Design District pioneer Conduit Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts, Erin Cluley Gallery (check out Kevin Todora’s new take on photography), Sicardi Ayers Bacino (museum-caliber Latin American offerings), influential Inman Gallery, McClain Gallery (ask to see works by color-field great Dorothy Hood), edgy Bill Arning Exhibitions, fresh sister act 12.26, Galleri Urbane, Keijsers Koning (where we’re tracking SMU MFA grad William Burton Binnie’s noir-like image-making), Peter Augustus (for Asian contemporary), historic Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, William Campbell Gallery, Sputnik Modern (mid-century design), and new fair arrival Martha’s Contemporary from Austin.

Doug Ohlson’s “Light Lock,” 2006, at Louis Stern Fine Arts.

This fair is always morphing forward. On what’s novel this year, Cornell says, “We’re working with more design galleries as we develop our foothold in the world of design. We also have a notable increase of exhibiting galleries from Mexico [Drexel Galería, Proyecto H, Galería Curro, Saenger Galería]. These galleries have been doing some of the most exciting work in the field.” Stay tuned.

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Dallas Art Fair. April 21 – 24; Early Access Champagne Soirée, Thursday, April 21, 4 to 8 pm, supporting Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Museum of Art, and Nasher Sculpture Center; dallasartfair.com.

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