The New Art Dealers Alliance, or NADA, announced on Wednesday that it would cancel its annual New York art fair — one of many in a crowded scene that flares up each March around the Armory Show at the Piers — and open a new gallery for its members outside the city.
NADA, a nonprofit organization that advocates contemporary art, has been a showcase for emerging talent and trailblazers for over 15 years. The group, based in New York, still has a year-round calendar of events and programs, including a major fair in Miami that will return in December, with no intention of scaling back.
In lieu of its New York fair, NADA will “dedicate additional resources to gallery programming during the March Art Week,” it said in a statement, “with the ultimate aim of increasing both foot traffic and visibility of gallery exhibitions among its members.”
In addition, NADA said that it planned to open a gallery space for its own exhibitions, with works from its member galleries. NADA didn’t specify where, and didn’t immediately respond to an interview request.
“Producing alternative models for the public to engage with contemporary art has always been central to NADA’s mission,” Heather Hubbs, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement.
NADA’s fair, which moved to West SoHo in 2017, has been well-established in New York; in March it exhibited works from 100 galleries from 17 countries. But it has faced increasing competition as small independent fairs, with a similar focus on contemporary art, proliferated in recent years.
In an interview, Michael Plummer — who with his partner, Jeff Rabin, is a co-owner of Tefaf New York, a major player in the local and global art fair scene, said that NADA’s location likely didn’t help its prospects.
“They were downtown, while the Armory Show is at the piers,” he said, referring to the contemporary and modern art fair held on Piers 92 & 94, closer to Midtown.
“It’s also a time of year when it’s not necessarily easy to get around town,” he observed. “They had more obstacles than they did in Miami Beach.” Mr. Plummer added that NADA faces an uphill battle as a nonprofit competing with for-profit art fairs; he called NADA fairs “refreshing” and a good counterbalance to behemoths like Art Basel.
“I think whenever a fair pulls back it’s an unfortunate thing,” Mr. Plummer said. “So much sweat and love and tears go into it.”
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