NADA New York 2016
By Helena Calmfors
The fifth edition of NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) New York lived up to its expectations of being an art fair full of discovery and variety of art forms. Since the non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting new contemporary art, the fair has become a place for emerging galleries to present more experimental pieces. More challenging works of art opposing the establishment within the art world were present, but focus on sales was also a big part of the 2016 edition. Numbers were quickly thrown at visitors as they entered the booths, rather than discussions of the concepts of the pieces at hand, which put a bit of a cloud on the excitement of discovering new art.
While a lot of the showcased work screamed of eager-to-please (trying to shock the art world with genitalia and sex apparently never gets old) there was definitely some excitement to be found, mostly in the use of new technology and new ways of using existing techniques. In general, for the photography present at the fair, it was more about the use of the media rather than the motifs themselves, which resulted in some pretty exciting pieces.
At Bitforms Gallery, Yael Kanarek’s pictures of landscapes were printed and showcased like photographs but created digitally. The pieces integrate technology, storytelling and the idea of travel. The works of art are part of a project started in 1995, where synthesized landscapes of a parallel world are created from data retrieved from IP-addresses of visitors of the project’s website.
At UK gallery Kinman it was all about the installation and placement of the images. New York artist Peter Sutherland’s photography covered the walls and the floors of the booth, as well as a bench that was part of the installation. The photos of Alps on the back of the human made bench and the visitors walking on top of the nature images on the floor, clearly expressed the clash of man and nature.
At Vancouver’s Or Gallery the excitement came in the form of experimental use of photography. Jessica Eaton’s photographs are a result of her use of analog techniques and light manipulation, resulting in vibrantly colorful abstract images. Not only visually appealing, but the photographs also challenge the perception of color, light and space.
The use of photography and the digital mimic of photo-art were perhaps the more exciting and challenging themes at the NADA 2016 fair. These pieces didn’t try too hard to impress, instead they kept the focus on the art form itself. This is when NADA is at its best. When the galleries try too hard to live up to the expectation of presenting experimental works of art, they sometimes lose site of presenting work that has intrinsic excitement and new approaches to art. Thanks to the variety of different art forms and the more relaxed environment in comparison to the bigger fairs, NADA still offers something very important to the art world: the possibility to appreciate the fun of art, may it be trying too hard or not.
Thumbnail image: ©Logan Wolf, NADA Fair
Article: ©Helena Calmfors