Hurricane Irma rampaged through Miami Beach last September, displacing citizens and damaging many a beachfront property, so much so that some remain closed still, in the midst of Miami Art Week. One such property is the Deauville, a mid-beach hotel that usually hosts NADA Miami. Damage there was extensive enough that NADA had to find a new space, so the fair turned to Ice Palace Studios, the downtown Miami venue that hosted the fair starting with its second edition in 2004 and ending in 2008. Since then, NADA Miami has grown in size and stature—the first fair had 60 galleries, while the 2017 fair has 108.
It opened to VIPs this morning, and by the early afternoon several dealers had reported selling out their booths to collectors ready to snap up work.
Heather Hubbs, NADA’s director, who has been leading the fair since the 2004 outing, said that, though showing in the retro glitz of the Deauville had its appeal, she could not be more excited to be back off the beach and in the city proper.
“It’s just a better venue for the fair,” she said this morning. “It’s more central—and it might not have been in 2008. The Pérez wasn’t even around then.”
In addition to the Pérez Art Museum Miami, off-beach attractions now include a revitalized Design District—as of this year, the new home of ICA Miami—as well as the Wynwood Art District, all much closer to NADA’s once-and-current home than South Beach.
“I’m just so glad it all worked out—the clutter of the hotel ballroom had its charm, but this is where the fair should be,” said Phil Grauer, whose Canada gallery is the lone outfit to show at both the 2004 fair and the edition this year.
Grauer said that, in the opening hours, he had sold a $18,000 work by Jess Fuller to the real-estate developer Jerry Speyer, who is also the chairman of the board at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also sold a number of works by Katharine Bradford, as well as a 2007 work by Chris Martin for $35,000.
That price point is about the middle of the range. At the high end, work by Jessica Dickinson was selling at the James Fuentes booth for $75,000.
“It’s a much better facility here,” Fuentes said, echoing a sentiment that was widespread.
Harper Levine, who runs Harper’s Books as a gallery and rare-book shop in East Hampton, ably sold a $14,000 work by Spencer Lewis (who is Mark Grotjahn’s longtime studio assistant), while the Brussels gallery Super Dakota had work by Chris Dorland going for $14,000 as well. Moran Bondaroff had a $22,000 work by Eric N. Mack on reserve, a large swatch of carpeting that took over much of the booth.
The artist Cynthia Talmadge was present to see her solo show at the 56 Henry booth sell out completely. A member of a prominent collecting family impulse-bought one work: a $5,500 painting of the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, the Upper East Side cremation spot that has been the final destination for Nikola Tesla, Jackie Onassis, and the Notorious B.I.G.
“He said he lived across the street and had to have it,” Talmadge said.
Talmadge was not the only artist hawking their own wares. The dealer (and ARTnews columnist) Joel Mesler brought his own work to show in the booth of his own gallery, Rental, as had been foretold in a video he made to preview the fair. His $12,000 paintings had all been bought, including one large work that showed a head cradled in another person’s arms, with text reading “Art dealers can get lonely.”
It was purchased by David Kordansky, the art dealer.
NADA Miami continues through Sunday.