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Marfa’s Getting an Art Fair

St. George Hall.

COURTESY MICHAEL PHELAN

The art enclave of Marfa, Texas, will be home to an art fair in the spring of 2019 called the Marfa Invitational, which is being founded by the artist Michael Phelan, who runs the United Artists Ltd. Gallery in the town, and Kenneth Bauso, former investment banker, who’s serving as the new enterprise’s chief financial officer.

“I was really interested in seeing and viewing artists outside of the commercial context of New York and L.A.,” Phelan, who moved to Marfa from New York in 2005, said in a phone interview. “When you’re in Marfa, it’s really this kind of immersive experience where you have time to look at the works. What I wanted to create with the fair is a similar model.”

Scheduled to run from April 4 through April 7, the fair is slated to feature ten galleries, ranging from emerging to more established, each presenting one artist at the Hotel Saint George’s Saint George Hall. The exhibitor list has not been released yet, but the plan is for dealers to be present who have locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Dallas, London, and Paris.

The 10-exhibitor fair in Marfa comes as some other fairs have also been focused on more modestly sized projects. Paris Internationale is planning to have just 42 exhibitors for its run in October, down from the 54 it hosted last year, and Frieze is launching its Los Angeles edition in February with just 70 galleries, whereas its two concurrent London fairs, Frieze and Frieze Masters, together sport about 300 exhibitors.

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