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Art Fairs are seemingly the extension of a global, contemporary Art World.  With an indirect lineage to 18th century Artist Salons of Louis XV’s court bridged with the 20th century’s enthusiasm for world fairs, they allow galleries to highlight their inventory and art historical specialization to a local and jet-setting public. With art fairs located globally, each has a distinct personality linked to its location: bringing visitors the opportunity to view spectacular art and the spectacular people who enjoy it.

FADA Member Galleries participate in art fairs year-round.  Speaking to FADA Member Jonathan Novak of Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, who recently exhibited at Art Palm Springs, insight was offered into the methodical preparation galleries undertake before the show. 

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Setting up the booth: Pre-Artwork Installation of Howard Hodgkin works

How do you choose which artworks go to an art fair?

Typically, we work very hard throughout the year to acquire and add to our gallery’s collection. When it comes time for art fairs, Jonathan reviews what works we have available and brings paintings, sculpture, and prints that represent our vast array of artists. Our chosen inventory is typically full of variety in terms of style and price range—but one constant is that we tend to focus on established Post-War and Contemporary artists.

Why are Art Fairs important for the gallery?

Art fairs are a wonderful way for us to connect with new people who have never been to our gallery, and they are also a great way to connect with galleries and clients that we have worked with over the years. There is nothing quite like face-to-face interaction, and we enjoy having the opportunity to present our works in an environment that is all about art appreciation.

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The "After," Howard Hodgkin works up and ready for display 

How many art fairs does the gallery participate in each year?

We participate in 2-4 art fairs per year.

How is the booth curated?

The booth is curated to work as a whole. Before the fairs, we create a mock-up of how we envision the booth. Once we arrive, as a team we put together a layout full of variety. The end goal is to have each work compliment one another and to represent the vast number of artists whose works are in our gallery inventory.

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A Sam Francis corner at Art Palm Springs

Especially as the booth is such a temporary space, how do you create an inviting environment in the booth?

We put great effort into making our space inviting, from the flow of the booth design, to the large table with chairs that we bring to fairs, along with fresh flowers, and snacks/refreshments for our guests. Ultimately, we want people to be comfortable within our gallery.

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 Frank Stella in Jonathan Novak Contemporary's Art Palm Springs booth
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