If I am honest, the NADA New York art fair has never really been on my radar as a place for photography. I haven’t heard other photo collectors talking about it, and while it is by definition a haven for new and emerging galleries (which might make it a promising place for more general artistic risk taking), I hadn’t ever wandered the halls to see for myself what was photographically on view. I am happy to report that if my visit this year is any indication of the kind of photography that is typically shown at this fair, I will certainly be back.
But let’s be clear – this fair is out on the edges, at least photographically. Aside from one selection of unearthed Janice Guy nudes from the late 1970s (very good and certainly underappreciated), there was virtually no vintage photography on view. And while works by Mariah Robertson, Hannah Whitaker, and Matthew Porter did make appearances, most of the other contemporary names were meaningfully less well known. This is a venue for exploration, not reaffirmation.
That newness brings with it a sense of fresh perspective – there is an opportunity to see new ideas percolating and common threads being reinterpreted. Rephotography, inkjet printing on unexpected substrates, in-camera masking, photocollage (both analog and digital), and photograms – process ideas we are altogether familiar with at this point – were all being reconsidered through the prism of different (and largely unknown, at least to me) minds. Seeing this work helped me to fill in gaps in the larger contemporary landscape and broadened my view of how these concepts and approaches are being assimilated across the medium.
Gallery-wise, aside from M+B and a handful of Lower East Side galleries already on my watch list, most of the exhibitors who had some form of photography hanging on their booth walls were new additions to the Collector Daily database. I am sure there is some old adage to be trotted out here about repeatedly looking in the same places and finding the same things, but in comparison, NADA’s roomy hallways and skewed booths felt easygoing and open, just the kind of place to find something I wasn’t looking for.
This report is organized as an annotated slideshow; gallery names/links are followed by the artist/photographer name, the price of the work, and some notes and comments as appropriate. The booths are loosely organized by my path through the fair, beginning at the main entrance and working relatively consecutively from Zone 1 to Zone 4.