Death to the White Cube: SEVEN

by Paddy Johnson on December 3, 2011 · 3 comments Art Fair

Installation view at SEVEN. Image via: SEVEN

After a few days at Art Basel Miami Beach, it's easy to forget that art doesn't always come in cubes. Museums and private collections offer some respite, but among the legion of Basel satellite fairs, only one dares break the mould: SEVEN. SEVEN's organizers – BravinLee programs, Hales Gallery, Pierogi Gallery, Postmasters, P.P.O.W., Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, and Winkleman Gallery, all from New York – have worked collaboratively, arranging their works in a flowing exhibition whose geography is determined less by funding and more by content.

Like most of the Miami fairs, they are already reporting better sales than the previous season. Foot traffic has been good, and a large number of collectors, curators, and museum groups have visited the fair. They may not be done yet; Edward Winkleman said his gallery's follow-up sales last year were the best the gallery ever had.

This year, SEVEN also has more changes to report than most fairs. The fair is in a new location, trading raw size for flexibility. “We had more options to configure the space,” Magda Sawon of Postmasters told us matter of factly. In 2010, the fair not only suffered from plumbing problems, but a contract that did not allow for the same kind of wall-building done this time around.

Installation view at SEVEN. Image via: SEVEN

While gains were made through construction, the smaller size of the space meant some sacrifices. One particular loss was the the exhibition's spectacular video projection booths. When we told Winkleman we missed the rooms, he downplayed their loss, saying the decision was also informed by a desire not to “repeat themselves”. “There's actually more video in this fair” he added. “Previously we had five projection rooms and two monitors, but this year…there are seven monitors in the front room, plus a monitor in the garden.”

As for the organization of the space, the dealers worked together to make sure the art was hung appropriately. “We began by asking what the important works for each gallery were and those became the anchors for the show” Wendy Osloff of P.P.O.W explained, and the show was organized from there.

“The big salon wall was here this year and last year and is a signature of the fair,” Sawon told us. Arranged by Jo Amrhein, the founder of Pierogi, the wall is a stunning collection of small works by all the artists represented by the galleries.

When we asked whether there would be an incarnation next year for fairgoers unable to see the wall this week, signs looked good. “We do have a positive lead on keeping this building,” Sawon told me with enthusiasm. Yet more good news from a Miami fair this weekend.

  • dfrazell

    Still white as are al its people. Being in Miami, thee capital of the Caribbean, its amazing the lack of tan and brown. Even at their anemic pool parits, its anorexi white girls and effete boys strutting their bones around, when all that incredible sensual flesh abounds on the beaches. Health and passion are lacking, attitude and entitlement reign.
    art collegia delenda est

  • FHayes

    Maybe insignificant, but Hales Gallery is located in London.

  • denverartist

    I feel like even though a fair isn’t necessarily a white cube gallery or a museum it is still just as much a regular part of the institution we call the art world. 

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