The small, alternative art fair SEVEN will join the growing crop of satellite fairs running during Frieze New York this May. The mini-fair, which features Hales Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Postmasters Gallery, PPOW, Winkleman Gallery, BravinLee Programs, and Pierogi, launched in Miami in 2010 to both strong reviews and strong sales. It will debut at the Pierogi-owned Boiler space in Williamsburg on April 28, shortly before Frieze begins, and run through mid-May.
Each gallery will present one artist, and, just as at SEVEN in Miami, there will be no booths. "It's a cooperation sans competition model. We all work on it together and we sell each other's work," Magda Sawon of Postmasters told ARTINFO in a telephone interview. "We want to hover this in between a fair and a show." Though the Boiler space is smaller than the former ice factory used for SEVEN Miami, it still has the same high ceilings and industrial feel, she said.
The idea for the New York fair came in light of the success of "Armory Brooklyn Night," an evening on which galleries in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, including Pierogi, stayed open late to welcome crowds in town for the March art fairs. "It was enormously successful, and we felt this sense of the Brooklyn art community," Sawon said. The full roster of artists in the fair has not yet been finalized, but will be released later this week.
SEVEN's cooperative format makes it a much less expensive alternative than traditional fairs: Dealers do all their own transportation and installations, and in exchange, Sawon said, they feel the freedom to mount whatever kind of presentation they desire. "The cost of particpating in fairs determines what people bring to those events, and that's not always reflective of the work being produced at the moment," she said. "This won't be a bank breaker for us, but it will be bloody impressive."
Of course, the fact that these participating galleries — six of which already have storefronts in New York — feel the need to launch a fair is yet another indication of the increasing importance of such events in the marketplace. "It is kind of a Muhammad and the mountain principle," Sawon said. "Fairs are incredibly profitable, and generate revenue for galleries to survive. But we wanted to do it on our terms, without the humongous cost that always comes with them."