Relaxed Setting, Eclectic Work Distinguish SUITE Art Fair

The inaugural SUITE Art Fair, a satellite art fair organized by The Public Trust gallery’s Brian Gibb, kicked off last night at the Belmont Hotel, bringing together a collection of galleries, art spaces, and curated temporary installations, imaginatively repurposing the historic Oak Cliff hotel. Arranged around the hotel’s central courtyard, galleries included some local notables — Plush, Mighty Fine Arts, 500x — as well as a number of out-of-town exhibitors. It is an exciting mix of work, ranging from the collection of tongue-in-cheek gun sculptures at Centraltrak’s space to the elegant prints by Linda Ridgeway at Austin’s Flatbed Press’ space.

The character of the fair is decidedly different than its counterpart on the other side of the city. The Belmont creates a relaxed, domestic setting for the work that sits comfortable on walls, around beds, leaned on bedside tables, or installed in open breezeways between the suites. What is so appealing about the feel of the fest is that while there are a good number of vendors and a bounty of work available at a range of price points, it doesn’t have the feel of a market bazaar. Propped on a hill, open to the cool April weather, SUITE feels like a leisurely piazza. There is no mall-like anxiety to push through and see more.

My hope is that Dallas can support two fairs. Certainly SUITE’s advantage is that it may attract some collectors who are priced out at the main affair at F.I.G. That said, later on in the evening, some of the Dallas Art Fair opening gala attendees made their way to the satellite event. It is hard to imagine exhibitors like Charles Hartman, Chambers Gallery, or David Shelton disappointing anyone. The fair continues through Sunday.

Here are some things that caught my eye last night:

A lovely Linda Ridgeway print hiding behind a lamp at Flatbed Press

David Shelton's space had some of my favorite work. Here's a detail of a collage piece Kelly O'Connor
And also at David Shelton, this wistful little scene by Joe Fauerso
At 500x's space, I like how Shelby Cunningham installed these little bunnies around the thermostat.
Bacchanalian fun by Bryan K. Scott at MFA
Guns at Centraltrak
We Are 1976's room.
Blakely Dadson's work at Public Trust
I like the install here.

Comments

  • Well-put. I also felt comfortable conversing with gallerists and artists without feeling pressure to buy or move along. Having said that the work was fantastic and I hope a lot of it finds new homes this weekend – hats off to Brian Gibb for pulling it together!

  • Hey Peter this is an awesome article. Thank you for covering the underdog art event, it is totally appreciated.
    I have one little correction for you. The “Bacchanalian fun” picture posted is by the artists Brian K Scott also of Mighty Fine Arts. Don’t worry too much I was installed in the same room and we always get mixed.

  • For anyone wondering about the first image from this article; the two backlit photo installations are the works of artists and Decorazon Gallery owners MK Semos and Hugo Garcia Urrutia.
    The “spaceballs” sculpture on the table is by Austin sculptor Todd Campbell.

    Dallas needs more events like this. Great job Brian!

  • Thanks Hugo for the info. And in related news, Semos and Urrutia are the Fairmont Hotel’s first duo artists in residence. Here’s more info on that:

    http://frontrow.dmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/fairmont-residency.pdf