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: