At the ADAA Art Show, dealers make the case for under-appreciated bodies of work by beloved artists

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The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) is celebrating its 60th anniversary during its annual Art Show fair, which opened at the Park Avenue Armory for a VIP benefit preview on 2 November. The fair’s nearly 80 exhibitors were eager to connect with the especially curious and in-the-know collectors at the preview, talking up their tightly-curated stands of new or historically underseen work.

Presentations at the fair this year tend to push at the edges of figuration, with many stands presenting woozy, biomorphic figures, funky geometric compositions or some combination thereof. Almine Rech’s stand, for instance, shows fiery new paintings by Zio Ziegler, who mines a Cubist-inflected visual language to produce imposing, blocky compositions that immediately catch the eye. The booth is Ziegler’s first major presentation with the gallery, according to senior director Ethan Buchsbaum, and serves as a precursor to Ziegler’s solo show with the gallery in September 2023. It appeared promising: the works, which were priced between $30,000 and $60,000, had sold out by the end of the benefit preview.

New York dealer Garth Greenan is showing what he calls a “jewel-box presentation” of Gladys Nilsson works that capture the full range of the renowned Chicago Imagist’s explosive style. A number of silver-ink works on black paper, selling for between $100,000 and $175,000, pair with a large, brightly-rendered diptych, held on reserve, that features a patchwork of flora, fauna and other vaguely biomorphic shapes. Greenan says he conceived the stand as an argument in favour of enshrining Nilsson—who has still not received a museum retrospective—in the contemporary art canon. “It’s such a taste-y fair,” he says, emphasising visitors’ level of curatorial and critical curiosity, which rewards historical presentations as much as those by new, emerging artists.

That philosophy underpins a number of presentations at the fair. Michael Werner Gallery is showing a spread of works on paper by the famed German Neo-Expressionist A.R. Penck, with each of the works (priced at $85,000) coming from the same two-year period in the 1970s. Mitchell-Innes and Nash’s stand of works by the late Brazilian artist Antonio Henrique Amaral, priced between $80,000 and $150,000, put forth a cohesive and comprehensive survey of the painter’s menacingly surrealistic stylings. “It’s a great venue to introduce Amaral’s work to a New York crowd,” says Robert Grosman, a partner at Mitchell-Innes Nash. “Everyone is looking to see new things, to educate themselves. It’s been incredibly positive.”

Lynda Benglis, Lagniappe Luck, 1976-77. Courtesy Cheim & Read

New York gallery Cheim & Read also applied a historically-focused curatorial mindset to its presentation of Lynda Benglis’s seminal Lagniappe sculpture series, priced at $125,000 apiece, which combine an array of materials including pigmented paper, gold leaf, glitter and polypropylene into shiny, plasticine vessels. “It was important to cultivate understanding of this underseen body of work,” says Maria Bueno, a partner at the gallery, noting that the Lagniappe series hadn’t been shown publicly in a group hanging for some time. “A lot of these are on loan and not even for sale. It was more about presenting the Lagniappe body of work.”

Installation view of Susan Inglett Gallery’s stand at the 2022 ADAA Art Show, featuring works by Wilmer Wilson IV Courtesy Susan Inglett Gallery, New York

Barbara Castelli, speaking of her presentation of Morris sculptures, perhaps best captured the jovial, educational mood of the fair. “It’s not necessarily always about showing things you can easily sell,” she says. “You want people to know what you do, that you work with artists. You want to help spread understanding of the work.”

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