Thursday, April 2, 2009

Notes from AIPAD

I was in New York from March 21 – 30th for the annual AIPAD Photography Show New York.

Sunday was spent in a Board meeting (my first as President) for the Association. It was an 8-hour meeting that was very productive as we charted a course for the next three years. Although the industry has certainly been affected by the global economic shifts, it was a relief to hear that AIPAD members are holding up much better than many other types of dealers. I believe that more than ever people are looking for expert advice when they prepare to buy anything, so AIPAD dealers are especially well positioned to find opportunity within this new landscape. AIPAD celebrates its 30th year in 2009 and it is exciting to see us all looking to the future more than we tend to reflect on the past.

Monday was my day off, so I headed over to the MoMA. The retrospective of Martin Kippenberger was well worth the trip and buoyed my traditional trek around the other galleries to visit old favorites. Given that it is one of the few galleries open on Mondays and it was in the middle of March Break the place was simply packed; I have not seen it that crowded outside of major openings. After getting jostled around more than I’d like I decided to head for the exit, turned a corner and bumped into my brother Chris. He was there with his family en route home from the Barbados, so after surprising my sister in law Lilo, I spent the rest of the day going around the city with Ellie, Clara and Jack. The photograph was taken by Chris in Ellie’s favorite deli that she used while taking a course at Parsons.

Tuesday at 3pm we were allowed entry into the Park Avenue Armory to begin setting up the show. Both Sanaz Mazinani and Josh Morden were with me, so we had a good number of hands to help with an installation more difficult that we are used to because we were presenting new media works by Clive Holden and Jonathan Plante. This was the first year that AIPAD members included new media in their presentations, so we wanted to take full advantage. Installation also takes a lot of time because it is reunion time for a lot of us. I am fortunate to be part of this great group of individuals who are all passionate about photography and I really enjoy hanging out with these colleagues, sharing stories and buying rounds for each other (or enjoying terrific parties thrown by Sepia Gallery, Bruce Silverstein, Joe Baio, etc.). It reminds me of trading cards when I was younger. Although I wish it was always like that, I think I’d die of exhaustion.

The gala opening to benefit the John Szarkowski Fund, Endowment for Photography Acquisitions at MoMA was a good success. I was relieved to be talking about photography more than I was talking about the economy, the latter subject the main source of discussion while I exhibited in Miami last December. We made some good sales early on and continued to be active through Sunday’s closing bell. The show itself had record crowds and the lectures had to turn people away due to lack of space. Bill Hunt’s idea for the INNOVATION exhibition was a resounding success and with the help of APERTURE, as well as AIPAD’s dedicated staff, we were able to produce a smart looking catalogue. We had strong interest in both the historical and contemporary works we brought which makes me very happy. I admit that my tastes are quite eclectic, and in my presentations at art fairs I like to show a taste of my different areas of interest, so I am especially happy when people admire the quality of our displays and we are able to have interest across the board. I am honoured to be representing the artists and estates that have entrusted us and proud for each and every sale we make on their behalf. I should say that I was also honoured to be included in Lisa Sette’s ‘men of AIPAD calendar’. The buzz in the room was music to our ears; the show exceeded expectations and put me in front of more masterworks that I could possibly list. If you’ve never been to an AIPAD fair, I encourage you to do so.

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