NADA Returns To Its Roots at Skylight Studios.

Looking as fresh as it did when it was a renegade art fair at the Ice Palace in Miami back in 2004, the latest edition of NADA has turned into a sprawling funfest of art, performances, and information.

Jenny Holzer, Inflammatory Essay 1979-82. | Offset on colored paper, 17 x 17 in. | Courtesy Alden Projects.

Showcasing a lively selection of contemporary art presented by 100 exhibitors representing 37 cities from 14 different countries, the fair wraps through Skylight Studios enormous raw space like a roller coaster ride—with booths ranging from tiny to large, a communal lounge with a bar and two cafes, a shop with books and editions, and a platform for talks and performances that’s presented in collaboration with Kickstarter.

True to its mission “to create an open flow of information, support, and collaboration within the arts field and to develop a stronger sense of community among its constituency,” the sixth edition of NADA New York is not only promoting new work by artists from its member galleries, it also features 30 first time exhibitors and 36 project spaces this year.

The fair offers a timely mix of smart and funky art that responds to the revisionist interest in appropriation art and the current trend for such craft-inspired, handmade objects as ceramics and fabric works.

Highlights here include Jenny Holzer’s offset printed Inflammatory Essays, from the late-‘70s and early-‘80s, that convey angry political commentary at Alden Projects; Lee Quinones’ old school graffiti tags brought off of the street and into an art world context at Nicole Klagsbrun; Paul McMahon’s hand-altered post cards of the Washington Monument that divulge a dissatisfaction with government at 321 Gallery; Wendy White’s series of white-trash blue jean paintings, which are ironically titled Cowboy Killers, at Rawson Projects; and Dan Mandelbaum’s sculptural ceramic vagrant characters at Marvin Gardens.

And a visit to the fair does more than just light up your life. NADA New York is helping to “fight the powers that be” by donating 50 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales to the American Civil Liberties Union, with the remaining half going to support the NADA x Exhibitionary International Gallery Prize, which assists international galleries in gaining exposure in the United States.


Émilie Pitoiset, Desire, 2016. | Painted red leather glove, clay and small wig. 21 x 8 x 5 cm. | Courtesy Klemm’s.

Louise Bonnet, The Tube Socks, 2016. | Oil on canvas 30 x 40 in. | Courtesy of MIER GALLERY, photography by Lee Tyler Thompson.

Wendy White, Cowboy Killers (Monster, Budweiser), 2016. | Denim, acrylic, spray paint, UV print on Plexiglas, 36 x 36 in. | Courtesy Rawson Projects.

Dan Mandelbaum, Bearded Marble Vagrant, 2017. | Glazed ceramic, 26 x 14 x 15 in. | Courtesy Marvin Gardens.

Cameron Platter, My Name is Mud, 2016. | Pencil on paper, 70 x 51 in. | Courtesy Ever Gold Projects.

Patrick Cruz, Pastoral climax (GMO) series, 2015. | Paper mache, fake flowers, acrylic, ceramic, clay, spray paint, board and crystals, 45 x 22 in. | Courtesy Wil Aballe Art Projects.

Scott McFarland, Untitled #1 (Sky Leaks), 2016. | Chromogenic print displayed in LED Lightbox, 50 x 40 in. | Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.

Lee Quinones, Tag #6 2014. | Acrylic, spray paint and ink on clay board 11 x 14 in. | Courtesy Nicole Klagsbrun.

Luc Paradis, Untitled, 2016. | Acrylic on board, 54 x 45 in. | Courtesy Parisian Laundry.

* Top Image: NADA New York 2017.  | Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. | Courtesy of NADA New York.

About the Author

Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, independent curator, artist, and lecturer. He is a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific and a contributing editor at artBahrain and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art. He is a contributor writer to Time Out New York, New York Observer, Modern Painters, Cultured Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, ArtPulse, Glasstire and ConceptualFineArts.com