BY BETH DEDMAN
Under the new ownership of Ramsay Fairs, the VOLTA art fair is returning for its 2020 edition, which will feature works from 53 galleries on March 4-8 at Metropolitan West.
The show is also under new supervision from fair director Kamiar Maleki, who wants to bring the show back to its fundamental purpose–celebrating the artists and their works. Maleki became director of VOLTA and PULSE Art Fair in November of 2019 after Ramsay Fairs acquired VOLTA that October. Prior to joining VOLTA, Maleki directed the Contemporary Istanbul art fair between 2016 and 2018.
Maleki, who has 15 years of experience collecting, curating and managing art projects and fairs, wants to realign the fair with its core values of discovery, accessibility and personability.
After an unfortunate incident in which a pier was destroyed and the fair was canceled last year, the fair is trying to come back stronger than ever, Maleki said.
“It truly is an exhilarating time,” Maleki said. “VOLTA’s new ownership by Ramsay Fairs and moving to Metropolitan West as the fair’s return to the city positions us with the wind at our backs.”
The 53 galleries represent 35 cities and five continents, with a diverse array of solo projects and curated presentations from artists of 22 nations.
“We have focused the exhibitor list to a strong and diverse 50-plus galleries and have loosened up the solo-project mandate to offer participants greater liberty to stage their presentations as they would do so at their home galleries,” Maleki said.
VOLTA will feature not only galleries who have participated in the fair for many years, but is also welcoming first-time exhibitors.
“We are really excited to be participating at VOLTA for the first time this year,” Marwan Zakhem, founding director of Gallery 1957. “The new work that Yaw Owusu has produced reflects on his time in the US whilst studying in New York so there’s no better way to debut it! Being based Ghana, but very much having an international outreach, fairs are invaluable for our artists to be part of a global conversation.”
Maleki is constantly traveling to and coordinating with these galleries around the world to have them participate in the fair. As his first time running the fair, Maleki is pulling out all the stops.
“There’s a lot of pressure and there’s a lot of expectations, we are waiting to see what happens with this new venture,” Maleki said. “It will take time to build. We are excited. We’ve worked really hard. We have a great team behind us. These guys have been running with us for 15 years. We have a community that wants to accomplish what we set out to do. We are bringing back existing exhibitors to show they have confidence in the show again.”
VOLTA’s “extended family” of galleries include the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, Léna & Roselli Gallery, The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and The Flat – Massimo Carasi. Other returning galleries include Cohju Contemporary Art, Mark Hachem, Galerie Wenger and Charlie Smith London.
Kinetic Art is at the center of focus at Galerie Mark Hachem and over the following three decades, the gallery has collaborated with many prestigious artists. For VOLTA 2020 Mark Hachem is presenting artists from the Op Art movement as well as major creations from the Latino American art sphere, Mark Hachem said.
These artists chose France as their country of refuge from which to base their artistic research, Hachem said. “It is a useful reminder that immigration and exchange often lead to considerable cultural contributions. Moreoever, the gallery will also be showcasing contemporary art through the works of Hussein Madi, Ghazi Baker, Wolfgang Stiller, Nedim Kufi and Michelangelo Bastiani.
“These previous years VOLTA group has proved its worth particularly in the contemporary positions,” Hachem said. “VOLTA NY is an opportunity for the collectors to seek out mid-career artists and for the galleries to propose qualitative and innovative new projects exhibiting different artists. Our Gallery will showcase never exhibited during our previous art shows following the artistic line of Kinetic Art.”
Some of the first time exhibitors include Yaw Owusu, Ansen Atilla, Aida Izadpanahand Shirin Hosseinvand.
“I want it to become a fair about discovery, a fair where you can challenge some of the discussion around art,” Maleki said. “At the end of the day, an art fair is only as good as the galleries you have. This is why I travel so much so that I can see a lot of what art they have to offer.”
More information and tickets are available at ny.voltashow.com/about.