On October 31st, a Halloween-themed grand opening night reception of the first Superfine!DC art fair took place at Union Market in Washington, D.C. The lucky guests who had a chance to experience the first Superfine! DC art fair enjoyed champaign topped with cotton candy and trick-or-treat goody bags. The Superfine! DC art fair is an offshoot of the Superfine! Miami art fair, first organized in 2015 to be “the ultimate people’s fair,” according to their website.
Superfine! was founded by Alex Mitow and James Miille. New Yorker Millie met Mitow, who had lived earlier in Miami, where he familiarized himself with that city’s many fairs, including Miami Art Basel. Miille worked as a photographer in the art gallery scene and Mitow worked in the restaurant business often catering for art events. Soon they became “partners in life and in business,” using their respective experiences in the gallery art scene prior to founding Superfine! art.
The concept of the fair was to capitalize on the growing market of wealthy, young art connoisseurs and offer somewhat affordable contemporary art to young art aficionados. In addition to capitalizing on the tastes of a younger crowd, Mitow and Miille are showing work by LGBTQ, female and African-American artists. The Superfine! DC fair featured works by more than 70 exhibitors and around 45 individual artists.
The first Superfine! art fair took place in Miami during the 2015 Miami Art Week, then in New York before coming to DC where the booming real estate market and high-paying jobs created the market for such an event. Superfine! art also hosted a fair in Los Angeles and the Miami New Times named Superfine! the best art festival in Miami during the Miami Art Week. It is an impressive achievement given the fact that there were Miami Art Basel Fair as well as satellite fairs catering to the “creme de la creme” of the international art market community.
The DC area has not had a local notable art market, so many DC artists were compelled to travel to Miami or New York to show their work. As the gallerist Adah Rose put it, even though it is beneficial to exhibit at art fairs such as Miami Art Week, Superfine! DC seems to offer very favorable opportunities to local artists. Interestingly enough, some local artists such as Brianne Lanigan who has been showing her art during Miami Art Basel week on a regular basis, finally had a chance to show her work in D.C. for the first time. On the other hand, there were artists who viewed Superfine! DC as a stepping stone before showing their art during the major art event of the year Art Basel Miami. Nevertheless, by giving newer artists the chance to exhibit in this well-curated art fair, and gain exposure to collectors and galleries interested in emerging art and artists, Superfine! proved itself to be a boon to local artists and an encouragement to the local art scene. It is surely a model of marketing art that will benefit artists, collectors, and galleries alike!
Tate McClellan, MBA/MS, classical pianist and former businesswoman turned writer, artist, certified fitness instructor, ACE Health Coach, and Positive Psychology Specialist.