NADA Miami Beach and Untitled Art Fair Fight Over Gallery Exclusivity

It's a cutthroat game, this art business. Especially in Miami's increasingly busy art scene during the increasingly crowded annual Art Basel week. And according to The Art Newspaper, the drama has already begun.

TAN reports that NADA Miami Beach sent a letter to its exhibitors earlier this month asking for exclusivity -- essentially saying it would require its galleries to show at NADA and NADA alone.  "Galleries that choose NOT to withdraw will not be able to participate in further fairs with NADA," the letter reportedly warned.

This didn't go over well with the people at Untitled, a new art fair-cum-exhibition space scheduled to set up on the shores of South Beach during Basel week, running concurrently with Nada Miami Beach.  

We reached out to both NADA and Untitled; Nada did not respond to our request, and Untitled responded with a simple "no comment." But in a written statement to TAN, a spokesperson for Untitled said that its attorneys had issued a cease and desist letter to Nada requesting that it notify its exhibitors that they could particiate in Untitled without penalty or punishment. (Nada operates art fairs in Manhattan, Hudson, and Cologne, Germany, so the implications of a ban from its events would reach beyond Art Basel week in Miami.)

The issue seems to be settled -- at least for now. NADA issued a statement yesterday that effectively acquiesced to Untitled's demands, acknowledging that its exhibitor contract does not currently contain an exclusivity clause and "may have placed some exhibitors in a difficult position."

But opportunities for galleries in 2013 might be more limited; the statement also notes that NADA's selection committee will consider changes to the exhibitor contract next year, possibly foreshadowing an exclusivity requirement for future NADA fairs.

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