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Revision Space is Going to Miami (and Why it Matters)

Lawrenceville art gallery Revision Space announced recently that they’ve been accepted to Aqua Art Miami. This is big news. Huge.

Aqua Art Miami is an international contemporary art fair, held in Miami, Florida, scheduled to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach, which is also an international art fair. The fact that Revision Space is participating in this global circus matters because it represents a milestone in an ongoing effort to connect Pittsburgh with the rest of the world. Day by day, as more artists move here and the quality of their work improves, the pressure mounts to provide them with opportunities to match their achievement. Links to New York, Chicago and LA are high on our complaint wish list. To illustrate, here is a recent comment on this very website:

Artists sooner or later are left with the choice of accepting the joy of life in a bubble or leaving. … This website, of for and about art in Pittsburgh and only Pittsburgh is a good example of the problem. However awesome, its probably of little interest to anyone outside a 100 mile radius.

Touché! But creating those links hasn’t been easy. A few years back, Sarah Humphrey at The Inn had an ambitious plan to get her gallery accepted at NADA, another one of these fairs. Nothing happened. (Whatever happened to that gallery, anyway?) Unless I’m mistaken, the trailblazing badge goes to Boxheart Gallery, which this summer trekked up to Toronto to participate in Love Art. Love Art doesn’t have the tsunami of Art Basel collectors, but it was a crucial first step. Let Boxheart go down in history.

I reached out to Revision Space founder and director, Cindy Lisica, for comment.

Revision Space founder and director Cindy Lisica (right), with artist Terry Boyd.

Revision Space founder and director Cindy Lisica (right), with artist Terry Boyd.

 

What does participating in Aqua mean for your Revision Space?

It’s a platform to introduce artists and a professional gallery that is based in Pittsburgh to a larger audience of collectors and curators of contemporary art. It will allow us to make connections and gain a level of visibility that would otherwise be very difficult.

Why is Aqua great fit for your gallery?

The focus at Aqua is on quality and talent, not just the established big wigs. Promising “younger” galleries (that have been open for less than three years), like Revision Space, were encouraged to apply through lower booth rental cost. Also, being hosted in a hotel (as opposed to a giant expandable tent city or convention center) means a focused group of selected galleries and a crowd that will really look at the booths, rather than a fair that gets so big and keeps adding galleries. Space is limited, which makes it manageable. Our booth won’t get lost or overlooked in some hidden corner or wing. I did a lot of research before selecting this fair; I talked to clients, artists, friends, collectors, curators and other galleries and they had a lot of positive things to say about Aqua. Apparently, it’s a happening spot and people love it.

What would be your best outcome?

Success! Sales! Press! Exposure! And, importantly, follow up… we want the art and conversations and our booth presentation to be remembered. For those who visited our booth to think about it later, tell people about it, and come back to Revision Space in some way. Even if it’s just a phone call or quick email inquiry six months down the road to see how we’re doing and what the artists are working on. This is a vision of longevity and sustainability as much if not more so than it is about being a “dealer.”

How does this help the artists you represent?

Thousands—tens of thousands even—eyes on our artists! I will be in the booth everyday, all day, talking to the visitors about the artists and showing them why we love and represent them and are launching their careers in a real way. A few of the artists will also be present in Miami to meet people and introduce their work as well.

The experience of going to an art fair (and all of the fairs during Art Basel in Miami), seeing how it works and getting connected with the opportunities it has to offer, especially in this world-class arena—it’s really priceless.

Do you think these types of shows are a good strategy for building the broader infrastructure this city needs?

It’s definitely part of a great strategy for the future infrastructure in this city. It may/should/will serve as a model for gallerists and curators to dive into a larger gallery scene and help build it in a real and sustainable way. This requires growing the collector base. If the galleries are willing to invest and take risks, then potential collectors should follow suit. If these artists are exposed beyond the gallery and the city, then all the more reason to support them at home. As we know, there are a lot of art students and artists that have either been born and raised in Pittsburgh, or drawn to making art here in this “most affordable city.” But they need to see and enjoy the fruits of their labor. We all need this. We’re connected, and we should be rep’ing each other.

 

Revision Space is currently engaged in a fundraising campaign to support their big trip. Learn more and support at http://www.gofundme.com/revisionspace.

Alexandra Oliver completed her PhD in art history at the University of Pittsburgh. Follow her on Twitter @aolivex or on Instagram.

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