Volta canceled its first Miami Fair after pandemic travel and event restrictions caused too many scheduling issues


The biggest international art fairs have returned to a certain sense of normalcy – the Armory Show, Frieze and FIAC have all hosted events in the past two months – but Volta, the popular Art Basel satellite fair, canceled plans for its first edition in Miami in December, Artnet News has learned.

“I want to thank you very much for your interest in applying for our launch event in Volta Miami,” wrote manager Kamiar Maleki in a recent letter to a participating dealer. “While we have done everything in our power to make this a successful event, I have some bad news for you.”

Complications from pandemic restrictions on travel and events forced the fair to cancel the event, Maleki said.

The organizers had initially secured a venue at Mana Contemporary, but last spring he lost his contract to host events “and so we were left empty-handed, very late in the game,” he wrote. In July, they found the opportunity to build a tent in front of the NADA, “which in my opinion was a fabulous place even better than what we had before”. But at that time, the long-delayed travel restrictions for European, Asian and African travelers were still in place (they should be lifted next month), so they felt they couldn’t confirm their plans.

Pier 90. Photo by David Willems, courtesy VOLTA.

Maleki told Artnet News the galleries are understanding. Exhibitors who have applied to Volta Miami and sent a deposit have the option of requesting a refund or keeping the application in place for a Volta 2022 show.

Maleki said organizers will spend the next few months planning for next year’s edition in Miami, and a New York fair is slated for May. Volta Basel, which ran alongside Art Basel last month, will be back next June.

“Given the circumstances, this was the most reasonable way to go forward,” he said. “Nonetheless, we have put in place some amazing activations working with large NFT platforms, among many others, and we are very unhappy that we cannot make it happen.”

Meanwhile, Art Miami director Nick Korniloff has confirmed that his fair and sister event Context are going as planned, but that Aqua, another little one far away under the Art Miami umbrella, will be postponed. to 2022.

Volta was launched in the mid-years in a former power station in Basel as a staged show where the stands usually showcased the work of an artist. It was eventually purchased by Merchandise Mart, owner of the Armory Show. Current owner Ramsay Fairs bought it from Merchandise Mart in late 2019.

After learning of Mana’s status, Maleki told Artnet News, “We were looking a lot until we finally found a location in Wynwood, across from Ice Palace Studios and close to NADA and Art Miami. It was late July. By that time, many of our galleries had already been accepted into Untitled and Art Miami. “

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