Question & Answer session with Jeff Lawson
Jeff Lawson, producer of art fairs, sat down with me to discuss his latest creation: the launch of UNTITLED, our first beachfront art fair and a new take on the art fair model.
SM: There is great buzz in the air about UNTITLED. Tell me how this fair grew from your original intent to what we’ll see during Art Basel week?
JL: Well, for years we have been thinking about it and finally saw an opportunity about two years ago. The overall artistic direction went to Omar Lopez- Chahoud, who hand-selected about 45 galleries.
JL: We were all in a dialogue together. We saw the show as a very cohesive, very specific, heavily edited one…Omar took care of the selection process, K/R (Architectural Firm) created the space.
SM: With previous art fairs and especially now with UNTITLED., what do you see as the one key success factor?”
JL: It’s as simple as paying attention to the Art. I think in order to stand out you have to go back to basics focusing on great art and great architecture.
SM: I like that! But what took us so long? Why hasn’t this happened already?!
JL: Ha! …not sure.
SM: Were there any obstacles in bringing an art fair like this to the city and more specifically to the actual beach?!
JL:We are dealing with more factors this time but the city has been incredibly supportive. Ocean Drive Association has been awesome. Jerry Libbin, Alan Randolph and everyone. It’s been a real delight.
SM: Will the public sense a theme to this show?
JL: Definitely. Yes. But the full artistic control was given over to Omar so that’s all I will say. We gave him tools….and yes we had a collective vision but it’s truly Omar and his vision. And K&R too-I really give them credit!
SM: I can tell you really respect K/R’s aesthetic—tell us why K/R was so pivotal to this project? JL: Simply speaking, they really understand the art business. In addition they have revolutionized how a temporary structure is built.
SM: What can we expect from you in the future?
JL: I plan to start working on the format for 2013 but I don’t have a specific agenda yet.
SM: In other words, your plans are to keep it fresh?
JL: That’s the goal!
SM: I know you started construction today, what’s your gut feeling at this very moment?
JL: Really excited...all the way from the city to the collectors to galleries to artists and to Omar-- everybody feels that they are doing something interesting. We look forward to many more years. I feel confident that we put together something unique and impactful.
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