With all of the commotion here in New York in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, having the long-planned IFPDA Print Fair open only 24 hours late was a welcome sign of normalcy in this discombobulated city.
It what became a heroic "on-with-the-show" effort, 90 dealers from across the United States, Canada and Europe, assembled in the Park Avenue Armory and the show opened to the public on Thursday evening, November 1. Not surprisingly there were a few show casualties - one German dealer's booth was entirely empty until his late arrival on Friday afternoon, one New York dealer valiantly greeted visitors to her bare stand as the prints were completely unaccessable in her gallery on West Broadway, and another German dealer relied on the kindness of colleagues who set up and manned his booth in his absence.
There were amazing stories of trials and tribulations in just getting to New York. One British dealer told of finally getting to Toronto after several cancelled flights from London. Once in Toronto, he took a Greyhound bus to Buffalo, caught a plane to Philadelphia and finally shared a limo with a local dealer to take them up to the fair. Another couple spent three nights in a motel in Secaucus, NJ, just waiting to get into Manhattan. Other dealers who managed to arrive ahead of the storm were thwarted by the non-delivery of their inventory making for a nerve-wracking, last-minute hanging of the booth just before the fair opened to the public.
In spite of the obstacles to both organizers and exhibitors, the fair looked as beautiful as ever when I arrived at the preview party. There were prints of every genre from old masters to contemporary, and at prices to match almost any budget. I loved the colorful British linocuts on the wall of the Redfern Gallery, London. Ruth Ziegler Fine Arts, New York, showed a very impressive display of 19th and 20th Century masters such as Renoir, Villon and Morandi. Jörg Maass Kunsthandel, Berlin, featured only woodcuts by Otto Dix on his back wall, while Frederick Mulder, London, did the same with linocuts by Picasso. And for a total Picasso junkie there was no better place to be than the stand of John Szoke Editions, New York, who filled the booth with prints from every phase of Picasso's career.
I count my blessings that I was among the fortunate few who did not lose power nor suffer any damage to property. Apart from a few minor inconveniences like no mail delivery and limited transportation I suffered no ill effects from this terrible storm that wiped out entire communities and left many New Yorkers and New Jerseyans still homeless. Given the dire circumstances, I realize that a print fair is not that important in the scheme of things. But I do applaud the tenacity and the ingenuity that made this fair happen despite the worst that Mother Nature dished out. You just can't keep a good print fair down!!!