There's a New Fair in Town for Miami Art Week

CADAF: A New Acronym for the Art Season Contemporary and Digital Art Fair

Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)


Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)

Irene Sperber

Art Basel Miami Beach is being teed up on the 2019 schedule whether you have shaken the last dregs of summer sand out of your shoes or not. Download the fall season into your hard drive. It's time to ramp up.

December 5-8: Art Basel Miami Beach and myriad surrounding fairs have a new sibling this year: CADAF (Contemporary And Digital Art Fair) will grace Wynwood's cavernous MANA space for their first annual Miami exhibition.

Digital art is getting it's due as the world spins faster and faster like plates on a juggler's sticks. Truth in truisms applies here, the more you know the more you realize you don't know.

Debuting in May of this year in NYC, CADAF interprets their fair as works which "include the diversity of digital mediums ranging from the traditional, such as Video and Stop Motion art, through to creative uses of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality".

Partnering with the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) CADAF provides a physical platform to educate audiences in all aspects of digital art. In 2019 several fragments of this genre (ie Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence) have produced separate conferences. CADAF brings this diversity and latest innovation in it’s entirety to the 2019 Wynwood fair. Forty artists (TBA) will be represented including several from the South Florida demographic.

Digital art is following the photographs trajectory into the hearts of curators and collectors. When the medium of photography first began seeping into the fine art realm and for sometime after, there were questions of rightfully belonging. It offered a new way to understand experience, but the big question "Was it art?", hung in the air? The creative digital world has gone through the same uncertainty.

Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)


Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)

I connected with Elena Zavelev, Founder and CEO of CADAF and the New Art Academy to fine tune a few points of interest.

Irene Sperber: Is there still a line between art and the digital medium? Blockchain-based platforms now deal with the issue of provenance. Was there a pivotal event(s) that brought digital art into focus for collectors?

Elena Zavelev: "New Media art was brought starkly into focus in the 1990's/early 2000's. For example, Okwui Enwezor's Documenta 11 was nicknamed the "black box" due to the sheer number of video art on show, bringing digital art to the forefront of meaningful cultural dialogue.

In 2001, Artport, the Whitney Museum's portal to Internet art and an online gallery space for commissions of net art and new media art, was launched.

Recent critical events for collectors of digital art community include:

  • Last year, October 2018 - AI artwork sold at an auction at Christie’s New York (Portrait of Edmond Belamy). Achieved 45 times its high estimate at $432,500 and received a lot of press, where discussions around AI copyright were brought to the fore; educating a wider audience on the intricacies of digital art.
  • This March (2019) AI work Memories of Passersby I by Mario Klingemann sells at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction

IS: Are there still stumbling blocks to overcome regarding its solid place in the art world?

EZ: "Blockchain has provided a new, very promising tool for artists and collectors to store provenance and ownership information, playing a role in empowering the art market with more tracking capabilities.

Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)


Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)

However the technology is still new and the solutions offered to artists and collectors yet have to be polished and refined to be adopted by the broader art market. For example, some of these provenance tools can be used by anybody creating the "trash in, trash out" problem (someone famously uploaded the Mona Lisa to one of these databases under his name. Blockchain does not solve this issue). Other tools are very advanced technically but lack onboarding easiness for the art market to make a real use of it. It is still far from a mass adoption scenario.

This will change with an increasing number of tech-savvy collectors along with the proliferation of digital tools supporting the growth and development of the digital art market. It is an amazing time to witness the progress and help educate artists, collectors and professionals about these tools with online resources but also curation and events like CADAF art fairs."

IS: There are many aspects to digital art, what, specifically should CADAF educate us about this relatively modern creative medium?

EZ: "Great question - as advocates of digital and new media art one of our main priorities is to help demystify the medium for the wider audience.

Topics we focus on include: collecting digital art, artist copyright and royalties, display and conservation practices, and much more. We also explore the market and investment opportunities within the digital arts and how new technologies, including blockchain, are supporting transactional security and market transparency."

IS: What is the focus of Digital Art right now? AI? Has the Miami CADAF fair been curated differently than, say, the New York fair?

EZ: "With recent auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's showing successful sales in AI work, this medium has garnered a lot of attention in the market.

Another focal point is the immense growth of digital ‘immersive’ experiences globally, such as; Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room, Teamlab’s Digital Art Museum, L’Atelier des Lumières’ Van Gogh, Starry Night, and the upcoming PaceX.
Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)


Photo: Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF)

This being said, CADAF offers a platform to show both large-scale immersive digital projects, but just as importantly, a place for independent digital artists of all digital mediums to show their work.

For our Miami edition, we will continue to show the diversity of digital mediums including VR, AI, Blockchain and Video art from international galleries and artists.

In addition to this, we are thrilled to be based on the MANA Contemporary campus, positioned in the center of Wynwood, one of Miami's most creative communities. This has allowed us to collaborate with local artists and ArtTech community and showcase both at the upcoming fair."

I believe we need to save room for visiting the new fair during our cultural Miami twirl December 5-8.

The many facets of digital art can be explored at the Contemporary And Digital Art Fair, an excellent way to jump start our engines, assuming we aren't already well on board the speeding train.

Thursday, December 5th: Test drive this new fair at the opening Party and Exhibition Preview to include installations, a VIP Pre-Sale and, naturally, drinks and a DJ to help us log on.

The fair will continue Friday through Sunday with a series of panel discussions, artist Q&As and performances.

CADAF Fair Hours:

  • Opening Party and Exhibition Previews: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019: 6-11 p.m.
  • General Admission.
    Friday, Dec. 6, 2019: 10:30 a.m – 6:30 p.m.
    Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019: 11:30 a.m – 6:00 p.m.
    Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019: 11:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Mana Wynwood C&L Building 2400 NW 5th Ave, Miami, FL 33127.
For Tickets:
And Talks/Paneldiscussions/Q and A and performances:

"Art must take reality by surprise." Francoise Sagan.

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