VOLTA New York is officially back this week, after an unexpected cancellation last year. The 2020 edition has a new location—Metropolitan West—and director, too, Kamiar Maleki. From March 4-8, 53 international galleries will gather to present solo and curated booths of work by a range of contemporary artists.
Whitewall spoke with Maleki about what not to miss this week.
WHITEWALL: This is your first year as director of VOLTA. Why were you interested in taking on this role now?
KAMIAR MALEKI: For me, it’s an exciting challenge to work on a fair that takes place in multiple cities. There is a lot of room for exploration and opportunities for discovery, and that’s what this fair is all about. Over the last 15 years, VOLTA has gained a strong reputation for showcasing amazing talent, and that’s also what brings me personal joy. It is an easy and symbiotic relationship.
WW: Tell us about his year’s lineup. Is it mostly returning galleries, or are there any new presenters we should look out for?
KM: This year’s lineup is nothing short of remarkable. We will have 53 galleries from 35 cities and five continents, with a great mix of both new and returning galleries. But what is truly special is the number of returning galleries. I’m very pleased these galleries are demonstrating confidence in the fair and its anticipated return.
A few of our returning galleries include Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Galerie Wegner, Mark Hachem, Léna & Roselli Gallery, Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery and The Cynthia Corbett Gallery. New galleries to look out for include Gallery 1957, Roya Khadjavi Projects, and Marquee Projects, to name a few.
WW: VOLTA 2020 will feature several two-artist presentations. What is the impact of having a duo show, and what prompted this focus?
KM: VOLTA was only taken over by Ramsay Fairs in October, and I came on board in November. We wanted to give galleries a fair opportunity to curate their works as if it were their own gallery. It opens the door for even more creativity and expression, and we are excited to have them.
WW: How would you say collecting art has informed your role at VOLTA?
KM: As a collector myself, I love to discover art and talent and these fairs have continuously given me the opportunity to do so. I’ve been attending VOLTA for years as a collector, and I love nothing more than discovering young or emerging artists, especially those that might not have the ability to exhibit at the main, larger fairs. I understand how important it is to put together a show that will allow galleries to sell.
WW: Outside of the fair, what are you most looking forward to seeing and doing in New York the week of the fair?
KM: I love New York, so I’d like to explore some of the other fairs taking place that week, perhaps visit some of the museum exhibitions that are going on. A fair director’s job is quite demanding, so I would not mind finding a bit of time to relax and recharge as well.