Volta, which presents art fairs in New York and Basel that focus on emerging artists, has been sold by Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. to Ramsay Fairs, whose properties include the Affordable Art Fair and the Pulse Art Fair. The news was first reported by the Financial Times.
Volta made headlines—the bad kind—this past March, when the 2019 edition of its New York fair was canceled due to structural issues on Pier 92 on Manhattan’s West Side, the longtime home of part of the Armory Show, which is owned by Merchandise Mart. The company responded by moving some Armory exhibitors to Pier 90, which was to house Volta.
For the 2020 edition in New York, under its new ownership, Volta will take place at Metropolitan West, an event venue on West 46th street near the piers.
Ramsay Fairs, which is based in London, was founded by Will Ramsay in 1999. It owns 16 fairs on 12 different continents, including editions of the Affordable Art Fair in five different cities and Pulse, a Miami Basel satellite that runs every December.
Volta was slated to have 70 exhibitors for its canceled 2019 iteration; many of them ended up showing at one of David Zwirner’s Chelsea spaces in an event called “Plan B,” that was put together at the last minute by Zwirner, downtown Manhattan dealer Quang Bao, collector Peter Hort.
Volta was founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 2005, and in 2008 expanded to New York. Ramsay Fairs plans “to invest more in marketing and the fair experience,” according to the the FT. There are no plans for the fair to merge with the others under Ramsay’s ownership, and terms of the sale have not been made public, though it is reported that the Pulse team will work closely with the Volta team.
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