Superfine! is a national art fair that helps shed light on some of the most exciting emerging and established art currently available from artists across the globe. The fairs happen in cities across America showcasing truly out-of-the-box contemporary art that includes stunning visual works, experimental art, gourmet food, music, and compelling panels. These fairs are inclusive to all and make sure to highlight work by female, artists of color, and LGTBQ artists as well as people in younger generations. Superfine! began in Miami, Florida, and has since grown exponentially. It has now grown to full-scale fairs in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and D.C.
Curator and entrepreneur Alex Mitow is the director of the art fair series which he developed after attaining fourteen years of professional experience in the lifestyle, art, and hospitality industries. Alex holds a degree in Marketing from the University of Miami. Through the development of the Superfine! fairs, Alex combined his love for collecting contemporary art, social media, freelance writing, and content creation. The organization is currently based in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood—one of the trendiest places in all of NYC—where the Superfine! fairs have been successfully launched in multiple major markets. There are plans for at least six fairs in 2020 and further evolution is expected.
Recently Alex Mitow discussed his career managing a major arts organization via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for the arts and why do you gravitate towards contemporary work?
Alex Mitow (AM): I bought my first piece at Art Basel week in Miami when I was 20 in college, but I’ve always collected things. When I was a young kid it was Beatles memorabilia, as I got older, I’ve collected everything from mid-century design to contemporary art and sculpture. What I love about contemporary art is that by buying it from a living artist you’re playing a role in history, you have to remember that Dali and Picasso were someone’s contemporaries when they were alive, and buying from artists today puts you in those shoes.
MM: What kinds of work do you personally collect?
AM: My partner James and I have a really diverse eye but we tend to gravitate towards figurative work. Queer art and art by queer artists makes up a good chunk of our collection, and so does nostalgic-feeling art by contemporary artists. We have an entire rack of painted video cassettes on wood of B-movies by VHS-Girl. Really emotive portraiture resonates with us as well, we recently bought a triptych of lithographs by Nigerian artist Toyin Ojih Odutola and they hang prominently in our living room. Beyond that we really love quirky little sculptures like those by Pansy Ass Ceramics, and we have quite a few sculptural pieces as well.
MM: You majored in marketing whilst in college, so how much did that background help you establish your company?
AM: Completely! In my first marketing class ever, my professor wrote on the board that there were two schools of thought on marketing: marketing is everything, and marketing is BS. I clearly favor the former. I think good, solid, strategic marketing is what’s been missing from the art market for many, many years and that’s what James and I bring to the table with Superfine! – I’m not always the smartest guy in the room, but I make sure I’m surrounded by people who are.
MM: How did you come up with the concept (and name) for Superfine! and how did you make it a reality?
AM: We wanted a name without pretension, that opened up the idea that collecting art is fun and exciting, not a stuffy and exclusive endeavor for the very rich. Also, what’s better than fine art? Superfine! art.
MM: This fair started in Florida and has since expanded across the nation. How is each location different and do the same artists display at each show?
AM: Many of our artists do the full Superfine! circuit of fairs or most of them, and at least 40-50% of each fair is comprised of artists from that city. Every city has its own personality and it’s an exciting challenge to reach each one from a cultural and community standpoint. However, we’ve found that by being smart about the cities and locations we select for fairs, we can keep a pretty consistent message throughout and succeed at doing what we do best: connecting incredible local and global artists to an eager populous.
MM: What made you decide to establish your headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and how is the art scene in NY compared to other cities?
AM: New York is James and my spiritual home! We lived here for eight years collectively, and after Miami we felt strongly about returning here. While New York certainly has a stimulating art scene, some of its conventions can be a bit stifling. Our Superfine! artists, whether from New York or anywhere else, tend to be go-getters who want to make their own career happen. We used to make the rounds of galleries when we first started, but now we mainly see art while traveling and visit our exhibitors’ shows throughout the year in New York. Right after I finish this email, we’re going to check out the Molly & Friends Gallery, a new and inclusive project started by one of our perennial artist exhibitors, Molly Goldfarb. We like things like that more than the typical stuffy Chelsea gallery scene.
MM: How do interested artists go about submitting work to you and are any fees involved?
AM: All artists go through a qualification process, starting with a visit to our website. We reach them through various means including social media marketing, research, and direct outreach via Instagram and other platforms. Once artists have been qualified, they can schedule a call with a member of our curatorial team who reviews the fair with them and determines if they’re a good fit. At that point, if the artist chooses to apply there’s a small processing fee ($40) for our curatorial team to review their submission. If accepted, booth fees range from $2,000 to $6,000 depending on size. We also offer a lot of unique payment plans for artists, including Square Installments which allow them to split the cost into as many as 12 monthly payments. However, most artists do prefer paying upfront since we offer a 5% pay-upfront discount.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the evolution of Superfine!?
AM: We’re excited about all of our new markets including San Francisco (Feb-Mar 2020), Seattle (August 2020), St. Petersburg, FL (January 2021) and Chicago (Summer 2021) and moreover to bring amazing artists from around the world not just to the big cities but to all metropolitan areas around the U.S., and later, the world. It’s also always amazing to return to LA, California is our clear second home and we spend two months out of every year there.
Cover image: Photo credit James Miille,
Second image: Mamie Young, studio shot
Third image: CodyThe Creative, Abbey Road part of his #PennyPop Series, 2019
Fourth image: John Waiblinger, California Dreaming, 2018
Last two images: photo credit James Miille