VOLTA & VOLTA NY
Amanda Coulson, Founder and Executive Director
While most art fairs cater to collectors, dealers and gallery owners with business savvy, Amanda Coulson has another vision. Having launched VOLTA in Basel, Switzerland four years ago and VOLTA NY in New York City last year, she has created two distinct venues that have become the place for cutting-edge artists beginning their careers.
Her unique selection committee separates VOLTA from other fairs. “For Basel we have an open application process and a curatorial board that makes the selection of galleries exhibiting,” she explains. “The board is made up of myself, an art critic, international art dealers, and five international curators. The New York fair is even more artist-oriented, dedicated exclusively to solo projects and strictly invitational.”
Coulson, who calls herself “multi-culti,” is eminently cultivated. Born in the States, she grew up in England, studied in Paris, and earned a Master’s in Fine Arts at NYU. She got involved with art shows because “there wasn’t a show that gave me what I was looking for—cutting-edge undiscovered art presented in a mature, flawless environment.” Her “boutique” shows are highly selective. Only one in five who apply exhibit.
As art critic and executive director of VOLTA fairs, Amanda can spot trends. According to her, artists are looking east for inspiration. “There’s a trend towards the east: Eastern Europe, Asia, India or the Middle East,” she says. “Western galleries are looking east for artists and for young, emerging galleries; more collectors are being identified in those regions.”
That may be why Amanda conceived her shows as a place to discover the new and fresh, but also—in a fashion inspired by the East—as a place for contemplation.
So far the concept has worked. “We’ve been going from strength to strength,” she asserts. “Last year in Basel—our fourth year—we really hit our stride; the premiere edition of New York was very well-received critically.”