Published: October 23, 2007
Dissatisfied with the way that decisions are being made at the Philadelphia Antiques Show, four prominent specialists in American country furniture, folk art and portrait miniatures †Suzanne Courcier and Robert Wilkins, James and Nancy Glazer, Elle Shushan and David Wheatcroft †have resigned from the fair, scheduled for April 11‱8, 2008.
The resignations follow complaints about the show’s new floor plan, apparent disparities in booth rents, and a perceived lack of transparency and accountability in the way that the show, directed by a volunteer committee working in tandem with Keeling Wainwright Associates of Cabin John, Md., is managed.
“I am not at liberty to discuss any internal details,” Josh Wainwright told Antiques and The Arts Weekly late last week in response to the complaints.
Earlier this year, garden antiques specialist Barbara Israel also quit the show, citing unrelated business considerations. Still active, the Stradlings have retired from the Philadelphia fair but plan to participate in the New York Ceramics Fair in January. Harry B. Hartman is taking a leave of absence, but hopes to return another year to the show benefiting the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Citing space restrictions, five other exhibitors were cut from the 56-dealer roster last summer after management announced in April that the 46-year-old event was moving from its longtime home, the 33rd Street Armory, to Philadelphia Navy Pier, a venue pioneered by Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Promotions and, through 2007, rented by Barry Cohen and Jim Burk, organizers of what was formerly Antiques at Navy Pier. Drexel University’s plans, still indefinite, to renovate the armory prompted the move.
Two of the five firms trimmed from the Philadelphia Show roster, Martyn Gregory of London and Charles and Rebekah Clark of Woodbury, Conn., have since been invited back. An announcement is pending on who will fill the spots vacated by Courcier & Wilkins, the Glazers, Shushan and Wheatcroft.
The four firms, all veterans of New York’s Winter Antiques Show, said they have no plans to jointly mount their own display in 2008.
Wainwright acknowledged that the Philadelphia Antiques Show committee has concurrently rented the 33rd Street Armory for another season to provide additional space for show-related events, should space be needed. The ADA’s annual Award of Merit dinner honoring Joseph K. Kindig III will be staged on Saturday evening, April 12, at Navy Pier in an elaborate, wood-floored tent near the show building.
On October 11, exhibitors were invited to inspect the Navy Pier facility.
“It was extremely helpful to see the space and the possibilities it offers, which are good. The facility is light filled. The entire Navy Yard is up and coming, very attractive. It is a great area for parking and walking. The tent is extraordinary and huge. The committee will make it look like a million bucks,” said Pat Bell of Olde Hope Antiques.
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