A love affair or an art fair?

A love affair or an art fair?

An Art fair or a love affair?

I was chatting with a client earlier about the wealth of art being exposed across London over the course of this weekend, prompting me to write a little thought about art fairs. 

There are three happening in London this weekend. The Other Art fair1:54 Contemporary African Art fair and of course, Frieze.

I have two feelings - excitement and anxiety.  A bit like my 10 year old self being told by my dad that we are going to build the greatest tree house, but the oak tree is over 4 metres high and hangs over a small cliff.

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In this post I hope to illustrate that you should be weary when it comes to art fairs, and take them in your stride.

I have a love hate relationship with them.  On the plus side, they're great for the time bound, 'type A' individual, looking to be exposed to a range and variety of work on offer.  At the same time, the anxious 10 year old inside tells me; you had better be prepared to be overwhelmed by the abundance of work and people, everywhere!

Art is meant to start a conversation, to share a story.  Just consider for a moment; 10,000 different stories in one giant room. You're never going to appreciate them all, nor even see them all.

So when you're venturing to your next art fair, have a plan and a big breakfast in the morning.  It's also helpful to go with a friend who is on the same wavelength as you.  Are you buying? Are you looking for particular themes? Are you window shopping?

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What about for the artist and exhibitors?

For the artist and exhibitor, the perspective also applies.  Like marketers having trouble cutting through the clutter of promotional content that's everywhere we look, artists now have to be clever in curating their walls.  Remember your fundamentals of putting on a good show; simple things, like good visual positioning of artwork where you get maximum reach with consistent pull-in rate. 

Below is a list of other art fairs that come to mind, incase you haven't had enough. Do add the ones I've missed in the comments.

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An art fair list to finish off 2016. 

October 2016

3-9 PAD London

6-9 Frieze Art Fair London

6-9 Frieze Masters London

6-9 Vienna Fair

11-12 Yom Kippur

20-23 Art Expo Malaysia Plus

22-25 FIAC Paris

28-31 Art Toronto

November 2016

3-6 Contemporary Istanbul

6-8 Artissima Turin

10-13 Paris Photo

10-13 Tehran Art Fair

12-15 Art Taipei

18-21* Abu Dhabi Art

December 2016

1-4 Art Basel Miami Beach