Art fairs bring together galleries and artists from all over the world, displaying works to people that may not have been able to view works prior due to geological issues, political and cultural issues thus connecting people with art and bringing people together.
But as an artist is it good to show at art fairs? To be honest, a lot of artists will say no it is not. Why well, because it is very stressful, it’s not really enjoyable for the artists, first of you have to in a way lose your integrity for the work that you create, the work wanted by gallerists for fairs is sometimes different to what you may produce, yes creating conceptual art which really is questioning the social norm or the political viewpoint is part of what of being a conceptual artist, but at art fairs it’s just not that sellable.
So work that is sellable is what is asked for by the gallerist, as for the galleries art fairs is where they can make 4-5 months revenue in a matter of days, and this is where it comes down to an artist creating work and keeping their integrity but not being in the art fair and so in turn losing out on sales themselves, or creating work that is away from what they would normally do just say they may be in the fair, make some money (maybe) and get a bit of extra exposure but not being as true to themselves as they had wanted to be.
Art fairs are not typically a great place to actually view art, with the hemmed in feeling and the being led down one way and the next, it is a conveyor belt of art for sale, but they do attract many people, why well even though viewing maybe hard in its traditional sense of an art gallery, there are many artworks to see under one roof and with a consistency unlike any gallery out there.
Art fairs were at one time just for the dealers of the art world, a way to avoid the auction houses of the world and their stipulations and rules.
now the fairs are a place of VIPS, champagne dinners, jet-setters and caviar. They are the playground of the rich and the galleries who in turn advise and suggest how best they spend that money.
And this is where the galleries, in turn, make that 4-5 months revenue in a few days, art fairs can be amazing for galleries, it gives new galleries a place where they can establish themselves and get a foothold.
They can make new contacts, be that collectors, other galleries, artists and press, the modern day art fair is an extension of the galleries working life.
They are a place where all elements of the art world come together, the artists, the galleries, the buyers, the viewers, the fans, the learners, the press, the critics.
But the one-stop shop experience of the art fair can feel at odds with the nature of what the art is about, but this is the moment as well when a lot of artists realise that the world of art though very much a beacon to question, to engage, to enlighten and help educate for the better, is also a business and a big business it is.