Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
(cc flickr ihatereiny)
”I’d always avoided art fairs like the plague,” (…) “It’s like every single reason for art to exist does not exist in those places.”
The first part of this article really caught my attention because I feel exactly the same way about “big” art fairs. Before I would never reject an opportunity to go because it was always a good excuse to see interesting things but the overall atmosphere (usually very “up-tight”) goes so much against the essence of artists and arts in general that nowadays I am not really interested anymore.
Eric Fish´s new exhibition comes as a critic and irony to the fact that art fairs became a place” to see and be seen”. His exhibit will happen at the same time as Frieze Art Fair in London and “He hopes that people can go to Frieze and then come to his show and see what they looked like at Frieze.”
The fact is that Art Fairs are growing in number and size around the globe:
“There are now 50 or more international shows, from Dubai to Shanghai to São Paulo, one for every week of the year, following the money, flogging product.”
The strong commercial side of these initiatives dictate the game and throw art into little booths like in an organic farmers market.
I attended Hong Kong Art Basel for the last couple of years and I concluded that most of the crowd was more interested in 1) to have their picture taken for a magazine or FB page or 2) to capture the most awkward works for Instagram. And I assume I did the same myself as I was not interested to buy anything and got really bored.
But if this fairs are attracting more than just art collectors, my question is: why don´t they engage the audiences in other ways? It would be interesting to know some of the artists and their works through talks, seminars and site specific happenings. Other related events take place in other locations but the fairs themselves are rather dull.
Unfortunately I know little about the economic impact and profit that these initiatives have but my main point here was to criticize the way they are being produced and consumed.