photo above from Everyday Lifestyle
Just in case you don't have your finger on the pulse of the art world, here's the skinny. There are a series of "Art Fairs" in major cities all over the world that take place annually or biannually. Galleries apply and pay a substantial amount of money to rent a "stall", and in turn sell artwork to the public. These fairs are massive cultural meccas - full of art, talks, panel discussions, performances, awards, and contemporary musings on current educational platforms and art-making in general. In short, it's a total playground for new and emerging ideas and practices as well as established ideas and concepts.
photo above from Everyday Lifestyle
Each year, thousands of collectors come in droves to these fairs - so smaller fairs have popped up around the bigger fairs and are populated by the galleries who were rejected from the bigger fairs, or simply didn't want to pay the premiums. These smaller fairs have leveled the playing ground somewhat, but there is a status symbol to being included in the big-deal fairs like Basel, The Armory, Frieze, Cologne,...
For example, the Frieze Art Fair takes place every October in Regent’s Park, London. The fair showcases new and established artists to an international audience (the complete list of exhibitors is here) over 170 galleries were exhibiting work this year, with miles and miles of labyrinth-like temporary walls studded with works - some hung so heavily that you wonder how the wall stays vertical.
photo above from Visionet
There are more galleries than ever this year and a higher quality of applicants,' says Frieze co-founder Amanda Sharp, who, when she set up the annual art fair eight years ago, never in her wildest dreams thought it would become such a London blockbuster. (from Wallpaper magazine)
Stories like this one are not uncommon: "New business is what makes fairs worth it, otherwise we could just stay in our galleries and work on our shows,” said Rachel Lehmann (B13). The gallerist sold only to new clients, including Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit 8, 2010 (shown below) (all three editions plus the artist’s proof), for $55,000 each." (From TheArtNewspaper.com's article here)
(above: Jennifer Steinkamp, Orbit 8, 2010)
Andreas Geiger at Sprüth Magers (B9) summed up the overall feeling: “People are acquiring, but there’s no more five-minute buying. The market has found a good pace, it’s not crazy, but it’s solid.” (The Art Newspaper)
But it's not all about selling - it's about seeing and learning. There are a series of talks and educational events, concerts and performances, and prizes awarded to Artists and Galleries. There are also a series of Artist Projects - including Jeffrey Vallance among others.
"The coveted Cartier Award is open to artists living outside of the UK, up to five years from graduating from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or under thirty years of age. The Cartier Award is organized by Frieze Projects, sponsored by Cartier and presented in collaboration with Gasworks. The recipient of the prize will have the unique opportunity to present their work at Frieze Art Fair 2010, guaranteeing a major international audience. Additionally the prize will cover production costs of up to £10,000, an artist’s fee, per diems, travel expenses and a studio residency at Gasworks in London from August to October 2010." (from Art Knowledge News)
Bridget Riley was one of the featured "conversations" of the Frieze Art Fair, she spoke with Michael Bracewell about her lifetime of artmaking and development of her signature style. Many of the talks are available here as podcasts.
(above: Bridget Riley)