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In the Return of Art Fairs, Smaller Is Better – The New York Times

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Wearing a yellow face mask designed in Ethiopia, the gallerist Rakeb Sile greeted a trickle of visitors to her booth one recent morning at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. Addis Fine Art — the gallery of which she is a founder in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa — had on display a colorful cityscape, a portrait painted on fragments of used canvas and a gem-studded black cape worn in a recent performance-art piece outside Buckingham Palace.

“With the right precautions, we just have to keep things moving,” said Ms. Sile, who is of Ethiopian descent, referring to the pandemic. She said the gallery owed it to its staff and artists, and to the 1-54 fair, which was founded in London in 2013 and is now also held in New York and Marrakesh, Morocco.

“The narrative on Africa is always so flat, and very, very shallow,” she said. “Somewhere like this, you can come in and really discover things that you just never thought you would discover.”

Credit…Addis Fine Art

The pandemic has led most of the world’s fairs to cancel en masse and instead have online editions. These include Art Basel, in Hong Kong, Basel, Switzerland, and Miami Beach; FIAC, which was to have taken place in Paris this week; and the Frieze Art Fair in London, which usually coincides with 1-54.

Yet 1-54 and at least two other stalwarts, Art Paris and Viennacontemporary, decided to go ahead this fall.

The context could hardly have been tougher. The virus has caused severe restrictions on travel and crowds, two defining features of any international fair. According to a midyear art-market survey on the virus’s impact that was published by Art Basel and UBS Global, fair cancellations in the first half of 2020 have led to galleries’ generating only 16 percent of their sales at art fairs, down from 46 percent during the same period last year. Nine of 10 galleries predicted no second-half recovery in this sector of the business, and only a third forecast a sales increase at fairs next year.

Once Frieze went virtual, 1-54, which ran from Oct. 8 to 10, could have canceled. It was helped by its smallness and its location at Somerset House, a stately 18th-century building in central London with a warren of interconnected rooms that allowed one-way traffic flow and strict crowd control.

Though the fair, at capacity, drew only 3,000 visitors this year (down from 18,000 in 2019) and featured 30 galleries (down from 45), several booths sold out, including Ed Cross Fine Art, which featured ruglike textile works by the Welsh-Ghanaian artist Anya Paintsil. The fair itself broke even.

“In a world where people are more and more worried about large gatherings, about safety and about the prospect of getting sick, we have to think about more intimate formats, and ours happens to be one such format,” Touria El-Glaoui, the fair’s founding director, said after its end. “We’re already small, and already flexible, unlike a fair in a convention center that hosts more than 100 galleries.”

Credit…Addis Fine Art

Ms. El-Glaoui said she hoped to go ahead with the New York edition of 1-54 next May — and to hold it in the photographer Annie Leibovitz’s former studio, the Caldwell Factory, as had been planned for this year before its cancellation.

Discounting also helped make the fairs happen. Viennacontemporary, which offered half-price booths, ended up hosting 65 galleries in total, down from 110 last year. Art Paris gave a 15 percent discount to established galleries and 14 newer ones, and gave the latter the proceeds of its ticket sales, a total of 110,000 euros (about $129,000). A total of 112 galleries participated in the Paris fair this year, down from 150 in 2019.

Art Paris was the first fair to take the post-lockdown plunge and proceed as normal, occupying the domed turn-of-the-century Grand Palais from Sept. 10 to 13. This year’s edition drew about 57,000 visitors, down 10 percent from last year. It also had first-time exhibitors that included the high-profile gallery Perrotin and multiple six-digit sales, among them those of a drawing by Giacometti and two sculptures by César.

Art Paris was long perceived as a largely local art-world outlier. But “what was previously singled out as a weakness in my case — that the fair wasn’t international enough — turned out to be an advantage,” said Guillaume Piens, its director since 2012.

Credit…Mohammed Badra/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Purchases were mainly by French collectors, challenging the commonly held belief that France has few collectors and that we’d be nothing without American buyers,” he added. “Things have changed a lot.”

Mr. Piens said he was right to have resisted turning Art Paris into a clone of other large, global fairs, where visitors see “practically the same things,” regardless of where they go, and “it’s like driving down the same highways, with the same names and the same galleries all over.”

Johanna Chromik, artistic director of Viennacontemporary, also noted that local — meaning Austrian — collectors made that fair a success this year, accounting for half of sales, up from the usual one-third. The Vienna event, which ran from Sept. 24 to 27, also caters to Austria’s neighbors, especially the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary.

Credit…Kristina Kulakova

Putting on the fair was difficult, Ms. Chromik said — “you can imagine how many sleepless nights I had” — but she added that collectors were “highly motivated” and “really buying; we had solid to really good sales this year.” Many visitors had not been to a fair since the Armory Show in New York in March, so they were pleased “to see art for real, in three dimensions,” she said.

Collectors’ enthusiasm was confirmed by the UBS/Art Basel report. Despite the virus, 82 percent said they planned to attend exhibitions, art fairs and other events in the ensuing 12 months. More than half hoped to attend events both at home and abroad. And 59 percent of the high-net-worth respondents said that the virus had increased their thirst for collecting.

Credit…kunst-dokumentation.com

So fairs seem here to stay, the events’ directors said; there will just be fewer of them.

“I don’t believe in returning to how we lived before 2019,” Ms. Chromik said. “We learned from this year.”

She said some of the practices introduced at Viennacontemporary this year — like shared booths, of which there were about half a dozen — could well continue.

What the Covid-19 pandemic has made clear, said Mr. Piens of Art Paris, is that the last several years featured “too much foie gras and too much Champagne, resulting in a giant indigestion.”

Mr. Piens added, “We’re all on a diet now.”

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Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month – Red Deer Advocate

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A storefront outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt will be happening in downtown Red Deer next month.

Art lovers can take a wintry walk through downtown Red Deer from Dec. 1 to 14 and gaze at original works created by local artists.

Paintings, glass and ceramic works will be displayed in storefront windows and are available for purchase.

Scavenger hunt maps can be printed from the Red Deer Arts Council’s website. Look for answers to the clues interspersed in the store window displays.

Completed forms can be left at the Housewarmings store on Ross Street for a chance to win prizes on two draw dates: Dec. 7 and 14.

While concerts on the Ross Street Patio are postponed next month because of COVID-19-related restrictions, more concerts are planned for later this winter and spring, as viral cases hopefully decline and restrictions lift.

The arts council is seeking submissions from musicians (soloists and duos) who are interested in performing on the patio in January through April. Submissions can be made on the council’s website until Monday.

First Friday receptions for December are cancelled due to more stringent restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but art enthusiasts can still peruse the local galleries during their regular opening hours.

Red Deer Art Club members have a group show called Scale at the Viewpoint Gallery in the City of Red Deer’s culture services building until Dec. 31. Images will zoom in or pull back to view things from different perspectives.

Musical Hands, a mixed-media exhibit by Carmen Winter, is on in the The Velvet Olive Lounge (access via back alley/51st Street) from Dec. 1 to 31.

Other gallery shows are continuing, including remember to remember: new works by andrea dillingham-lacoursiere, showing at the Marjorie Wood Gallery in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre to Dec. 18.

Original art can also be seen in the A + Art Gallery & Unique Collections, Unit 203, 4919 49th St., the Corridor Community Gallery in the lower level of the Recreation Centre, Sunworks, and the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Visual Arts

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How This Saint John Art Gallery Is Making Its Exhibits 'Pandemic-Proof' – country94.ca

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How This Saint John Art Gallery Is Making Its Exhibits 'Pandemic-Proof'

Image: submitted.

Current Covid-19 regulations mean art galleries in New Brunswick can allow patrons inside their doors, but a Saint John gallery new project is making their exhibitions “pandemic proof” —  even if there’s another lockdown.

Jones Gallery, located at 1 Charlotte Street in uptown Saint John, has launched a new project called Gallery Sounds, which involved rethinking and designing the gallery to “pandemic-proof” their programming so everyone, even those not comfortable going inside, can enjoy the art.

“Back in the spring when everything shut down all of sudden, we started doing all the things that a lot of businesses were doing. We were spending more time on the online shop and stepping up social media, all the normal digital stuff,” says Sarah Jones, the gallery’s curator.

“But it felt like we were really missing having a cohesive exhibition for our artists. That’s the whole point of having a gallery. It’s not just a retail space, it’s a programming space for artists.”

Gallery Sounds combines physical and digital infrastructure to create a safe viewing and learning experience. They built additional walls inside the gallery facing the windows and added new lighting. They then equipped each window and sidewalk square with a link and QR code.

Visitors can go from window to window, see the artwork, scan the code, and hear conversations from the artist and curator about the work without entering the gallery.

“It’s the kind of conversation that you would hear inside the gallery, but you can access it outside,” says Jones.

With Saint John currently in the “orange phase,” Jones Gallery is offering online order and curbside pickup only, making the Gallery Sounds project’s mission quite pertinent.  The gallery plans to reopen to the public when the zone moves back to the “yellow phase.”

Under the “yellow” phase of recovery of Covid-19 economic recovery, art galleries like Jones’ are still able to host openings and events with proper social distancing measures and mandatory masks. But even though her spacious gallery makes hosting events feasible, Jones says some people are still left out from the experience.

“We have clients who are in the most at-risk age group or they have friends and family in that group who are going inside [places] as infrequently as possible. That was kind of the idea too,” she says.

“Can we do something so people can see the exhibition and still feel like they are still participating in some kind of gallery experience without having to come in?”

The project also positions the gallery so that if it even needs to close again due to a lockdown, it can still showcase their artists.

“If we have to shut down completely, what can we do to make sure that the exhibitions or the projects can go forward for the artists no matter what, even if the gallery has to close completely again,” says Jones.

Gallery Sounds currently features exhibitions by Saint John artist Darren Emenau and Fredericton-based artist Jared Peters. Though the project was spawned the challenges Covid-19 presented, Jones says it’s a format the gallery can continue to use even after the pandemic is over.”

“Covid has forced us to think about alternative strategies, but also the time to pursue ideas in a meaningful way also,” she says.

Cherise Letson is the associate editor of Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.

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Students explore art themes in Re/LAUNCH/ing, vol. 3

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With school back in session, a new collaborative art project has been launched.

Re/LAUNCH/ing is aimed at hitting the same high notes that its predecessor with.draw.all did, but with the added emphasis on the intrinsic value of art to the artist.

Each month, StAlbertTODAY.ca will be displaying an online gallery of art created by high school students. October’s rendition features 12 creations from students at Paul Kane, Bellerose and St. Albert Catholic High.

Aisling ConneelyArtist: Aisling Conneely
Grade 11
Ink
Title: Bike Rack
Artist’s Statement: “This is an ink pen project of a bike rack. The most challenging part of this project was the amount of pens I went through!”
Sienna McEachernArtist: Sienna McEachern
Grade 11
Ink
Title: Bikes
Artist’s Statement: “My art displays the gears and parts of a bike. At times I struggled to capture the intricate details within the gears and spokes.”
Morgan PetrasArtist: Morgan Petras
Grade 11
Felt pen wash
Title: Suburbs
Artist’s Statement: “This is a perspective drawing done in the suburbs, then I used water based markers to create the felt pen wash.”
Caitlyn KurylowichArtist: Caitlyn Kurylowich
Grade 11
Felt pen wash
Title: Treehouse
Artist’s Statement: “This treehouse/boat is created using water based markers.”
GroupStilllife1Artists: Adam Steffes, Josh DeWitt and Taeghen Brezovski
Grades 11 and 12
Graphite pencil and charcoal
Title: Still Life
Artists’ Statement from Sam Mudryk and Josh DeWitt: “When COVID-19 unexpectedly hit our society, life felt so uncertain and stressful. Having the option to stay creative at home was a great way to keep busy during the lockdown. However, when school ended in June, it was hard to pick the pencil up again with the world moving at such a fast pace. Coming into art this second quarter has allowed my imagination to generate so much creativity and has been such an artistic release. I feel very fortunate to be able to have the chance to express myself and relax during such a difficult time.”
GroupStillLife2Artists: Sam Mudryk and Robyn Hickle
Grades 11 and 12
Graphite pencil and charcoal
Title: Still Life Start Up
Artists’ Statement: (see above)
Lauryn Taylor2Artist: Lauryn Taylor
Grade 10
Soft pastel and NuPastel
Title: Gunter
Claire BeauchesneArtist: Claire Beauchesne
Grade 10
Soft pastel and NuPastel
Title: Cow

Source:- St. Albert TODAY

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