Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trade Shows Take the Art World by Storm

Unless brick-and-mortar galleries make a comeback, you may buy your first Basquiat at a trade show, says The Art Newspaper.

Brick-and-mortar galleries once guaranteed collector confidence, but no longer.

Today, collectors are accustomed to buying art at trade shows, on line, and directly from the artists, making a dealer's "home base" irrelevant.

Art Basel, king of the art show organizers, still insists dealers operate a gallery to qualify to exhibit.

As global director Marc Spiegler told The Art Newspaper, running a brick-and-mortar gallery signals you're a "real" dealer.

“Paying rent, staging shows and employing people simply represents a higher level of commitment to the artists the galleries are working with and to the cultural landscape of the cities in which they are sited,” he said.

But the rule is under scrutiny; and the pressure's on to drop it.

Most of the other 270 trade shows allow dealers without fixed abodes―dealers who only sell art on line, or through coops, popups, or trade shows―to exhibit.

Only Art Basel excludes them.

And the stakes are high. Last year, 41% of dealers' sales took place at trade shows.

Dealers are loving them.

Another reason dealers are loving trade shows: they enable collaboration.

They can rent adjacent booths and commingle the works of a single artist or school.

Hungry collectors can see many related works displayed together―maybe even go on a buying spree.

HAT TIP: Appraiser Todd Sigety pointed me to this story in The Art Newspaper.
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