What’s Wrong With Art? Art Fair Hype

Tabish Khan loves art and visits hundreds of exhibitions a year. But every now and then he comes across something in the art world that doesn’t meet his approval.

Art Fair

Many of us will be subscribed to gallery mailing lists. They are useful for finding about exhibitions but we are constantly bombarded with news about which art fairs are on and who’s showing at which one.

Whether it’s Hong Kong, Milan, Miami, New York, Paris or even here in London — the barrage is endless.

Now art fairs serve a useful purpose, they keep galleries afloat, many collectors make most of their purchases at fairs and they’re great exposure for artists who are featured there.

But should the rest of us care?

Art fairs aren’t great for viewing art, even commercial gallery exhibitions are better showcases for curated art. And they are nowhere near as powerful as a museum exhibition.

Yes there are a lot of artworks to see but in truth there are too many and they’re usually all squashed in together, with some exceptions. And the cost of a ticket is never worth it.

Collectors will be interested in whether a gallery is showing in MiArt or Art Basel Hong Kong but the majority of us couldn’t care less.

But art fairs like to generate a lot of hype about how they are a place to be seen, even if you aren’t showing or looking to buy. While in truth they don’t really matter for anybody who isn’t directly involved in the fair itself.

Art fairs serve a useful purpose, but the rest of us should just choose to ignore the hype.

For more in this series, see my thoughts on top 5s and top 10sour political art is terriblegap left by Brian Sewellhow art never learned from the Simpsons, why artspeak won’t die, so-called reviews, bad reviews are bad for business, the $179m dollar headline, art fairs appealing to the masses, false opening hours, size mattersand what’s wrong with video art.

 

About Tabish Khan

Art Critic for both FAD and Londonist. See as many exhibitions as possible and write reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 for FAD.