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Participating galleries will join under a virtual tent to plan exhibitions outside their usual spaces.

Aotearoa Art Fair Announces a New Initiative to Bring Galleries Together

Auckland Art Fair, The Cloud, Queens Wharf. Photo: Jessica Chloe Gernat.

This morning, Aotearoa Art Fair announced TENT, a new art weekend that will enlist around 30 galleries to organise exhibitions across Aotearoa New Zealand. The real-life event will be complemented and previewed by an online viewing experience.

There are three rules: the exhibition must be live for the three days of the event, slated from 5 to 7 November; it must take place in the country; and it must be outside the gallery's usual space.

This encourages galleries to temporarily open up their spaces to others, a set-up that echoes Condo. Conceived by the director of Carlos/Ishikawa Vanessa Carlos in 2016, the first edition of Condo saw international galleries travel to London, where host galleries opened up their spaces to co-curate or present independent exhibitions.

Contrary to Condo, however, many galleries participating in TENT will be showing pop-up exhibitions in non-conventional or unused spaces.

Stephanie Post, the co-director of Aotearoa Art Fair, told Ocula that the conversation around TENT began last year following the online Virtual Art Fair. Instead of bringing visitors to the galleries, TENT takes the galleries to the visitors across the country.

'You could think of TENT as a dispersed Art Fair,' she said.

TENT draws on the motif as 'a significant shape in our collective memory and myth', as gallery Mokopōpaki wrote in the Fair's press release. It is the shared space that envelops 'the ordinary-extraordinary life, art and culture that goes on in and around them.'

TENT is hosted by the organisers of the Aotearoa Art Fair, which recently changed its name from Auckland Art Fair. Announcing the name change, Post and co-director Hayley White explained the name change reflects the Fair's role 'as a showcase for the outstanding contemporary art of the wider Pacific Rim' that it represents.

Open from 24 to 27 February, the 2021 Auckland Art Fair was one of the first art fairs to make a physical return following the Covid-19 outbreak. It closed after receiving more than 7,000 visitors and recording sales of NZ $10 million.

Galleries from previous Aotearoa Art Fairs have been invited to participate in TENT, with additional galleries by invitation. —[O]

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