The fair has developed immensely from last year, and I am very excited about this year’s second edition. Having grown organically, we could strengthen all sections, London First and Emerge, and again have a wonderful variety of galleries focusing on editions as well as photography, allowing collectors and first time buyers to find something within a limited budget. The fair will feel more global. We have 42 countries represented this year, and galleries from Taiwan and Pakistan will be showing in London for the first time. I am especially excited that we have more galleries at the fair who can fill the demand for ‘modern’ works of art, both from the UK as well as from other on western countries. Park Gallery will bring some astonishing modern Arab works and Delhi Art Gallery from India will show some masters of Indian Modernism. I love MF Husain’s work, maybe especially as I met him once.
Art14 London builds on the achievements of last year’s fair. We worked very hard to engage a more globally diverse group of exhibitors and are excited to have galleries from 42 countries and all continents to participate in the fair. As I mentioned, we put a greater emphasis on modern galleries, too. We extended the opening hours of the fair as we found that visitors loved to stay longer at the fair than anticipated and we also made exciting changes to the fair layout. The restaurant is now on the gallery level and Food 4 Art promises to be a very exciting new initiative, mixing both food and art in a very interesting way.
Another new initiative we launched this year is Art & the City, a programme of events, some private, some public, exploring how art is a motor of economic and social change in cities from Shanghai to Washington DC and from London to Dubai, which enriches the fair’s interest in changes in the art world and beyond while reflecting on the impact culture can have on urban regeneration. Art cannot be seen in isolation as merely a commodity that is being put on a wall. Art has always been a key symbol of power at times but also of cultural engagement and enrichment for the public. Art & the City is an initiative that discusses the current importance art has to play in the regeneration of cities and regions and will devise models of best practice that again can be shared between partners from all regions of the world. It is innovative as it engages not only the art world players in the debate but also developers and policy makers. Hopefully it can inspire more private and public commissions as well as art and cultural initiatives.
London is one of the centres of a globalized economic world and this needs to be reflected in its cultural offerings. Art fairs are an important driver, both economically and culturally in showcasing current trends in the art world. It is important to give a platform to galleries and artists from all across the world and create a dialogue between European and US galleries and their counterparts from other continents.
We do a lot of scouting, and you always need to know the territories you’re working with. But it’s an open application process, and this year, a lot of galleries knew about the Fair, so it was easier than the first year round. We have a selection committee that consists of curators, who work independently, and select galleries based on proposals for stands. Then we have a single curatorial advisor for the two sections devoted to younger galleries, who we hope will give a very sharp aesthetic. And sometimes galleries come to us…
The educational aspects of the fair are very important to me personally and I worked hard to ensure not only a very strong talks Programme but also develop partnerships with interesting institutions and nonprofit partners
The Global Private Museum Summit demonstrates Art14 London’s dedication to bringing major global private museum owners to London’s vibrant art scene. The galleries exhibiting at the Fair will show artists from almost every continent of the world and display them in dialogue with each other. The summit reflects the need for an art world with an international outlook and allows private museum owners to share their knowledge and expertise with a view to driving change worldwide.
It is hard to measure the success of an art fair. Many do so by visitor numbers, other by press coverage, or by attending curators. For me the success is given if galleries have had a good fair, have made sales, and established contact to important clients so that they feel the fair has exposed their gallery to a good audience. Galleries are our main clients and if they are happy, so am I.
I have lots of ideas for the fair, as well as ideas regarding what needs to be done to have a global art market that functions better – which includes much more education and professional development. For the moment, I believe our project is one which is very unique, and which is very much needed. I want to focus my time and attention on developing it, and making it the highest quality possible.
The fair has grown in an organic way, though I’m not a fan of huge art fairs. I want to consolidate what we’re doing, and ensure that the quality gets better and better. And that could include a larger education programme, more talks – there is a lot to do. I’m thinking about 2015 already.