Chelsea, New York
The fall edition of the bi-annual New York Affordable Art Fair took place last weekend. Showing for the first time at The Tunnel in Chelsea, the fair was a cacophony of accessible art. The original paintings, sculptures, mixed media, photographs, and prints that spilled through the venue were all priced at the lower end of the art spectrum (many pieces were under $1,000, and more than half were under $5,000). The fair was veritable mecca for art lovers who don’t quite have the requisite millions (like you and me) to purchase an original Picasso, echoing the fair’s belief in art as financially and theoretically accessible.
Started in 1999 by Brit Will Ramsay in London, the Affordable Art Fair has since exploded internationally and now takes place in thirteen cities across three continents. A calendar event in New York since 2010, the fair has also become a supportive stage for emerging artists hoping to catch the attention of gallerists looking for the next hot thing.
Last weekend, art beckoned from the moment you entered The Tunnel, an old train terminal, at 11th and 28th street. There was a “bargain” booth with art for $500 set up before either the registration booth or the booths of the more than 60 participating galleries lining both sides of space like art-world soldiers. Overall, we thought that this year’s fair was more successful than the last: the art was of a uniformly higher, more international quality. We were happy to see Fun New Tribe, a featured exhibition of the fair's Recent Graduates (dubbed as the next art world stars) curated by our friend Jordana Zeldin of ArtBridge.
There seemed to be more pageantry as well: the type of outrageously dressed attendee common at fairs like Art Basel or the Venice Biennale was unusually present this year. The crowd, while not composed of the serious collector type, seemed healthy and wealthy, perhaps supportive and indicative of a robust art market.
For those of you who missed this year’s fair, look towards this spring’s fair. It will take place from April 4-7, 2013, at the Metropolitan Pavilion.