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Flash News: The First Art Fairs of the year

[05 Jan 2018]

London Art Fair, First Art Fair (Amsterdam), London Artrooms Fair, ART innsbruck, Kunst and Antiek weekend (Narden), Affordable Art Fair (Milan) and Brafa Art Fair (Brussels) are some of the art fairs that will kick-start the New Year in January 2018. In the following months, the number of monthly shows will double in February, March and April. Hundreds of exhibitions dedicated to art are organised every year throughout the world, at a time when some shows are going to the wall and giving up and others are trying to keep going, Artprice highlights three important Art Fairs taking place in the first months of the year.

London Art Fair

17 – 21 January 2018

London Art Fair is showing great resilience after its 30 years of existence. To celebrate its 30th anniversary as it should, the fair has established several strong partnerships, notably with Art UK, a website referencing the wealth of public collections in the United Kingdom. As an official museum partner, Art UK invites five contemporary artists – including Oscar Murillo and Mat Collishaw – to select historic or modern masterpieces on their online platform to create their own exhibition, Art of the Nation: Five Artists Choose.

The link between art history and Contemporary art is part of the show’s DNA as it is part of London’s, which was one of the first major European capitals to open a major historical museum – the Victoria & Albert – to an artist as contemporary as Marc Quinn 17 years ago.

To attract major collectors, many of the 131 galleries in the show rely on key artists such as Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Frank Auerbach, Banksy or Damien Hirst. But London Art Fair’s director Sarah Monk insists on openness and communication with younger generations. She recalls that in the past, the fair welcomed artists at the start of their careers who are now well known. That’s the case for Chris Ofili and Jenny Saville, who received the title of ‘rising star’ at the fair in 1996, like the Young British Artists who were celebrated at the 10th edition of the show, in 1998, shortly after the Sensation exhibition, which made them famous throughout the world. This year, new talent can be found in the two curated spaces of the fair: Art Projects (33 exhibitors) and Photo50 bringing together 10 artists and/or collectives from the younger generation.

Art Stage Singapore

26 – 28 January 2018

For its eighth edition, Art Stage, the leading Contemporary art show in Singapore, continues its primary mission: to bring together the diverse creativity of Asia at the Marina Bay Convention Centre.

The objective of Lorenzo Rudolf, director of the fair, is to put Southeast Asia on the international map, bringing together the best of Contemporary Asian art. But such a gathering is not easy in a ‘challenging’ context, according to the organiser’s own words. The number of participants is indeed declining. Art Stage has less than 100 exhibitors this year, against 170 galleries for the 2016 edition. Even last year, two major galleries, White Cube and the Perrotin gallery did not made the trip to Singapore. In a hyper-competitive environment where several major cities in Asia have their own art fairs, Singapore is struggling to keep its head above water, especially as local collectors are not particularly active. The number of visitors has also dropped sharply, from 40,500 in 2016 to 33,200 the following year. To counter this fall in popularity and commercial activity, the government and cultural players are increasing their efforts, notably through SAW (Singapore Art Week): a week in which they pull out all the stops and multiply cultural events during the fair, in the same way as the Frieze art week does in London during the Frieze art fair. Several exhibitions will take place during the show, including Lydia Janssen at the REDSEA Gallery, David LaChapelle at Pearl Lam and an exhibition devoted to ever popular Street Art that opens 15 days before the start of Art Stage at the ArtScience Museum. These commendable efforts aim at maintaining the attractiveness of the Singapore art scene, as it seems to be losing momentum on the world stage…

Brafa Brussels

27 January – 4 February 2018

Brafa (Brussels Art Fair) is a formidable example for its capacity to adapt to the changing times. Formerly dedicated to antique dealers in Belgium, it gradually opened up to foreign exhibitors, as well as welcoming Modern and Contemporary art. “Brafa is one of the most prestigious art and antique fairs in Europe where all the works of art on display are for sale. Optimal quality and authenticity are among its watch words. Brafa is an eclectic art fair offering a very wide variety of specialties from Antiquity to the 21st century,” so says the show’s official website. Brafa is indeed a prestigious historical reference in the world of art fairs. Historical, because it is one of the oldest art and antiques fairs in the world, its first edition dates back to 1956. Prestigious, because it brings together museum works, rare pieces from Egypt, ancient Greece, early and pre-Columbian arts, as well as Modern and Contemporary works. From the beginnings of art to Barthélémy Togo and Wim Delvoye, the success of the show is based on the relevance of the works selected. Around 140 exhibitors were indeed duly selected to occupy the 15,400 m2 of Tour & Taxis for this 63rd edition, which is expecting nearly 60,000 visitors.

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