This is really sad… I fear we are going to see more of this as “large galleries with multiple locations grab wider audiences, dominate art fairs and focus on trophy works.” The people most affected are the younger/emerging artists and those collectors looking for great art at affordable prices. Smaller galleries simply cannot compete when it costs $15K, $20K, $30K or more, to exhibit at just one of the more reputable art fairs. Most need to exhibit at multiple fairs each year to reach different audiences and continue building their client base. In just 12 months, even a small gallery may spend upwards of $100K on fairs… and that is on top of the rent they are paying for their physical gallery space. We don’t even need to get into what a space in New York City will cost you… that will make you feel queasy!
Today, for many, buying a work of art is more about its investment potential than loving and wanting to live with it. In addition, people have become accustomed to a one-stop-shop — so art fairs or surfing the Internet satisfies that need. The problem is that fair-goers are only seeing a fraction of the art that is available and while viewing works on the Internet is nice and easy, there is still nothing like seeing it in person.
This summer, two of the three big art fairs in the Hamptons closed their doors … and that is only the beginning. As more art galleries close, so will other art fairs. I do hope something changes soon.