“At the moment you can still sell the top pieces, but you can’t sell anything else,” said Green. “The market for modern British art is particularly sensitive to the domestic economy.”
That’s a quote from Bloomberg‘s story on the London Art Fair.
“It’s a very British fair. It doesn’t change that much from year to year,” said Mike Snelle, director of London-based Black Rat Press, urban art dealers exhibiting for the first time. “The London Art Fair hasn’t got the energy of Frieze or some of the European fairs,” he said. “It does show there are interesting things happening in other parts of the art world.”
At 6 p.m. sharp on the opening night, Black Rat will be releasing “Empire State,” a new print by the Bristol-born artist Nick Walker.
The 3-feet-high colored screenprint, showing the New York skyscraper splattered with graffiti paint, will be issued in an edition of 175, priced at 475 pounds each.
“We’re expecting to sell out the entire edition within the first hour,” said Snelle.
In the Financial Time, Anthony Thorncroft has a slightly different view. He sees the provincial character of the fair as its strength:
It is unlikely that any foreign billionaire collector will jet into Islington next week but the less ambitious, more insular, formula seems to work. In a recession, there will always be a larger market for well-painted, accessible art, especially figurative paintings by accepted British masters of the 20th century, than for the speculative conceptual installations favoured by Frieze.
The return to the familiar has already started: a record number of 112 galleries is exhibiting at London Art Fair, with dozens more on the waiting list. The recent dismal auctions in London and New York signalled the end of the glory years for contemporary art and, with fewer visitors to galleries these days, this well-established fair offers dealers the opportunity to huddle together for reassurance, knowing that at least 22,000 potential buyers will view their stock.
[ . . . ]
The London Art Fair has now established itself as the pragmatic British alternative to Frieze. It you want a painting by Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, William Scott or earlier figures of 20th-century British art, this is the place to come. If you are a supporter of emerging artists such as Melanie Comber, Jeffrey Blondes, Sumedh Rajendran and Leonardo Drew, their work is also available. If you are looking for a modestly priced print or photograph, the choice is as broad as your taste, and this year all at bargain prices.
Black Rat, Expensive Brits Defy Market Crunch at London Fair (Bloomberg)
London Art Fair (Financial Times)