Not much feedback came out of ArtChicago, the fair that took place last week May 1-4 in the Midwest’s capital. Paul Klein has a report on the Hugffington Post that is charmingly titled “OK is the New Awesome.”
there were many dealers who were giddy with their positive results. One, who has probably been at ArtChicago for over a dozen years, said this was her best art fair ever — that people weren’t even asking for discounts. And of course there were others who were crying in their soup. [ . . . ]
People like art. People have been scrimping and have pent up desire. The art speculators who bought because of the upside potential and funny-money games are bruised and gone. The genuine art lovers who were pushed from the scene a decade ago are either back or out of lurking mode. They care about quality, content and a personal relationship to the art. They bought.
Those who did well brought art that was popular with a broad spectrum — mostly easier art to comprehend, art that felt familiar, or art that felt special. I know of a major collector and a major art consultant who were in town for personal reasons who didn’t deign to attend. They demonstrated their “superiority” by making the appropriate supercilious comments.
This art fair wasn’t for them. It was for the lookers, and the collectors, from the expanded Midwest, from Minneapolis to Houston and Kansas City to Pittsburgh. There was plenty of money to go around, but it didn’t go everywhere. Foreign galleries’ booths looked under-visited. Many of the newer (lesser?) galleries to the fair, those who don’t have long-term relationships with their expanded art fair audience, were challenged. Those who present what some call ‘dorm art’ didn’t sell much, if at all, though many liked their energy for whatever that’s worth.
Draw your own conclusions from this report. We were told in the height of the boom that art fairs and new buyers had dumbed-down the art making for easy sales on easy-to-understand art. Wouldn’t the return of “real collectors” bring “real art” back to the stands?
Or is it the other way around: there are buyers but for art that is safe and supported.
OK is the New Awesome (Huffington Post)