We’ve had a few reports from Art Moscow. Not many of them have been effusive. The public relations firm for the fair has its own view of the event. Boom Boom PR provided this report:
Art Moscow has ended on a high note for about 240 artists and 37 gallerists, with sales volumes on the rise and an attendance of approximately 25 000 visitors during the five days of the 14th edition of the International Art Moscow Art Fair which ran from 22nd till 26th September 2010.
When deliberately reducing the number of participating galleries from 73 in 2007 to 37 in 2010, Art Moscow sent a clear signal to artists, collectors and gallerists that quality should prevail over quantity. Significant efforts were made to ensure that the fair will keep on growing. The most important addition to the fair was the introduction of an art director supervising the overall quality level of the fair and the development of Art Moscow’s special projects.
Ekatherina Iragui, Iragui Gallery, described the impact of the new art director – Christina Steinbrecher – as follows: “Steinbrecher’s initiatives raised the level of Art Moscow which has been somehow inconsistent in the last few years. It is true Art Moscow is a unique event, especially for the region, but in recent years the fair attracted galleries with questionable esthetic taste and the fair suffered from the commercialization of contemporary art.”
By presenting an impressive non-commercial programme that included virtual exhibitions in cooperation with the Folkwang Essen Museum, a conference on medialisation – the central theme of the special projects – and a dozen exhibition projects ranging from interactive installations to video art, young curator / art director Christina Steinbrecher set the tone for the years to come.
Steinbrecher is very clear about the reason to organize and fund such an elaborate fringe programme. She explains: “I prefer to use the term special projects instead of non – commercial programme because all the events organized in the framework of the fair are meant to boost sales, to support the commercial aspect of the event. The idea is to create more content and show potential buyers and potential participants – galleries – that Art Moscow is offering more then a stand where you can hang a painting or exhibit an artifact. In order to grow further Art Moscow needs to attract a very specific audience – Russian and international – which is very demanding and I hope we can reach them through the extra content we added to this year’s fair. The future editions will show if our new approach pays off.”
One thing is for sure, this year’s sales figures are already on the rise after two crisis years (2008 & 2009). Best selling Russian galleries are Frolov Gallery, Aidan Gallery and Triumph Gallery. In principle no real surprises there: Frolov, presenting works by Georg Pusenkoff, Ralf Kasper and Olga Soldatova, had a very sellable selection in the booth. Aidan had two remarkable works by Leonid Rotar from the series “Shooting Stars” on offer, Anna Zhelud and Andrei Mironenko’s “Elements” to carry the load and Triumph had powerhouses such as AES+F, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Damien Hirst on hand.
Foreign galleries are becoming more interested in Art Moscow. Out of thirty-seven galleries participating in 2010, fourteen are foreign and half of them participate for the first time, which brings a new set of international galleries and artists to Russia. Especially newcomers Barbarian Art Gallery from Zurich and Shiraishi Gallery from Tokyo did not miss their introduction to Moscow’s art scene. With eye catching works by Oksana Mas – because of the size – and Senju Hiroshi – because of the price – respectively, both galleries topped the sales for the foreign galleries before the Finnish Forsblom Gallery – with two amazing HG Berg’s – and Ukrainian Mironova Gallery with works by David Datuna.
In September 2011, three major Russian art events will coincide at the end of the summer. The 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, the 5th Kandinsky Prize exhibition and the 15th Art Moscow (21-25 September) will run simultaneously offering an unparalleled experience of contemporary art in Russia’s capital. Get ready!