Fairs under Review

Debate led by: Annette Schönholzer
Speakers: Elizabeth Dee, Touria El Glaoui, Carlos Urroz
Monday, 2 November 2015 | 12.00h-13.30h

Since their advent in 1970 in Central Europe, the significance of art fairs for galleries and their artists has grown immensely. Particularly over the past decade, the count of art fairs presenting contemporary art has mushroomed to an estimated 220, proliferating worldwide. In addition to the international and more regional art fairs, some interesting new initiatives with unconventional formats have been launched that lay claim to being different from traditional art fairs. As collectors flock to these various platforms, buying less and less in gallery spaces, the participation in art fairs seems to have become inevitable, resulting in a daunting annual schedule for many galleries. In this panel discussion, we will investigate how the current array of exhibition and sales platforms differ, what they expect of galleries and their artists, what they offer to collectors, curators and critics, and address the burning question of why galleries should choose to participate in one over the other, or alternately, all of them for different reasons. The discussion will revolve around the following main points:

  • How do the different platforms (art fairs) for galleries differentiate from each other? What are the factors that make them unique for gallerists, collectors and artists?
  • Is it possible to discuss different art fair models under criteria such as: geopolitics of location, international vs. regional, demography, scale, niche art fairs, emerging vs. established markets?
  • What are the most relevant implications when discussing fair organizers: fair companies vs. fairs organized by gallerists? Who understands their clients better? What are the better platforms for sales, or other important benefits?
  • What do the organizers expect of participating galleries – and vice versa.  Which platforms focus on which services and offerings: sales and transaction platforms + meeting points for exchanges in the art world?

Annette Schönholzer

Former Art Basel co-Director; founder, ".connect the dots"

Elizabeth Dee

Founder, Elizabeth Dee Gallery; co-founder, Independent

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director, 1:54​ Contemporary​ African Art Fair​

Carlos Urroz

Director, ARCOmadrid



Focus & Schedule


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