If you have never attended an art fair then your missing out. We are lucky enough to attend several major US fairs each year including Los Angeles in January, New York in March and Miami in December. All fairs are great for their own reasons but after we get back we need vacation just to rest up from full days of looking at art, VIP parties and miles of walking.
An art fair venue such as the Armory show is held in a very large space that is divided up in sections about 12 x 15 foot where one gallery sets up shop. We have seen in recent years that one or more galleries will share the same space to split the $7 - $11,000 fee for the booth. When you consider the cost of the booth, travel cost, staff, food and hotel rooms, the gallery will need to sell thousands of dollars of art to pay for their expenses. But, there is much more benefit to an art fair than sales. Thousands of people pass these booths during the week’s event plus the opening VIP night many big name buyers rush through the spaces looking for deals…. connecting, exposure and name recognition become big values!! This year we noted that there were many items that sold, which is good news after the past few years of minimal sales.
One of the best things about the art fairs is that the gallery owner and staff have nothing to hide behind when you walk into their booth. It is much more difficult for them to ignore you but we have seen some cases that the cold shoulder will continue by just setting in a chair punching away on their lap top. Years ago at the Miami art fair we walked into Mary Boone’s booth and there she was in a chair drinking coffee. That was almost as much fun as seeing Julian Schnabel's new work and were not even star chasers.