Christie’s to Launch Contemporary Art Fair To Compete With Frieze 2010

The gap left by the demise of the Zoo art fair is set to be filled by The Moniker International Art Fair, The East End Urban Art Fair “Sunday” and Auction House, Christie’s first Contemporary Art Fair “Multiplied” launched during the Frieze corridor in October. The fairs will be running between 14-19 October (see details in our fairs listings). Moniker will preview in London’s east end at Village Underground, a vast Victorian warehouse. The fair is the brainchild of Kristophe Hofford, co-owner of the Shoreditch-based art and events space Blackall Studios, and Frankie Shea who runs the arts management and project-based gallery Campbarbossa.

“It will be an alternative space to Frieze,” says Vanessa Vainio, a fair spokeswoman. “The event will consist of six international galleries and six project spaces showcasing individual artists that will reflect the finer side of urban art with artists who have shown in major institutions and galleries,” she adds, with participants including New Image Art of Los Angeles and Galleria Patricia Armocida of Milan. “Now seemed like the right time, in light of Zoo, the one established Frieze satellite fair which is not taking place this year The organizers did not disclose the stand charges; however admission will be free.

On another front, the person behind Christie’s first art fair has stated that,” We must be mindful of the trade” in light of the move, adding that “dealers selling primary market contemporary works” will form the basis of the fair. Christie’s international head of prints Richard Lloyd says that the new event at the company’s South Kensington salerooms titled,”Multiplied” will be held 15-18 October and will be devoted to contemporary editions of sculpture, prints, and photography. Paragon, which commissions and publishes prints by artists such as Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and anish Kapoor intends to be one of more than 30 exhibitors at the Christie’s fair,

“Previous divisions between Auction Houses and Dealers are no longer particularly relevant,” adds Lloyd, who stressed that “there will be no direct competition between participating galleries and Christie’s. Only five to ten per cent of what will be on show at the fair would have come up for sale at a Christie’s auction.” This remains to be seen and we will soon find out how many toes are stepped on or noses out of joint by this new Auction House initiative. Christies stands to benefit simply from people visiting South Kensington. It is now a great space in which to view contemporary art, and we want people to feel comfortable just dropping in to see what’s on,” comments Lloyd. Christie’s contemporary art clients will reportedly receive promotional material about the event. We shall hold our breath and see!

Thirty-five mainly London-based galleries keen to benefit from the Frieze collector traffic have signed up for the first edition. Admission will be free while stand fees range from £700 to £5000

The budget approach has drawn parallels with the Independent fairs held in New York in March during the Armory Show.

It is also worth mentioning that a grey area seems to be forming between Auction Houses and dealers. Recently Charles Saatchi formed a partnership with Phillips de Pury in what is a private/public gallery venture, focusing on the promotion of new work, which can then be sold at auction. This along with Auction sponsored fairs could shape the marketing of contemporary Art in the 21st century. God save us…

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